Samantha Warren (34) mother to Worth (3), Tiller and Wright (Twins, Pictured - 16 weeks)
Photographed in Portland, ME
Samantha shares -
"For the past four years, my body has not been entirely my own. It carried my first son, Worth, to and through a natural birth at nearly 41 weeks and then allowed me to feed him for more than two years, several months into my second pregnancy, which I later learned was with twins. Despite a difficult pregnancy, I took them to term as well, was able to deliver vaginally and today, it's keeping pace with their full feeding needs, meaning I am making about a half gallon of milk a day.
After realizing all that it is capable of, I've taken to trusting my body. I do what it says. If it's hungry, I eat. Thirsty, I drink. And when it asks for ice cream or a chunk of chocolate cake, I, of course, honor that too. That doesn't mean I have fully accepted how my body looks, though I mostly like how it feels. Sometimes I catch my reflection and don't recognize myself. Sometimes, I feel like I am settling by giving into my mom body, squish and stretch marks and all. But right now, I accept it's about function rather than form. It's not that I've given up, but that I've given in. My body has changed, but so has everything else
Whenever I felt overwhelmed with my pregnancies or being a new mama , I remind myself that I am one of billions of women who have done or are doing this. It doesn't minimize my journey or all the feelings along the way, but it provides some reassurance that this is doable, and by incredibly strong women with far few resources that I have. It's a time-tested process that I need to trust. Trust my body. Trust my babies.
After I came home with our first son, I noticed a few faint stretch marks on the underside of my belly. I hadn't seen them before and I of course panicked. My husband admitted he'd seen them at our final appointment with the midwives, but had (perhaps smartly) decided it wasn't something worth mentioning. The day I found out we were pregnant with twins, I googled pictures of twin pregnancies and was terrified by the results. It looked so, well, unnatural. And as I grew, and grew, and grew and grew and grew, and the skin on my stomach stretch and spidered, I realized it was in fact quite supernatural.
When people found out I was pregnant, they would congratulate me but their faces always fell when I told them it was with twins. Every one wants to tell you about their twin mom sister or second cousin who hasn't slept in years and how hard it is. After going to term with the twins, I was so dang uncomfortable and wanted them out now, but was so scared on what awaited me on the other side. So, I am doing this for myself - to try to come to better terms with my saggy, marbled belly which I know will firm and fade over time. And, I am doing this for the woman out there, who just found out she is having twins or just saw the first sign of a stretch mark, to give her faith that while yes, twins are tough, she will one day in a place where she is ok enough with her body and competent enough as a mama of multiples that she can pull her head and her shit and all her babies together enough to get out the door and go do something like this."