Kelly Abbott (36), Keagan (8), Hudson (6), Lennon (4), Dawson (2), and Callan (3 months)
Kelly is previous project participant. You can view her original photo and story from 2015 here.
Pittsburgh, PA | Akron, OH
Kelly shares -
“I experienced a miscarriage in between Dawson and Callan. After having four, full term pregnancies that resulted in live births my brain was tricked into thinking I was "immune" from a loss. When it happened I was not prepared for the deep feelings of loss and anger at my body. People said "It is ok! You already have four beautiful children!" and I started to feel like I didn't deserve to feel sadness or grief over the loss. I was very fortunate to have dear friends who let me grieve in ways I needed and held my hand as I walked an unknown path.
My first four children are all born in the Spring (March, April, May) and all two years apart. The baby I miscarried would have been born in that same spring birth cycle. When I became pregnant with Callan, born in the fall of that year, everyone made jokes about how I was "off my cycle" to have a fall baby. It changed my perspective on the things we say to people when we don't know their stories. Each time the joke is made it takes me to a place of silent heartache.
How has parenthood impacted your body image?
I know my body has done amazing things and has carried a baby within it for 51 months out of the last 108 months. It grew, kept safe, and birthed 5 amazing humans. I feel a lot of pride and honor in the feats my body has completed. I struggle to find the same pride and honor in the shape of my body after completing these amazing feats. I have breastfed for 49 months and counting. My body is still not my own and provides life for another. I need to remind myself daily that I had a baby three months ago and it is going to take this older and more experienced body a lot of time to heal. I am more concerned with regaining strength in my body than regaining a certain shape that society finds appealing.
Feel free to share your postpartum journey.
Each postpartum period for me has brought challenges. I suffered from PPD and PPA after my first three births. I used talk therapy and medication to battle these difficult times. After my fourth birth I consumed my placenta, daily for several months and found postpartum to be enjoyable. I thought I would have an experience similar when I just gave birth this past fall. However, that has not been the case and I am currently taking medication for the depression and anxiety that seem to cloud my postpartum times. It is frustrating to be battling PPD/PPA again but my life experiences have taught me I am strong enough to get through it.
Why did you choose to participate in this movement and share your story?
The first time I was a participate I was in a great space with my body image and motherhood journey. This time I am struggling with body image and how to mother a family of family of five children. I wanted this time to be documented because motherhood is an ever evolving experience and will always have highs and lows. It is just as important to embrace the lows and be brave enough to try and love yourself daily, as it is to embrace those "perfect" moments.”