Katie Reiff (30) and Emerson Grey (8 months)
Katie shares -
“I have struggled with body dysmorphia since I was a teenager. Surprisingly, pregnancy brought a confidence in my body that I had never before experienced. Due to my history of a genetic heart disorder and multiple heart attacks, I was told I should never get pregnant. When I found out that I was pregnant, I was terrified. I was afraid my body would, once again, fail me and not allow me to experience the magic of carrying a child. After some testing, it was determined that I could proceed with the pregnancy. I was elated! I was considered high risk, but I could totally handle that as long as I was able to continue with a healthy pregnancy. Watching the changes in my body that was allowing a healthy little human to grow was incredible. I gained confidence and faith in my body as the pregnancy continued. Labor was the “ultimate test” for my heart, and it passed with flying colors!
Even though my body did the once unimaginable, postpartum has been a struggle for me. My old evil friend dysmorphia has come ‘aknockin more than it’s been welcome. I kept getting told that if I breastfeed the weight would melt off, and that since I was in great shape pre-pregnancy I would “bounce back”. That has not been the case. Losing the weight has been a slow process. I gained 70 pounds during pregnancy, and am still 20 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I feel like the body confidence I gained during pregnancy has slipped away. I try to workout as much as I can, and I feel much better when I do. But between working full time and being a single mom, there’s a lot of other things that come first. I try to remind myself to appreciate that my body is doing a wonderful thing by providing breast milk for my daughter. Some days I feel great and others not so much. Eight months postpartum and I am still learning to appreciate this new body.
I want to set an example of self-love and body positivity for my daughter. Participating in this movement is an act of self-love. I hope by sharing my story I can make someone else feel empowered and that they’re not alone in their journey. I can’t wait to share the photos and experience with Emerson when she’s older!”