Kelsey Siegel (31), Cole (2), and Theo (3 months)
Appleton, WI Photographed in Madison, WI
Kelsey shares -
"When I was pregnant with Cole, I was told by the physician we were working with that I miscarried him at our 12 week appointment. Our physician was very matter of fact about it and didn't provide us emotional support. We couldn't get an ultrasound until the following day so the time between appointments was so difficult for us. Our ultrasound technician ended up finding a heartbeat and we cried for days in joy.
I have always struggled with my body image. I have been self deprecating my whole life. I still look in the mirror and wish things were different at times, but overall I see my body as capable of doing amazing things. Growing babies and birthing them is something warriors do. Momma bodies are strong. I am grateful for my body, even with all the stripes and stretch marks.
After we had Cole, it was a mix of excitement, joy, fear, sadness, and hope. My husband and I were home for three months together, so we were really able to experience having a newborn together. Once the new - newborn excitement feelings ended, I experienced a heavy load pushing me down. I felt simultaneously happy and sad but the sad felt bigger at times. Everything felt challenging. Breastfeeding didn't feel as 'natural' as people said it would. I had to use my resources, our doulas, our doctor, family, to walk through the journey of PPD.
I was expecting the same experience after I had Theo but so far, it feels different. I can see Theo more clearly. I can take my time to notice parts of him that I couldn't see in Cole when he was that age. Now, I feel like I can live through Theo's day to day, while also reflecting back on Cole's newborn life. It has been a great gift to me.
My truth is that the journey into parenting is a vulnerable process. It is one that requires a lot of grace and space, a lot of tears and happy moments, reflecting back and moving forward. There are moments where the lack of sleep/nursing/big toddler feelings/etc feel big. I have realized that I am capable of loving two little boys with my whole self, while still honoring myself and who I am outside of my role as a mother. I still love to go out with my girlfriends, have dates with my husband, and take time for myself. I think that in the end it allows me to come to my kids as my whole self.
Our doulas had shared your information and once I dove deeper into the movement, I was so inspired by the community of women who chose to participate. I was able to have two non medicated uncomplicated deliveries, so my story sometimes feels average, but it's mine, so I'm own it and love it. It's how my babies came into the world."