Charlotte Belsan (37), Iris (5), and Malcolm (1)
Oak Park, Il
Charlotte shares -
"My first pregnancy was an early miscarriage. We had been trying for 14 months and we were elated and then devastated back to back. We were so grateful to conceive Iris six months later. Then we were shocked by Malcolm deciding to join us a few years later.
Mothering, breastfeeding, holding, and touching my kids has connected me to my body in a very primal way that transcends sex appeal or squeamishness or the desire to be attractive. Some of it is feeling my own power grow through raising my kids and some of it is shedding what isn’t essential just to survive the grind. I love my body for what it given me and how it’s been patched back together and keeps working.
Birthing and becoming a mother basically blew up my world and I have taken a few years to create a new existence and to feel human again. I remember being 39 weeks pregnant with Iris and just wanting it to “be over.” Now I laugh at myself because that was nothing. It was physical discomfort but I was about to be tested on new levels. My first birth included a failed epidural, a sunnyside up presentation, lots of pitocin just before transition, two hours of pushing, and an episiotomy. In retrospect I truly think I suffered PTSD from the birth. I had postpartum anxiety, which I didn’t know was a thing. They kept asking me about depression signs but I had heart racing and gasping for breath terror instead of sadness. I wish I had realized it at the time.
Now, I’m nearly two years out from my second and final birth. It was a much gentler birth and I switched practitioners to get the experience I needed. It was healing for me to have a good experience birthing Malcolm. I am still feeling the effects of his pregnancy. My hormones are out of whack and I bleed for two weeks at a time. I’m still breastfeeding many times a day. I know this is all a season of life. With my second child, I already knew what motherhood was and that I can survive any phase.
My truth is that when you become a mother, you don’t become a perfect one. You become you, with all your shortcomings and frustrations, as a mother and it will shock you. The whole world will tell you what to do, so make your world as small as it needs to be to protect you and your babies. I’ve created boundaries and boundaries for my boundaries and I’ve never regretted one.
When my daughter was a toddler, I wished I had the guts to do this. It’s very out of character for me. Now that my last baby is only just barely a baby, it’s now or never. I hope to pass this memory to my children so they can remember me as I was when they were young.