Stephanie Krupa (27), Iggy (10) and Declan (16 months).
Greenwich, CT. Photographed in West Springfield, Mass.
Stephanie shares -
"I fully embraced each pregnancy and all the changes that came with it. I felt empowered and it was a beautiful feeling. Seeing myself develop curves that were not there before, in a sense made me feel more womanly. After I had my second son, I had a brief period where I did get a little down on myself. I was completely drained from the adjustment of mom of one to mom of two, as well as navigating breastfeeding. I didn't get to breastfeed my first son past the first week. So with my second son, it was uncharted territory for me. My hair thinned out, my skin was pale, I wasn't loving how I looked. Breastfeeding helped me get past that. As it became easier and we fell into a routine, I was once again amazed by what my body could do. In turn, I started to feel good about myself and embracing my body.
One piece of knowledge I would pass not only to my former self, but also to any new parent is to stand up for what you want and how you want to do things, and to seek help and resources. I was 4 days shy of turning 17 when I had my first son and at that time, I felt like I did not have a voice in how I wanted my birth experience to go or the events thereafter. I gave up on breastfeeding after just a week because I wasn't aware of what was going on with my body. I wasn't aware that there were help and resources out there in order to try to make breastfeeding more successful.
I stumbled upon the 4th Trimester Bodies Project after having my second son. I was amazed by the stories and portraits taken. It was such a beautiful thing to see such openness and honesty. Some related to my experiences and I think it is so important to share these experiences with others. We learn that we are not alone in our journeys. I also feel like it lessens the stigma and taboo that our society has put on talking openly about birth, loses, miscarriages, abortions and breastfeeding. I really wanted to be a part of this and share my story."