Anna Whistler (35) and Eliana (2)
Dallas, Texas | Denver, CO
Anna shares -
“Being a mother has made me love my body. I’ve had anxiety and a poor body image since I was in college. I had hypothalamic amenorrhea for years because I exercised too much and restricted what I ate. I had never let my body get above a certain weight, so I was scared of being pregnant because I didn’t know how my body would change. In order to get my period back, I had to stop exercising and eat more. This took about 4 months and was not as scary and anxiety inducing as I expected.
For the first time in my life, I was relaxed about my routine and food. I am so glad that I went through that before becoming a mother, because it has helped me to not get as stressed out about the day to day things. I loved being pregnant. It was amazing to watch my body change and grow life.
Breastfeeding was very natural and easy for me and I was able to breastfeed my daughter for 21 months. That time and connection was so special and it was incredible to me that my body was feeding my daughter and helping her grow. I now view my body with a sense of awe. I’ve run 12 half marathons and one full marathon, but never thought of my body as strong until having a baby.
I was hoping to have a drug free birth and had been doing Hypnobabies to prepare myself. At our 36 week appointment, we found out our daughter was breech and I had low amniotic fluid. We had to walk across the street to the hospital and be admitted for a cesarean. This was definitely not a scenario I ever imagined! Despite having an unplanned cesarean, I was not nervous and just excited for my daughter to be born. My favorite memory from her birth is when my doctor lifted her out of me and all the nurses shouted “Happy birthday, baby!”
Eliana means ‘God has answered’ in Hebrew and we felt that was very appropriate. My recovery was tough - my husband had to help me put on my pants for a few weeks, I got a chair to sit in to take showers and I couldn’t roll over in bed. When Eliana was 7 weeks old she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and had to wear a harness for 12 weeks. Just when we felt like we were getting the hang of things, we had to change almost everything we were doing. During this is the only time I felt anything resembling PPD. I could no longer snuggle my daughter the same way, had to go to weekly doctor and ultrasound appointments, could only give her baths when we were at the doctor and hardly left the house. Eliana is very lucky and her hip dysplasia was mild and we saw great improvements from the beginning.
I love seeing the pictures of strong, beautiful, real women everyday and reading about their experiences. It makes me feel confident to see others share their truths. I wanted to participate to experience it with my daughter because I want her to be strong and confident and I need to model that everyday.
Be kind to yourself. We’re all doing the best we can.”