Sarah Baker (37) mother of two ages 6 and 3
Los Angeles, CA
Sarah shares -
“A couple of years ago, my IUD failed and I became pregnant. It was the most painful decision of my life to terminate the pregnancy. I did what was right for myself, my children, and my family as a whole. After a period of secretly suffering, therapy was crucial for me in processing the experience and healing. Sharing the story with other women has been hugely healing and empowering as well.”
How has parenthood impacted your body image?
I've struggled with body image from a very young age. I gained a lot of weight with my first pregnancy and for the first year after giving birth I was extremely ashamed of my weight and all the changes I saw. I still struggle with my body image even after almost four years since having my second child, but my confidence has grown over time. I'm constantly trying to forgive myself, be more gentle with myself, and have more confidence. I always pretend to be proud of my body in front of my children, so that I never pass down the insecurity I've grown up feeling.
What was your postpartum experience?
I was baby-crazy for so many years before becoming pregnant. I always thought I'd love pregnancy and that I'd be a perfect earth-goddess-mama-to-be. But I was uncomfortable, full of self doubt and anxiety, gained much more weight than I thought I would, and even had PUPPS at the end (a very uncomfortable and somewhat rare pregnancy rash!) Pregnancy was not fun for me.
I took a hypno-birthing class to prepare for the birth, which made me feel less fearful about birth and labor, but also inadequate for choosing to have a hospital birth vs home birth. My birth with my first child went pretty perfectly. I labored at home with a doula and went to the hospital just in time to push out the baby, unmedicated. Back at home I fell very in love with my baby, but also very fearful, anxious, worried that my partner and I would never have the same intimacy again, and ashamed of my body. Looking back, I think I might have had postpartum anxiety. But I'm thankful that I bonded very deeply with my daughter and nursing was easy and enjoyable. Things were smoother with my second daughter, and I felt less anxiety in the months after her birth, but I did feel some depression. Sometimes I wish I could go back to infancy with both of them and try to enjoy it all more.
Why did you choose to participate in this movement and share your story?
I found 4TBP on Instagram around the same time that a dear friend lost her child. The inclusion of pregnancy and child loss, the body acceptance and positivity, learning more about what it's like to parent a child with special needs, all spoke volumes to me and has become a little corner of the internet that I find so much joy and comfort in.