Chelsey Jones (31), Zephyr (almost 4) and Dax (2)
Chelsey is a previous project participant. You can view her photo and story from 2016 here.
Chelsey shares -
“In light of what is going on in our country, I’d like to say loudly (and unapologetically) that I had an abortion and it was a great decision! My husband and I got pregnant when we weren’t yet ready to have a baby. I decided, but we also decided together. I had an abortion at 7 weeks. I cannot imagine my life now if I had not been able to make that choice. “
How has parenthood impacted your body image?
I had guessed for a long time that I had body dysmorphia. When I got pregnant the first time, it was overwhelming. Triggering, even. The second pregnancy I was much more prepared for the pregnancy, even the postpartum stage. Most days I am grateful for my stretch marks and belly. I did not break. I made it. What I was not prepared for was how long my body would not be my own. I thought after breastfeeding ended with my second at 12 months, my body would go back to being mine. I love to hug and hold my babies, but sometimes the touching and pulling and climbing and hitting and groping is....overwhelming. So I’ve been trying to get back to scheduling alone time for myself. Chiropractor, acupuncture, massage. Still touching, but on my terms and just for me.
What was your postpartum experience?
I thought I was strong after becoming a mom the first time. Overcoming the physical demands of pregnancy and childbirth made me feel like a superhero most days. Truly. I was foolish to think the second one would be the same or easier. It was harder. Much harder. Life also threw some curve balls at us my first year postpartum with my second, but the depression just got greater. It was the worst the months after I quit breastfeeding. I had been pregnant and breastfeeding for four years and when it was over I started to remember myself from before and I mourned that old life hard for almost a year. I’m on the other side of it now, the upswing, but the idea that the postpartum transition could last so long caught me completely off guard.
What is your truth?
Do your very best to be a good human and to raise good humans, and then try harder. It is a choice every moment of every single day, in every action and it can be difficult. Kids make it so difficult! There are so many times it would be easier to be sad or angry or yell, to say something is “just because” or demand something “because I said so,” but I truly believe it is my greatest challenge and mission and purpose to raise loving, kind, caring, accepting, change-making, world-improving individuals. And to be one. Especially on the toughest days and in the toughest moments. Especially because they already have privilege and may continue to, and I would only want them to use it to better the lives of those who do not have it.
Why did you choose to participate in this movement and share your story?
This movement is forever my inspiration and motivation. It holds me accountable to see myself for more than my faults. It encourages me to try harder. It teaches me so much! It gives me a sense of community I didn’t know I needed and could not live without. So, I think it is my responsibility to participate; To share my stories and my truths with the hope that they will inspire, motivate, encourage and teach someone else. That someone else will see themself in my story and feel connected and a little less alone in this sometimes very lonely journey of motherhood.