Aricca Green has struggled with body image and weight for years. Her entire family identifies as geeks and dresses up at conventions, but until recently she'd never had the courage to throw on a Lycra costume and join in. She loves the comic book character Mera, a fierce mother and queen. "My body isn't perfect, but I didn't care," she says. Two years after making the costume, she finally wore it to a convention with her family. Green's dear friend Kristina Childs suggested taking a portrait. The photo represents positivity, courage and a journey that has taken Green from the depths of depression to a healthy, happy life. "One day I'm certain that people will be able to wear what makes them feel good or breastfeed their children however they like and no one will have the overwhelming urge to be a jerk to them," she says.
Her confidence was a long time coming, and hard-won through years of battling depression.
Years ago, Green and her husband were known for partying, and no one expected them to have kids. When Green got pregnant with her first son, Vincent, even their doctor was surprised. But they'd planned it, and did everything the baby books recommended to prepare for his arrival.
Green had planned on nursing Vincent for two years, but at eight months postpartum, she was diagnosed with postpartum depression. She checked into a psychiatric ward to get help. "It was very traumatic for me, only because obviously I couldn't have my son with me," she says. "I had to stop breastfeeding, and while he switched over to formula like a champ I felt so sad." For the next few years of her life, Green struggled heavily with depression. "It was dark days, and I can't think about them without crying and feeling like a very bad mother, but I try to focus on the positive."
A year and a half later, Green tried to attack her depression head on. She points out you can't just snap out of depression, but that she found ways that worked for her, including running and taking fitness classes. "Although I ended up kicking depression's ass, there are some days in my life still where I just want to lie in bed. Fortunately I have trained myself to only allow myself to wallow in the pits for a little while and I'm able to force myself up out of it."
As a young mom with tattoos and wild hair colors, Green had struggled to connect with local parents. When she got pregnant with her daughter, Edison, she found a community. No longer feeling isolated made a tremendous difference in her life. When she struggled to breastfeed Edison, her friends — and even her dad — rallied with support and cheerleading. "Mothers shouldn't be left alone to do it all, they need help, they need company, they need reassurance that no matter the way they choose to raise their child — as long as their motives are with love — then it's the best way for them."
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