Rebekah Lane (29), Melanie (10), Cameron (August 03, 2011 to October 30, 2011), Isaiah (4), Adalynn (2).
Abilene, TX | Washington, DC
Rebekah is a previous project participant, you can view her original photo and story here.
Rebekah shares -
"My first son Cameron was 2 months and 27 days old when he fell asleep for a nap and never woke up. He should be 6 years old today. His loss has forever changed me both for the better or worse. I struggle with anxiety and PTSD, but I have also become a much more sensitive, kind, and caring person, and above all, I try to live everyday to the fullest because he didn't get to.
Parenthood has definitely made me more mindful of the way I think and talk about my body. As a teenager and after my first two pregnancies, I had such a negative body image, and I did not try to hide it. As my oldest daughter became older, I realized I never wanted her to speak about her body the way I was speaking about mine. Everyday I make a conscious effort to change. It has helped that my body image has improved after my last two pregnancies with my "rainbow babies." The process of giving birth again after loss provided a great deal of healing, not just in my soul, but in the way I saw my body. My body was still able to give birth and give life after death, and for the first time in my adult life, I was incredibly proud of my body and its abilities. Breastfeeding Isaiah and Addy has also increased my confidence. The ability of my body to comfort and nourish both of them separately as well as tandem nursing them for almost two years has helped my body image as much as their pregnancies and births. I still have my insecure moments, but I have become so much more comfortable in my skin.
With my first three children, the postpartum period did not seem like a big deal. My body has always recovered well from delivery. Of course I did have some emotional issues with all of them. I was a single mother with Melanie, I experienced infant loss and grief with Cam, and I experienced anxiety and a large amount of fear with Isaiah, but I never really felt like I had any specific postpartum emotional issues. With Addy, I expected the same, a good physical recovery along with the standard issues of parenting after loss, the anxiety and fear I had experienced before.
However, I was so much more emotional. Constantly tearful. I was having problems keeping up the demands of my life, and I felt like a failure. I knew something was not right, but I didn't want to admit it, so I was constantly putting off contact with the outside world because I didn't want anyone to know. I was ashamed. Finally I broke down, and went and saw my midwife. She and some special friends helped me realize that getting the help I needed was a strength, not a weakness. She started me on medication that I continued for the whole first year of Adalynn's life. I don't know how we all would have ended up without that help.
My last baby girl is almost three, and I am coming to terms that this body will never again be changed by a tiny human growing inside it. I am also coming to the end of my breastfeeding journey which is extremely bittersweet, and I would be extremely grateful to capture this fleeting moment in our lives. I am so proud of what this project represents, and I hope we can change perceptions for my daughters and all the other girls and show that all bodies are amazing and beautiful.