The radiant Rachel Newhouse and Emerson James (4)
Rachel spent about a decade of her youth living in a home where she was physically abused. "I left there and felt worthless". She fell in love and married a man in her young 20's who wasn't physically abusive but was negligent and emotionally abusive. She decribes that while pregnant, he told her that her body was disgusting. She had a health emergency and couldn't breathe but he refused to get out of bed to help her. Two days after her son was born and unfortunately, in the NICU, while she was already sobbing, he poked still swollen belly and asked when her son's twin would be born. "Needless to say, I have had it reinforced to me over and over again that I am not worthy of love and that I am not enough. I never wanted to be a mother because I thought I was destined to repeat my mother's abuse. Yet, this body that was literally beaten, degraded, and torn apart, brought into my life the most amazing, healing love I have ever known".
Since the day he was born, Rachel has had a very special, deep connection with her son. "I love him with everything in every cell of my body. And he loves me that much too. He is defensive of me, looks out for me, and even takes care of me when I'm sick. If I feel sad, he gets me a cup of water and a stuffed animal because that's what makes him feel better. If I have a headache, he turns on "sweet music", brings me a blanket, and gives me a snuggle. At first I was resistant to receiving his extraordinary outpouring of affection for me because I've never experienced it from anyone else in my life. My therapist helped me to learn to receive his love and affection. We are the best of buddies. He is my side kick. He is absolutely everything to me. My body - which I hated for so, so long - I cannot hate anymore. I have to love my body. My body is what grew and brought into the world the greatest love I have ever known."
Rachel is a postpartum women's health researcher focused on improving attention to women in the 4th trimester and giving them the resources they need to be healthy themselves and raise a healthy family. Even so, she has struggled with her own postpartum body. "Doing this is a way of me saying I love my body, I'm proud of what my body can do, and there is nothing to hide and be ashamed of.