-37 years old, two pregnancies, children 5 and 7, divorced last year
-also a postpartum doula and freelance writer who spends most of her professional life writing about motherhood and encouraging new moms to be strong, proud, and confident, in both their instincts and their physical changes
My children were my lifeline through what turned out to be a hearbreaking, unhealthy marriage. Without the incredible experiences of natural childbirth, 5 years combined of breastfeeding, and motherhood, I may have seen earlier that my “love refill tank” was dusty and dry, but my children filled me up to such an abundant level, I kept on with my marriage–for hope and for them.
This photo was taking after the ground finally stopped shaking from the total life earthquake known as divorce. Amongst the rubble and the aftershocks, I found real, supportive, cellular love with the first boy I ever kissed…both of us transplanted in Minnesota, very far from our native homes. We left our work and our worries one weekend to go camping and river tubing with his sister–so juvenille, so fun. As he is not a biological parent and is not the one who gave me my pregnancy body, I did feel a little more self-conscious revealing my “extra skin” and dimples and stretch marks. Needlessly, so, as he loves me because he loves me…and LOVES the wonderful mother that I am.
As you can see, in the photo, I am laughing and having fun. I am clearly in good health and toned by exercise. This is actually the low end of my weight range, as I lost quite a bit through the divorce. Still, I look at this picture, and I feel imperfect. I feel frustrated with the belly which actually looks pretty good for my age and number of pregnancies. And that is RIDICULOUS. I am 37 and hopeful after heartbreak, lighthearted enough to stand on a tube in a moving river. I am a postpartum doula who truly knows the beauty of real arms, thighs, bellies, breasts, and hips. And yet, I do not love this picture. But I want to. Maybe sharing it will help.