Kris Amberg (28), Donovan (4.5), Jazmine (3), Juniper (1.5)
Minnesota | Photographed in Tampa, FL
Kris shares -
"My 3 children were all born within a 4 year period. My body has been through the wringer. I am triandem nursing 3 kids under 5. All of this makes me feel tired. But I also feel so strong. I run with my children. I am more at home in my body now, after seeing it stretch and deflate, nourish and comfort- than I was before I had children. My kids keep me moving. Always. Each one seems prepared to make me run more, but also pause more. It is challenging to advocate bodily autonomy with 3 nurslings, but these are conversations we are having that are important for how they will interact in the future. Being a mother has given me space to finally grow into a fuller, more realized version of myself. The sacrifices don't compare to the joy I find in just breathing, in just being with them. I can carry 80 lbs of kids when I carry all 3. Half my body weight I can lug through forests or along the river. My body has shown me more strength and grace than I could have known to expect from it. I see my body and I feel it shining from the inside out. The stretch marks, the bruises, this body is my home and it was a home for the sources of sunshine that center me. My arms hold my children, how could I not be grateful for the gift my body has given me to show all the love in my heart?
All of my children were born via cesarean. Sometimes I still feel like my body betrayed me as much as the maternal healthcare system. Birth shouldn't have been a battleground, but for me it was. Fighting for my right to try and birth my children vaginally has connected me with some inspirational women, has helped me find my own voice fighting for reproductive and birth rights. My son was born in 2012, my 2nd daughter was born in 2016. 3 kids in 4 years, and at the beginning of my 3rd pregnancy my marriage fell apart. But during my 3rd pregnancy something began to change. I felt empowered. I felt in control of my body, and even though my 3rd birth trial of labor ended with a cesarean again, it was more peaceful, it was finally my choice. I made a conscious choice to live fully, as a single parent, and experience as much as I could with my children. I don't treat them as an excuse to hide from the world, our family is my reason to venture out, build bridges in our community and strengthen our bonds together. I haven't regretted a single experience we have shared- camping with 3 kids (1 who wasn't walking yet), showing up for Social Justice. Postpartum what has kept me moving is growing WITH my children, fostering in them the love for the community, the world we live in.
Community is so important. Make the effort to love people. Find love for yourself, people who show grace with your children. They will be a bedrock of solace in any hard times that come.
So often I am the one behind the camera or half cropped out in selfies. When my 3rd child was born, when we truly became a family of 4 headed by a single mother, capturing this journey became so important to me. I want my children to see their mother is strong. happy. body positive. I want them to know our family, just as it is, is perfect."