Aimee Lake (33), Audrey (4), Noah (4 months)
Montana | Massachusetts | Photographed in Seattle, WA
Aimee shares -
"Pregnancy and postpartum has affected my body image profoundly. I've always been proud of my body and its athletic abilities. I was a competitive figure skater growing up and had always been used to my body being in shape and able to do what I wanted it to. Since birthing and mothering my children my body has become soft and large and "out of shape". On the one hand this has been a hard fact for me to accept. On the other I love how my body has adapted to what is needed of it now. It's been amazing to watch as it has nourished and shaped and sustained two little humans.
My two postpartum experiences have been vastly different. I became pregnant with my oldest before my partner or myself were ready to have kids. I felt like I was dragged into motherhood kicking and screaming. I was overwhelmed by the intensity of being needed constantly and was super happy to escape back to full time work at 8 weeks postpartum. I felt like I existed in a mental fog for about a year afterwards. Looking back on that time my main memory is of my teeth hurting from constantly clenching them.
My second pregnancy was also unplanned but I was in a much different space mentally. I was already a mother. I knew what to expect. And I was sure that my second child would be my last. I wanted to soak up every moment. I was mentally prepared for what postpartum meant. The newborn period felt so sweet. I was able to take twice as long off work and spend a summer being home with both my kids. I felt like I was able to connect with my oldest better as well (since I'd never been home with her full time for that long since she was born). I was prepared for the body changes that come with pregnancy and birth and they were not so scary as a result.
While motherhood is the toughest thing I have ever done it is shaping me in positive ways that I could not have dreamed of. I am better for it.
I want to take time to pause and acknowledge the hard work I'm doing with my whole self in caring for and nurturing these tiny people. And I'm here for my daughter and my son; so that they can know that their bodies are capable, strong, and worth celebrating."