Kelsey Telega (35), Ruby (4), and Olive (2)
Kelsey shares -
"I had an abortion in my early 20's while in college. I was in a relationship with someone who was struggling with addiction and not ready to commit to co-parenting a child. My family was supportive of my decision and I was confident in my decision to end the pregnancy.
I have struggled with body image most of my life. I went through puberty at a very young age, developing much faster than my peers which made me acutely aware of the ways in which I was different than others. Paired with anxiety and a desire to control any area of my life, I developed an eating disorder and very unhealthy relationship with food around age 15 which I struggled on and off with through my mid twenties. While I would be lying to say that I don't find it difficult, on some days, to see how my body has changed after each pregnancy, overwhelmingly I have found a deep respect for my body and the ways in which it supported, birthed and fed each child. Now that I have two little girls, I have a daily intention to show them what self-love looks like, to impart the truth that EVERY body is beautiful and strong and to teach them that our bodies are vessels but who we are, like every human on earth, is love.
What surprised me most after the birth of my first child, Ruby, was that I didn't really know what true love was up until that point. It's not that I hadn't loved but this was a raw, beautiful, gut-wrenching kind of love that I had never experienced. And after the birth of my second daughter, Olive, that love somehow magically expanded to envelop her lovely being as well. And it was and is beautiful and on most days fills me with a soul-filling light but it also, from day one, filled me with a new kind of intense anxiety that I have had to work through and with. Anxiety centered around the general, terrifying reality that I am responsible not only for the physical safety of my two little hearts walking outside of my body but for helping them to mentally and emotionally navigate a world full of pain, suffering, injustice and fear to become good humans who are compassionate, kind and outspoken fighters. Oddly, in contrast to all of that anxiety, being a mother has made me brave, outspoken and finally in touch with my own personal power.
I want to show my children that they are powerful, strong and beautiful just like their mother and all the other humans that are a part of this movement and beyond and to show them that I see them.
The connectedness of all living beings and also that being kind and taking no shit are not mutually exclusive.