Kristin Adair (30) and Elodie, 11 months
Florida | Seattle, WA
Kristin shares -
"Parenthood has been rough on my body image, although, to be fair, it wasn't great before. I knew my body would go through changes during pregnancy but it felt different experiencing it first hand. My body felt foreign to me. On one hand I knew it was creating life, and that was pretty cool, but I couldn't help but feel like pregnancy was sucky for me. I was sick for a big chunk of my pregnancy and experienced other pain issues, so it put me in a bad place to start. Then when the physical changes happened, it was all just so surreal and un-glowy for me.
People don't always talk about what a body may look like immediately postpartum - looking 6 months pregnant leaving the hospital was jarring for me. My belly looked deflated and I wondered how my body would change again and in what ways. I wore my maternity clothing for months and it was a blow to my self-esteem. My breasts were unrecognizable to me and I felt like I was just around to make milk. A vessel and then a food source. I feel better about my body now and am impressed with what it can do. I want to be a positive force in my daughter's life, so that means I need to continue to work on my body image.
Adjusting postpartum was surprisingly difficult. It felt like nothing I could have imagined. Here I am 11 months later and I'm still adjusting. I try to take it one day at a time. I struggled early on with everything - things beyond the usual sleep deprivation. My husband recognized in me that I needed to seek help and I'm so thankful for that. My doula offered support postpartum, too, and I am glad I had her as a resource. Being able to chat with other moms was and is immensely helpful - I do believe it takes a village.
Shortly after my daughter was born - about 3 months later - I began experiencing excruciating pain in my abdomen for days at a time. Turns out I had gallstone issues, something I later learned is common during and after pregnancy. And it can be inherited! I had no idea that could happen. I feel lucky the urgent care doctor I saw experienced the same thing postpartum - she believed my pain. I went in for surgery shortly after to get my gallbladder removed and was terrified of never making it back out to see my family. Days after my surgery I was rushed to the ER with complications from the surgery. It sent me back into a hole, mentally and physically. I imagined postpartum would be a tough adjustment with our new addition, but I couldn't have imagined this. I felt like I did everything I could to avoid PPD/PPA but didn't. And that's hard to swallow - like I failed at something. I have to remember every day to be kinder to myself and that I am getting better.
I would tell my former self or a new parent that they're stronger than they could ever believe.
My friend and husband encouraged me to participate. I want to experience the wonderful, strong people in this movement. And to hopefully find inspiration to draw from on my rough days."