Anna Wood McCarthy Schwartz (31) and Eloise (4)
Anna shares -
“Honestly, I have adopted a much healthier body image since my daughter was born. We all have our days, and I still have mine, but I’m much more aware of whether I am being kind to myself and my body.
I LOVED being pregnant! The birth was difficult. I had her two weeks early because they discovered my kidneys were failing and that I had the family kidney disease. I was being induced for two days and ultimately had a cesarean. Then to top it all off, the epidural nicked my spinal cord and I had a spinal headache for the first couple of days after having Eloise, which was very frustrating and depressing. After that was resolved and we we’re home, I definitely fell into a period of depression. Looking back I can clearly identify this but at the time I was so detached and under the surface very angry, that I really didn’t have a clue. Plus everything was about this beautiful new baby that I was always distracted and not checking in with myself. I was in a fog.
Right now in my life, I am the healthiest I have ever been- mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically except that I am in end stage kidney failure. In about 3 weeks, I will undergo surgery to place a catheter in my abdomen to prepare for dialysis. Since I had my daughter and was diagnosed with kidney disease, I have gone through an incredible journey of transformation. I came out as gay to my husband and best friend of 12 years, my family, and my friends, I grieved the death of my father, I cofounded a business, I began eating healthier, thinking more positively, living more mindfully and fell in love with my other half, Shannon.
This next phase of starting dialysis is the last step before I receive a kidney transplant and it’s the step I have the most personal fear of because I saw my dad go through dialysis when I was my daughter’s age. My body will be forever altered, just like it was when I was pregnant. This photo shoot is evidence of a time in my life where I am doing everything I can to stay alive and present for my daughter who gives me life everyday. She is my light and my greatest love and I will be forever grateful for her.”
Update! Since Anna’s session she has started dialysis and wrote - “I’ve been on dialysis for about a month now and have felt like a human being again. You forget what it’s like to live without functioning kidneys. The pictures you took remind me of a time when I was scared for the future, scared for change, but able to forget all of it when I’m around the magical being that is my daughter. “