Samantha Thorn (28) and Aiden (6.5)
Samantha shares -
“It’s been almost 2 years since my missed miscarriage. My baby was born sleeping on May 30th 2017, at 14w1d. I carried him for 9 days before he left my body; I wanted him to go naturally, I couldn’t bear to imagine going through a D&C with my sweet bub. I remember parts of his birth so vividly; driving home from work one night telling my body ‘its okay to let go’ and then giving birth to him in my shower just a few hours later, alone. Holding his small body, talking to him, and burying him the next day. As painful as it obviously was, his birth was also very healing... trusting myself and my body. His birth solidified that my next birth will also be a home birth. The first year after we lost him, was one of the darkest parts of my life, so much trauma was brought to the surface. I understand more now, why he couldn’t stay. But he was so very wanted and loved, and still so very missed. His older brother nicknamed him Zaggy (like a zigzag), and it’s stuck. Some other people in your life may forget, but you never do. I want to make sure I help as many people in my life remember Zaggy as I can.
How has parenthood impacted your body image?
I have an odd relationship with my body. As a sexual abuse survivor, my body image is skewed to begin with, so parenthood hasn’t impacted it much, as there is kind of a void there; apathetic. I don’t hate my body, but I don’t love it, yet. I’m working on that still, as I believe it’s a vital part of being a woman, especially a mother. When I stop and think about my body, I’m proud of what it has accomplished in regards to my births, and breastfeeding; I'm not ashamed of my stretch marks or saggy breasts, and I've never really struggled with my weight, outwardly speaking I'm okay with my body. I think if parenthood has affected my body image in any way, it would be in the sense that I now look at myself and focus on being healthy, both physically and mentally.
What was your postpartum experience?
Postpartum after Aiden’s birth was a blur. I believe now, that I had some mix of undiagnosed PPD/PPA. I didn’t know what I was feeling and experiencing at the time, I thought it was normal. We had a perfectly normal, natural birth at a women’s pavilion, birth basically went just as I had expected it to. But once we got home, I spent almost all of my time secluded in bed with my baby, alone. It saddens me now to look back and realize how much I missed enjoying the newborn stage with my baby because I wasn’t supported enough mentally. When you’re a mom, you constantly second guess what you’re doing, if it’s the best thing or the right thing; I felt that for a long time with Aiden because of my mental health. The only thing I never second guessed or struggled with was breastfeeding. He was the most plump and healthy little boy ever. It wasn’t my original plan to breastfeed this long, it just kind of happened. When I said self wean, I meant it, and we’re here doing it. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about full term breastfeeding and natural weaning, and I used to think I needed to defend myself and my choices, but I’m past that point. I’m fully confident and content with our breastfeeding relationship, and really fucking proud too.
Postpartum after Zaggy’s birth was intense. I had no idea what to expect - nobody really talks about miscarriage or loss. I found myself searching the internet for support, trying to not feel so alone. To try and heal, I buried his body in a potted plant, and got a zigzag tattoo. But I mainly coped with alcohol, and other reckless behaviors. I was broken, in so many ways. His loss was the first domino in what led to me finally seeking therapy for the first time in my life, about 5 months later, and it also led to my sobriety. (16 months sober so far!) I was diagnosed with PTSD from childhood trauma/sexual abuse, and I now know that certain things with Aiden and Zaggy were triggers for me, and I feel better just even being able to understand some of that. He had to leave so I could grow. We weren’t ready for each other yet. Telling myself that now helps tremendously. I’m forever grateful for the experiences and lessons I received from my baby in the short time he was with me. Both of my babies have helped me in more ways than I even know.
What is your truth?
Your body, and mind, and baby know what to do. You are so much more powerful, strong and wise than you may realize! Even if you don’t understand why or how something happened, understand that some things are out of your control, and that it may have happened for a reason, a bigger purpose or meaning, regardless though, life does go on.
Why did you choose to participate in this movement and share your story?
I’ve seen a lot of my online mom friends participate, their stories and pictures are so unique and beautiful, so I wanted to be a part of this too. The feeling of community this project shares is incredible. Everyone is different, yet the same in so many ways. It is freeing to share all of this, to speak about my loss, struggles, and even my past abuse, so openly with the entire world. I feel very honored and privileged to be participating; I will forever cherish this experience, and have it as a reminder for this period of my life with my son.