Lara Winter-Hoffman (32), mother to Dahlia (2 - not pictured due to illness)
Lara shares -
“I've never experienced loss in the form of miscarriage or stillbirth. However, my daughter was born with a life-limiting genetic disorder rendering her with severe physical and intellectual disabilities. I grieve daily for the life she will never be able to have, and I live with the knowledge that she may not survive her childhood.
I struggled with my body image for much of my life, but after my daughter was born it didn't necessarily remain a priority in my mind, because my I think my mind chose her as the priority instead. Occasionally the old familiar insecurities I have would arise, but overall I noticed myself approaching the changes in my body with a sense of curiosity and an understanding that my body is living and fluid and is never always the same.
I'm a nurse, so when my daughter was born with medical complexities I felt more like her nurse than her mother. It took time to realize that I'm her mother because I am a nurse, but I am first and foremost her mother. However, I never quite acknowledged the magnitude of the stress I was feeling until it started manifesting as significant anxiety and beginning to affect my quality of life. For the past year I've been evaluating my anxiety and its causes and effects with a therapist and recently have been able to recognize the connection between my mental health and my stress levels--particularly related to my daughter and her health and prognosis. Now I'm working to utilize mental tools to manage my stress and anxiety so I can be more present with myself and my family. This is all new territory for me so I'm trying especially hard to remember to be understanding with and kind to myself and my mind.
I came here for myself, because I'm grateful for the person my daughter has made me and I'm proud of both her and myself. I wanted to share my story to add to the diversity of parenthood experiences. “