Katrina Chin Loy (31), Noelani (34 months) and Niara (7 weeks)
Washington, DC | Photographed in Chicago, IL
Katrina participated previously in March 2015, you can view her original image and narrative here.
Katrina shares -
"I've never felt more beautiful than when I was pregnant. Something especially about those last few weeks when each week it seemed like I couldn't grow any more but then somehow my body did. Something about being able to carry my baby with me everywhere I went and not have to even actively think about how I would need to care for her while I did. Knowing that there was an endpoint to carrying her inside was a little bittersweet, but obviously meeting and growing her on the outside has been even sweeter. After delivery, most days I still feel amazed about what my body did to grow and birth two humans, but it's easy to try to compare my current self to my former self. Even the second time around, I'm definitely learning to give myself grace for how my body has changed and not set unrealistic expectations about how my body looks.
When I had my first daughter I felt woefully unprepared for how physically, emotionally and mentally draining being a mother would be after she arrived. Everything up until postpartum was actually easier than I expected so I thought maybe everyone was exaggerating about how rough the first few weeks of postpartum could be. On top of that, with my husband being across the country, even with good local support, I felt like I was mostly on my own.
The second time around, postpartum has been going much differently. For one, our whole family is living in the same place. Having Anthony's physical support leading up to, during, and after the birth of our second daughter has been amazing. Because Anthony was around, I felt like we had more control in terms of what we planned and wanted for the birth of our second daughter and the days and weeks that followed. I know that you can never plan every detail, but I honestly feel like her birth was exactly how I hoped and envisioned it. We had her at home, so the transition to postpartum was seamless. This time around I shifted my expectations for postpartum based on my previous experience, but everything seems to be easier than I remembered. I didn't have any trouble starting to nurse like I did last time and we're actually enjoying tandem nursing for however long this season lasts. Physically, my recovery seemed to come along quicker than last time as well. The joy of seeing Noelani as a big sister has been one of the best parts of postpartum this time around.
Each season definitely feels bittersweet as it changes, and no matter how much you think it can't possibly get better, somehow it still does! No matter how you might feel at times in this journey, you are part of a sisterhood of generations of mothers who have done this before and will continue to do so for generations to come.
I came to Chicago this weekend to take my medical oral boards, which are only offered twice a year in my specialty. When I signed up to take them I did not realize I would be 6 weeks postpartum at the time of the exam. The support of my husband and older daughter have made this process so much easier than it would have been if I had to take them the last time I was this far along postpartum. I had such an amazing experience participating in the project after the birth of my first daughter that I knew I wanted to participate again if I had the opportunity.