Jamilee Douthirt (33), Greyson (2.5), Henry and Rowan (7 months)
Cleveland, OH / ST. Petersburg, FL | Photographed in Tampa, Florida
Jamilee shares -
"As a woman (and as a teenager), I was never completely satisfied with my body. There was always room for improvement. But, I was okay with it. I was not ashamed or embarrassed by my body in any way. But, after giving birth, I feel like I am stuck in someone else's body. I don't like to look at myself in the mirror because it doesn't feel like it's me. It's foreign. I have this roll of chub around my middle, accompanied by love handles. My thighs rub together when I walk. I am constantly feeling my breasts to see how full they feel. I am trying to be kind to myself. I carried and birthed 3 babies with this body. I am feeding/have fed 3 babies with this body. That is an amazing thing... Yet, I can't help but feel annoyed that I have this extra weight I am carrying around and a new shape.
I am 7 months postpartum with twins. When my first kid was born, the midwife immediately placed him on my chest and I nursed him. He stayed there for a long time before they took him away to weigh him and clean him up. I felt that instant bond. When my twins were born, they were almost 7 weeks early. They both weighed over 5 pounds, but they were still too immature to survive outside of the NICU. I got to see them for less than 30 seconds each before they were taken from me.
For the next 3 weeks I got to hold them each for maybe an hour each day. Sometimes we would try to breastfeed. But I was struggling with trying to keep things as normal as possible for my son, who just turned 2, and giving enough of myself to these 2 tiny babies. When they were discharged from the NICU, we were told to give them formula supplements with extra calories to help them grow. I wish I never would have done so, but I was too tired to think of doing otherwise. Now, I cannot feed my babies full time. I feel like they are always hungry. I struggle to form that bond with them. I am not ashamed to feed them formula. It is an amazing invention and very necessary for many babies. But, I feel like I am missing that crucial experience of being the sole food provider for my babies. I still nurse them. But often, they are still hungry afterwards. I am never sure if they are completely full. It is so different than it was with my first son. I understand that each child is different and each experience is unique but I can't help but feeling like I am being cheated out of something. I still feel like I am striving to form that bond with them.
Make sure to do something solely for yourself once in a while. I was in a terrible mental state a few weeks ago. One day, I had one of the grandmas come and watch all 3 kids for the morning. I went and got a coffee and sat for 45 minutes, doing nothing. Then I went and got a pedicure. When I got home, I felt like a brand new person. It's crucial you take care of yourself, too.
First, the pictures are amazing. But, more importantly, I am looking to share this experience with other women. I am hoping it will be kind of healing. Or therapeutic. Or something like that."