Rachel Minick (33), Amelia Ryan (5), and Matthew Clark (2)
Rachel shares -
“I have struggled with body image issues since elementary school and have continued to struggle during adulthood. I gained a significant amount of weight with each pregnancy. It took two years postpartum for me to feel like I had the time and energy to take care of myself the first time. Getting back to a pre-baby body was not a goal, but I found a strong and healthy version of my body right before I found out I was expecting again. It has once again been two years and I am at the once again at the beginning of the journey of health and well-being. I try to focus on the great things that my body has accomplished through motherhood as a way to build positive a body image and acceptance of where my body is at this time. One of my biggest fears is that I will pass my body issues down to my children. I am working to show them that I love and appreciate my body at any size but at the same time I want them to see me put health and well-being as a priority.
Before I knew that I was pregnant with my firstborn, I saw her in dreams and visions. The pregnancy was healthy with no complications until delivery. The induction process started gradually, but by mid-day the day of Amelia's birth, it was clear that there was going to be more interventions than desired. Labor continued for a few hours but ultimately changed to an evening in the OR for an urgent cesarean. The days and months that followed contained many moments that felt like complete failure.
Nursing was difficult from day one, requiring a nipple shield for 10 months. I was shocked by how unnatural breastfeeding felt and was overwhelmed by not producing enough at the pump while working during the day. However, once she weaned from the nipple shield and I stopped pumping at work, our nursing relationship was strengthened and continued for another 2 years. It ended gently and in the right time.
With my second pregnancy, I once again had an uneventful gestation. The hospital where I delivered my first was not open to VBAC delivery so I consulted with another hospital in a different city, but they said they would not allow me to try for a VBAC with an induction so I scheduled a repeat cesarean at my home hospital. The repeat cesarean was healing in so many ways as I had come to accept the best way for my body to deliver a healthy baby is to have them "lifted into the world" as my midwife said. Nursing was easier and we felt more relaxed as parents the second time around.
I think it is important to share and stories to bring connection to people who find themselves following this movement from the depths of the "parenting forrest" as people in my circles say. I have found that the more stories I share, the more connection and less isolation I feel. I excited and grateful to be apart of this movement.”