Kelli Berry (27), Peyton (5), Kamila (3), and Adeline (1)
Lake Elsinore, CA. Photographed in San Diego
Kelli shares -
"Parenthood has brought mainly negative feelings about my body image. I was extremely fit with my first pregnancy, I ran, swam lifted weights, did everything I normally did. I only gained 10 lbs with my son, he was 6 lbs 10oz so I lost all of my baby weight before he was 3 months old. With my second child, I blew up! I gained 50 lbs and couldn't workout because I was so swollen, fat and my clothes didn't fit right. I was never able to drop the weight. So, when I became pregnant with my third child, I was already 50 lbs heavier than my body is accustomed to. I gained 10 lbs with her, lost it almost immediately, but was left with the 50 I had been carrying around from my first daughter.
I've had PPD with each baby, for different reasons but each came back to how my body looked, worked, felt and ultimately betrayed me. I have yet to become comfortable with the new body that my children have so generously provided me.
My postpartum journey has been a roller coaster. I struggle with severe PPD, which came with each child. My pregnancy was awesome but labor was awful. I feel I was forced into an emergency cesarean with my son and was sent into the operating room alone. Definitely a far cry from the natural, drug free, birthing plan I was lead to believe would be followed to perfection. I did not adjust as well as I expected myself to, that was another source of doubt and depression for me.
And Peyton was a crier, he would cry non stop everyday for months on end, at one point I had to walk out of the room and hand him to my mom to prevent my ears from bleeding. He was an awful sleeper, and threw up constantly. He was definitely the hardest of my three.
With my second child, my first daughter, the opposite was true, I struggled with the pregnancy but the labor and delivery went smooth. My husband, boyfriend at the time, was in the room with me and I felt very supported. I decided on a VBAC and was determined to have her naturally. It worked! Kamila was my first VBAC.
We came home abut my boyfriend and I couldn't stop fighting. We ended up separating when she was 2 months old and on came the PPD again. We decided to work things out and stay together, but I still struggled with how mismatched my expectations were, when I compared them to how things actually went.
My third pregnancy progressed the same. Awful pregnancy and easy birth. Adeline was my second VBAC. She was my biggest baby, she didn't cry when she was born, and wouldn't cry for the doctors regardless of what they tried. They finally gave up and handed her over to me and said, maybe she's just a happy baby. Nothing more could be true, she is everyone's friend, consoles other crying babies and is genuinely happy every day.
This postpartum journey has been the closest to my actual expectations. I still experienced PPD, but this time PPA came with it. I remember thinking and being afraid, that she was so good something would happen to her. She will be turning 1 on June 29th and I'm finally able to say that I don't feel depressed or anxious anymore.
I hope others know that it's okay to not be okay. You don't need to have it together, but you do need to be responsible and mature enough to say when everything is not okay. Accept the help and breathe.
I am so incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin I felt I needed to do this. I love this cause and it was one of the things that helped me through my postpartum journey. I always preach to my kids that "when we do thing that are uncomfortable for us, we grow" I figured it was time to grow."