Elise Carin Wicklund (29), Gracyn (3), Paxton (19 months), and Quinn (5 months)
Photographed in Tampa, FL
Elise shares -
"I experienced severe trauma around being pressured to circumcise our son Paxton, allowing that to happen against my instincts sent me spiraling into a dark place. It is still hard today but was truly only his love and the love of my daughter that pulled me through and gave me the strength to wake up and forge ahead for them. I had to stand strong in my pain and be the mother they needed me to be. The strong mother I had always been.
Parenthood has changed it tremendously. Three children have shaped my body and left marks I find hard to see sometimes, but they remind of the miracle my body is and how incredible my ability is to give life. By Quinn, my youngest I had come to terms with the weight I had put on and never really lost and spent most of her pregnancy just enjoying the moments. But now my husband and I are contemplating her as our last and my body and self care are becoming more important to me again. I think that I have become a lot more selfless overall and know that positive body image now matter what my body looks like it something good to model for my family.
The biggest thing postpartum has taught me ( the biggest planner in the world) is that you cant expect anything with birth. I planned to have my first daughter at the birth center and went 41 weeks then needed an induction. My son was born at the hospital and then I had amazingly successful birth out of the hospital that changed everything I could have imagined about birth. Feeding challenges and expectations are some of the hardest to cope with but I am fortunate to be able to breastfeed Quinn my youngest baby, with my first two breastfeeding didn't work out and it hit me with a deep hard blow. The reality of birth and children is they are unpredictable and rolling with it is about all you can do when you have three under three! Lastly i'll say a huge thing for me was wondering how I could give each child the amount of love a gave before the next baby came and everyone said your heart just grows bigger, there is just double the love, or triple the love. My heart has grown so big.
Trust your instincts and listen to your heart. Parenting and life for that matter becomes so much less complicated and clear when you trust yourself and your choices.
I want to continue on my path to healing from my sons trauma and breaking way from cultural stereotypes that make us obsess over our bodies. I want to give myself a sense of self and purpose again, that though I am a mother I am Elise too. A women who struggles like all of us with self acceptance, this movement is a catalyst for me to step out of my comfortable space, be challenged, also most importantly to love myself and my body for what it is and has done."