Kayla Chapman-Smith (24) and Oliver (7 months)
Photographed in Seattle, Washington
Kayla shares -
"Parenthood has impacted my body imagine in the aspect of the pressure I feel to bounce back. During pregnancy people constantly tell you that the weight will just fall off once you give birth if you breastfeed. Even though I nurse on demand, this hasn't been my case as I haven't lost any of my pregnancy weight. In the early stages of postpartum this weighted heavy on me, but as time goes on I've let go of these negative feeling regarding my weight. I want to embrace it because I want my son to have a positive body image.
I went into preterm labor at 32 weeks, he ended up staying put until 37 weeks. Since I was half way dilated and contacting for 5 weeks, I think it made my postpartum healing much harder. I had planned a birth center birth with a licensed midwife, but with the preterm labor I had to switch to brand new care providers. I was lucky and was able to deliver with a trans midwife. Since preterm labor had me in a emotional rollercoaster after birth I felt like I was more anxious than I had originally thought I'd be. I hadn't anticipated having postpartum anxiety, but I didn't end up getting medication as I found ways to cope with it. The other aspect is I hadn't given any thought to the postpartum healing process, it was much slower than I could have imagined.
My truth is that family is chosen. You can build a community of people you want your child to be raised around. Since we are a queer couple, it is important for Oliver to be around other families like his. I also would pass along to my former self to do what you feel is right for your family, and for every family this looks different and that is okay.
I chose to participated in the project because I've followed the Fourth Trimester Bodies Project for a long time and have been inspired by others who've shared their stories."