A Mother’s Body | Stephanie’s Story

The “A Mother’s Body” project is a photography project aiming to normalize, highlight and celebrate mothers’ bodies of all sizes, shapes and stages of motherhood.

     Welcome to Year 3!

I used to spend a lot of time focused on eating clean and keeping active. I did whatever I could to fit into my favorite pair of jeans, but as life got busier and more stressful, I would slip up, gain weight, and feel shame for not being strong enough to resist or determined enough to work it off. Finally, I successfully lost 20 lbs, but within 2 years, put it all back on and then some.

When we found out I was pregnant, on the outside I was excited, but inside I dreaded putting on the weight. I was really afraid of never being able to lose it. I spent 9 months tracking it and making sure I gained just the correct amount. When I would fall outside the recommended limits, again I felt shame but would try to forgive myself. I had to be reminded that I was growing another human being, that this was allowed, and I promised myself that when she was born I would try harder.

Ellie had a rough start in life and needed to spend her first week in the NICU. We were terrified for our daughter’s health. When we were finally able to take her home, life was beyond stressful. We barely even thought about eating. When we did, it was purely out of necessity and usually wasn’t what you’d consider to be healthy. And there definitely wasn’t any time for rest or exercise. Ellie’s needs came first.

I now spend most of my days cuddling, feeding and caring for my beautiful baby girl. Fitting into those jeans is no longer a priority. Ellie is my reason for getting fit and staying healthy. I am so excited to watch her grow up, and want to have the energy to keep up with her. She will have a mother who is strong and confident and not care about a few extra pounds or a couple stretch marks. Ellie is the reason I have them, so I will wear them with pride.

Thank you Stephanie (and Elizabeth) for sharing your story!

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