Brandy (30 - she/her) and Braxtyn (13 months)
How has parenthood impacted your body image?
For the most part, I'm really just in awe. I can't believe my body made, grew, and birthed this baby and has continued producing milk for over a year now. It really is an amazing thing that I'm so grateful for. However, the postpartum hair loss, graying, and perma-pooch are not always the easiest to wear proudly; try as I might.
What was your postpartum experience?
The first 6 months were brutal. Processing a birth that didn't go as planned, contending with a tongue tie release, having my anxiety turn the volume up 10 notches on everything, and not having a strong support system was so hard. I thought it would be so different and needed much more help than anticipated. My anxiety was high and affected my relationships with those around me. I was told things like, "this isn't any harder for you than it is anybody else," "you're being oversensitive," "just wait, it gets harder." I just remember feeling so extremely lonely and nobody understood. I wish my memories of that time were different. Around 4 months, things started getting better and around 6 months, I felt like I had finally emerged from the dark hole I was in and felt like this new normal was not only going to be okay, it was going to be amazing.
What is one piece of knowledge you'd pass along to your former self, or a new parent?
Skip the baby shower and put the money towards a postpartum doula. Seriously, do it.
Why did you choose to participate in this movement and share your story?
I'm sharing my story because this conversation is not being had loud enough. Women are suffering in silence or being met with unhelpful comments when trying to speak up. I feel like new mothers should be absolutely doted on. Nourishing meals made, baths poured, house cleaned, given time to sleep and heal and recover. But that's not how it is; not even close. In fact, some may laugh and think "yeah right" when reading that. It's not okay. The culture and societal norm needs to change.