Jessica Parks (37 - she/her) and Wilder (12 weeks)
How has parenthood impacted your body image?
Body image has always been an issue for me. I was a dancer until a few years ago and spent countless hours staring in the mirror during class and rehearsal, trained to see flaws. During my pregnancy I would obsess over all of the changes- breast growth, widening hips and belly, postural shifts. Now that I’ve birthed my son, things have begun to slowly shift. Sure, I still see my softer, curvier body through my old eyes, but now I also see the body that grew my baby, the body that continues to feed him everyday and the body that did the single most powerful thing that I’ve done in my life. It’s a process, but I’m beginning to know and embrace this new body of mine.
What was your postpartum experience?
My postpartum journey is still very much in progress. I guess the thing that surprised me is how difficult and, at the same time, how natural early motherhood has been. I had a home birth and really believe that bringing my baby into world in this way was key to my experience. The home was prepared, I slept in my bed with my baby right away, I ate food that I had prepared. It all just felt natural and spiritual, like that’s the way it was supposed to be for his arrival.
I’ve struggled with some severe physical pain and the emotional ups and downs have certainly been real. I’ve had a lot of support along the way from my midwife, doulas, partner, friends, family and new parents group which has helped tremendously. We’re still pretty entrenched in it at 12 weeks.
What is your truth?
Bring your baby into the world in whatever way feels right to you. Educate yourself if you can, talk to and surround yourself with other pregnant people and new parents, listen to your internal voice.
Why did you choose to participate in this movement and share your story?
I think that it’s every birthing persons job to help normalize the experience. We all birth differently, parent differently and have our own set of experiences. This project beautifully highlights the bodies and stories of the 4th trimester and I wanted to be a part of that.