Kaeleen Kirkpatrick (31), Rowe (3), Thia (2), and Keller (7 months)
Kaeleen is a previous project participant. You can view her original photo and story here.
Photographed in Portland, Oregon.
Kaeleen shares -
"I've always struggled with body image, since I can remember. With my first child, I gave myself so much grace. I was preparing for my wedding and I still didn't stress. I felt good in my body, I was proud of my body. I felt similar with my second pregnancy and birth, but I "bounced back" much slower, and it took a toll on me. When my body positivity was actually challenged with my own higher weight, it began to weaken. After I had my third baby, it became very difficult for me to love my postpartum body. I started an extreme diet at 6 weeks postpartum and started working out pretty intensely 3 months postpartum. The changes have been minimal and I am constantly challenged with just loving myself- as is. I'm getting stronger since working out, and my anxiety is less - and that is enough. I believe this, but I have to convict myself again every single day. The journey to self love is a bumpy one, but it's a worthy one too.
My truth is ever changing. My husband is finishing up treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma and we have three little kids aged 3 and under. I feel stronger than ever, and more vulnerable than ever. I have to be my authentic self in order to make it through. I have to ask for help, I have to let people in. It seems so trivial to stress about my body when my husband is fighting for his life, but it's there. It's always looming in the back of my brain. I guess I would tell my former self to continuously be forgiving of yourself. Give grace to yourself and to everyone else as much as possible.
I needed this for myself. I needed to remind myself that I am apart of something bigger when I love myself for exactly how I show up every day. I am enough, and I needed physical proof.