Amy Bolton (36), Charles (8), Henry (6), Ruth (4), and Thomas (20 months)
Amy shares -
“Before we were married in 2008, I conceived by surprise and when we went for our dating ultrasound at 9 weeks we discovered that it was a blighted ovum. Not until months after we got married, 10 days after my D&C did I realize how deeply this had affected my wedding. We have a Christmas ornament that we hang on the tree every year to remember this loss.
I have always had trouble with body image, yet I loved my body when pregnant! I was so proud of my growing belly and the life inside of me. I am determined not to pass my insecurities onto my children though, I am working through them myself, feeling comfortable in my own skin and I want my children to grow up loving themselves the way they are and to be healthy.
I was incredibly proud of myself and my labours. Each one was different and I had incredible support through each one. With my first I had a small baby born in hospital who struggled with breastfeeding, I scrambled for any resource I could find, but I persevered. My second was born 19 months later at home and I was able to tandem nurse them until I was seven months pregnant with their sister, my third. She was born at home as well and I know I struggled with postpartum depression with her. I have a cleft lip and palate and I think this, combined with her being a girl, really had me struggling with my emotions and self esteem. My fourth baby was born in hospital after an induction due to preeclampsia. I struggled with this change in plans but in the end, I was very supported by my midwives and I felt very empowered by this. I was able to tandem nurse him and his sister until she turned 3. My husband was very involved in my labours, my boys even got to be present at their younger brothers birth!
I now teach prenatal classes for my local midwives and I am an RN in a small rural hospital where we have low risk births. In my classes I try to encourage expectant mothers to ask for help, take the time to enjoy that time with their babies, connect and cherish this time because there will be lots of time to introduce solids, bottles, visit people, etc but your baby with only be tiny for such a short time. I try to support women in labour so that they are empowered, that they aren't scared and that they feel cared for.
I grew up being told that I looked like my mother, but having a mother who had terrible self esteem that was a very confusing thing for a little girl on top of growing up with a facial difference. I chose to participate in this project because I want to show myself, my children and others that "different is beautiful", I have scars, my babies gave me these curves and my less than perky breast, my varicose veins and my tired eyes but I wouldn't change this journey for the world!”