Lindi Riffe (34), Lennox (9), Gabriel (7), Norah (6), Penelope (3), Amelia and Estelle (1)
Johannesburg, South Africa | Photographed in Richmond, VA
Lindi shares -
"My body was once prepared for competitive gymnastics, Division 1 Volleyball, and half marathons. After 6 kids in 8 years, I now feel like a 15 yr old, builders grade washing machine. Out of style, falling apart and scarred but damn if that thing is still kicking. That's me. I struggle daily with my body image and find it hard with 6 kids to take care of it the way I should. Ultimately though, when I stand in front of the mirror, I can see strength in my stretch marks, love all over and a slow, growing peace about where I am in life.
Looking back over the births of my 6 kids, I'm not sure where to even begin. I've blocked out some very hard times but also have so many wonderful images that pop in and out of my head. It's been an absolute whirlwind. Honestly, I'm still adjusting. That's what kids bring about right, constant change.
After my first child I was excited and terrified at the same time but in awe of the life I had carried. With a short NICU stay, my goal of breastfeeding was just too difficult for me at the time to tackle, so I exclusively pumped for my son. I still remember eyes gazing up at me from early morning bottles. I loved it but it was a huge adjustment as my husband was studying for the CPA exam.
Before I could blink, I had 3 under 3. I was glad I was able to breastfeed my 2nd and 3rd children. I truly enjoyed the bond. After 3 kids, I really started to struggle mentally and noticed a change in my body. I didn't bounce back like I did after my 1st and 2nd. I struggled to ask for help or reach out. This continued and I still battle today.
By the time I was pregnant with my 4th child, I really looked forward to my births. I was no longer scared of the pain or process and truly enjoyed that time. My 4th birth was an amazing experience and completed our family with 2 boys and 2 girls. I struggled with PPD after my 4th child and still do to this day.
Then came Aug. 30th 2015. I'm pregnant. Not planned. Not exactly happy about it. Found out it was twins and just about lost it. I processed this information for 3 months. I was having identical girls. I fell in love with them. I fell in love with my body. I was in absolute awe as to how I was created to carry multiple children at one time. My water broke at 36.4. To feel the birth of my twins (second was breech) is a feeling I cannot describe. It was absolutely amazing and incredibly empowering. My girls are now almost 2. I enjoyed tandem nursing and sadly sporadic cuddles (as I had 4 other kids to care for) but to be honest that first year is an absolute blur.
I owe it all to my loving mother, family and friends. I learned to ask for help. At 10 days postpartum my uterus decided it had had enough and I ended up having an emergency hysterectomy after hemorrhaging at home. In the midst of depression and anxiety, I am happy to be alive. I am working on 2018/19 being years of healing and having more focus on taking care of me. Learning to love more and to find the inner strength that often gets buried. I am strong. I am beautiful. I will triumph.
You do not have to do it all and you do not have to do it well, but whatever you do, do it with love.
I am always behind the camera. From pictures you would think my husband is a single father. I want to stand up for me, for my body and with my kids."