Tessa King (27), Veira (7), Violet (3), Veda (2), and Isaac (6 months)
“I had a miscarriage at 15 week the day before Christmas eve in 2013. Nobody prepares you for what a loss like that feels like. I thought I was in the safe zone and that nothing like that could ever happen to me. After it happened it seemed as if the world moved past it quickly but time for me stood still. Everyone was moved past the loss almost as if it never even happened. It took me a long time to get where I am and have a sense of peace about it. 5 years later and there are still days I become very overcome with the sadness of what could have been.
How has parenthood impacted your body image?
I have always had a complicated relationship with body image. Definitely having children amplified my issues I have with my outward appearance. I have always been very strong in knowing who I am on the inside is a beautiful person but what I see in my refection doesn't match up.
I had my first baby at 19 and sometimes I feel as if I missed out on the good body most people have in their 20's. My first three pregnancies I “bounced back” fairly quickly. Never back to my pre-baby body but an okay new version of myself. I have struggled more then ever this postpartum journey after having my son. He is my fourth, born via Cesarean and weighed over 11lb and was 24" long. He pushed my body to its limits. I gained triple the stretch marks and extra skin and now a huge incision scar to boot.
Now, when I look in the mirror my body seems foreign. I really am trying to get a grasp on this is my new normal. I have been pregnant, nursing and then nursing and pregnant for the last 4 years. My body sustained, birthed and now is nourishing two babies. I'm trying to give myself some grace and know that it will take time to get back to a place where I feel comfortable in my own skin. Now that I have young children looking up to me I know having a positive relationship with my body is more important then ever. I need to set a good example for them and show them what loving yourself inside and out looks like. Its a work in progress but I know I will get there.
Feel free to share your postpartum journey.
I got pregnant with my first child very young. Having a baby at 19 was not something 10 years ago I would have envisioned for myself. I was the first person to have a baby out of everyone I knew so I had nobody to really ask any questions to. When she was born I was not prepared for the drastic change that would occur in my life. I was all of a sudden responsible for caring for another life. It was nothing I thought it would be. I think I cried for two straight months. I was worried I would not be able to give her the life she deserved as I myself still was practically a child. I nursed her for almost a year but every second of that year was a struggle. I never could keep a steady supply and again nobody I knew even had a clue about breastfeeding.
My postpartum journey was very different with my second. I was older, it was planned and I was much more prepared. The transition was smooth and I really began to come into my own as not only a mother but a woman as well. I knew what I wanted out of my pregnancy care and birth. I knew how to take care of a baby and it was so much easier on me mentally.
3 months after my 3rd daughter was born I was hospitalized and diagnosed with a brain disorder called IIH. During that time I completely lost my milk supply. This was devastating to me. I worked very hard was was able to re-lactate and now am still nursing my daughter.
My 4th pregnancy and birth were much more traumatic and the postpartum journey has been different to say the least. From very early on my son measured very large. I had a history of shoulder dystocia births so from before even 20 weeks there was much talk of very early induction. Every appointment seemed high stress, way more medical and less exciting, This made for a high stress pregnancy due to myself not wanting any form of intervention. My body was not prepared to carry a very large, 11 lb 2ft baby. Two days before my sons birth I ended up deciding to elect a cesarean due to his size and that a vaginal birth could lead to many complications with myself and my son.
To this day I still am struggling with that decision. I will always wonder if I could have safely delivered him. I struggled more with my actual birth outcome this time around and less with the adding a new person to our family. As far as my postpartum journey with my son it has been so healing for me. His calm really heals the wounds of his birth. When I take a look back at where I was 8 years ago with my first pregnancy that girl seems unrecognizable now. I'm in such a different stable place in my life. I'm proud that I have come full circle.
What is your truth?
Time is so fleeting, as cliche as it sounds. I wish with my first someone would have told me to slow down and really take in all the moments little or big. even the taxing ones. To really live in your life and be present not only for your children but for yourself.
Why did you choose to participate in this movement and share your story?
I started following this project a few years ago. I thought it was amazing to see different people from all stages and walks of life bearing it all for the sake of motherhood. I feel honored that I can share my story and be part of something so important.”