Rachel Hines (34, currently 22 weeks pregnant) and Duncan Wulf (4)
Rachel shares -
“Getting pregnant with Duncan was a complete shock to my body and self-esteem. I dreaded going to my midwife appointments because I would have to weigh in. I stopped weighing myself after I saw the 90 pound weight gain on the scale, and I still had about four weeks left in my pregnancy.
About a week after giving birth, I had a friend message me about joining her fitness group to get my “pre-baby body back”. I had friends happily chime in about how they were only a few pounds away from pre-pregnancy weight just a month or two after giving birth.
It probably took me close to three years to start loving my body again. I never lost that extra "baby weight", and I've come to accept that this is how my body needs to be. I know a lot of people have said it, but it's true; my body helped make something out of nothing, it created another human. It nourished my child for almost 18 months, and it is amazing.
The surge in body-positive social media accounts has really helped with my confidence as well. Seeing other people who had bodies like me was so refreshing, and really boosted my self-esteem. It made me realize that I'm not any less of a person, have less of a personality, or am less worthy of love and support because I have a bigger body.
Postpartum was extremely difficult for me mentally and physically. Duncan was a velcro baby, and I couldn't put him down for sleep or even playtime. He would wake up and scream the moment I tired setting him in his bassinet or crib. He was constantly attached to me. I spent months on the sofa or in bed with him because the only way to get him to sleep was if he was on my chest. During the summer months, when I had finally had enough, we would drive around the city so he could nap somewhere other than on me. I was completely touched out, but too stubborn to ask for help.
It was hard seeing so many friends who had babies around the same time as me be able to take their kids out and about with such ease. Everyone looked so put together and confident in their parenting, while I was questioning my parenting skills because I couldn't even get my child to take a nap by himself.
It wasn't until two and a half years after having Duncan, while completing my doula training, that I realized how badly I had been suffering from postpartum depression. All of the signs were there, but I couldn't see them at the time. It was a devastating realization, but I'm so thankful that I have a close circle of friends to reach out to, and a supportive team of midwives for this pregnancy, who are helping put into place the right resources should I need to access them after I give birth later this year.
For me, this experience is about the on-going journey of self-love and self-acceptance. I want to be able to show my children that every single person is deserving of love and support.