The beautiful Carly Burns, Tyler Emmanuel (4.5) Caleb Aaron (2.5) Robert Elias (8 months)
Carly and her husband decided to start a family just 2 years after getting married. She got pregnant easily and began reading voraciously about everything she could. Pregnancy and childbirth were great experiences for her and all three pregnancies were without major incident. Carly was able to have the intervention free and drug free births she desired, even while in a hospital setting. She felt so prepared thanks to the Bradley Method classes they took. Their instructor was incredible, and gave them the knowledge needed to make an informed decision on everything they encountered. "Birth made me feel like a warrior. I felt connected to generations of empowered women birthing without pain medication. My mother and my mother-in-law both had natural births that they were proud of, and I knew I could join them."
Despite her easy birth experiences, Carly's journey to accepting motherhood has been a challenge. She feels that her entire life, her body has been for everyone else, and not for her. "Just as every other woman has experienced, I was objectified by my peers and strangers a like as I went through my adolescence. When others view you as an object, you begin to believe them" Motherhood has made her entirely different, primarily in the way she looks at herself as a person and especially how she looks at her body. "I've kept my sense of self closely intertwined with how others felt (or how I thought they felt) about my body. If I felt fat, I didn't feel worthy as a person. If someone made a comment about my hair, skin, or clothes, I would work very hard to change those things. Even people I didn't care about, like acquaintances and strangers, changed the way I saw myself. Only once I became a mother did I find that I was more than my body. I finally realized that everyone else's opinions about how I should be, how I should dress, what I should eat, how I should raise my children, none of that mattered. When I was pregnant with each of my boys, I was working full time in a demanding career. While all my direct supervisors we're incredibly supportive, clients and coworkers rarely understood or respected my choices as a woman. Everyone wanted me to justify what I was eating, or how I was going to give birth, or whether or not I was going to return to work. People in the supermarket would tell me I shouldn't be out alone when I was 7 months pregnant. I hated people treating me like I was sick or needed to be taken care of (except for my husband. He was always allowed to take care of me). But it was then that I realized how amazing my body is and how no one but me has a say in how I treat my body. My body has grown, brought forth and sustained life. Three times. I now love my body. And most importantly, I am more than my body. My soul and mind and heart are what is important."
"Women are strong. We are more than just our bodies. I want my sons to know that the values a woman holds are much more important than her weight or waistline. I wanted to participate because I need to prove to myself that I'm brave enough to stand up in front of the world and say that I am enough. Just me. Just the way I am. I am enough. Motherhood didn't ruin me. Motherhood revealed who I really am: a badass woman who loves fiercely and sacrifices whatever is necessary for those she loves."