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Obsessed with how I should have done better (Anonymous)

April 23, 2014

I fell in love and moved away with my military husband at 18. We had our 1st baby (a 10 lb-er) when I was 26- I was away from all of my family and friends and gained 70 lbs. I didn’t know anything about eating, stretch marks, etc. I thought it meant eating for 2 (or 3!) and just doing whatever I wanted. Then, the baby came and my body was covered with saggy, stretch marked skin. Then, 2 years later, the twins came. I took much better care of myself but still gained 45 lbs and carried them to 38 weeks (7.5 lbs & 6.5 lbs). What was saggy breasts and belly became saggy EVERYTHING (thighs, butt) and body acne. :( I struggled with post partum depression after both pregnancies (pretty severely) and a husband who was deploying regularly, dealing with his own extremely stressful life, and not knowing WHAT to do with his formerly beautiful wife. When the twins were 18 months old I had a “mommy makeover” even though I should have waited until I was done losing weight. (Background- I had a 3 inch muscle separation in my stomach, it hung past my crotch, and my boobs…oh my gosh my boobs) Now my twins are 5 and my oldest is 7 and even though I work out regularly & eat well I believe I still look terrible. I’m now obsessing over getting implants and scar revisions and laser skin treatments. I know how “Real Housewives” bull-crappy that sounds, but it’s how I feel. The crazy part is, when I look at all of the other women on this site, I truly believe they look beautiful and can’t believe how hard they are on themselves (except for the ones who look perfect, inexplicably :) ). I’m making great strides in all areas of my life but this one. I’m enjoying my children so much now and becoming more and more happy with life but my husband is obviously unhappy with my body. Thanks for reading- I know how self involved this sounds- I’m really trying to get over this and this is the 1st step- I’ve been thinking about submitting here for ages and can’t believe I actually took PHOTOS.

Age: 34 Pregnancies/births: 2/3 Children’s ages: 7,5, & 5

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Still Struggling (Anonymous)

April 21, 2014

This will be my 3rd submission and I’m sad to say things have not gotten better. I had my daughter in 2008 after a 50lb weight gain. The stretch marks do not bother me, I could care less if anyone sees them. It’s my stomach I hate. I was skinny when my husband and I got together. Since then I’ve gained 40 lbs. I feel like he doesn’t find me attractive anymore even though he tells me he does. He is a porn addict and will not accept it. He hides it from me, using private browsing when he watches. Uses the bathroom (BM) several times a day. A normal person does not poop 3-4 times a day. I guess he thinks I’m stupid, he tells me thats what he’s doing. I’ve given up trying to talk about it because he just shuts down or denies it. I just let it happen and let it eat away at me little by little. Every time I try to talk to someone about it, they turn it back on me and say it’s my fault. Every guy does it and it’s normal. This is not normal….. I go online and read blogs and other websites with other women dealing with the same thing and most of the time it helps me get by. We HAVE watched the porn together and we always do new crazy things, even thing I’m not necessarily thrilled about but I try them because he wants to. But I saw something on one the other day. The guy said he has to get off to porn because that’s the only way he’ll ever see an attractive woman naked because his wife isn’t anymore because she has put on weight since having their son. That hurt! We go through so much to have these babies and for a husband to say that about his wife who has given birth to their son just hurts my heart. It left me wondering, does my husband feel the same way? Is that why he watches it so much? He doesn’t initiate much anymore, especially recently. I’m 4 months pregnant with our second baby, a baby boy! I am terrified it’s going to make my body worse. I’m not eating properly. I haven’t gain any weight, I’ve in fact lost 10 lbs since my first doctors appt. I’m scared my husband finds me repulsive and to think he could be thinking what that guy said, tears me apart. He’d never tell me if he did, so I’m left to wonder……

Pictures are of me today at 4 months pregnant.

~Age: 26
~Number of pregnancies and births: 3 ( 1 miscarriage, one birth, currently pregnant)
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 5 years PP

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Beauty in a Mum Tum: Overcoming Fear (Jen)

April 17, 2014

Age: 29 years old
Current and pre-pregnancy weight: 138 lbs.
Total weight gained during pregnancy: 27 lbs.
Children: 1 child, 11 weeks old.

I had always feared pregnancy for two reasons: I would not be in control of my body and I might end up with dreaded stretch marks top to bottom. These fears seemed to froth up in every conversation with girlfriends about pregnancy. I would say how I already had numerous stretch marks from puberty, especially on my thighs.

Some friends shared my fears but most of them thought it was silly. I felt that no one understood how much my body would change and it eclipsed for me the joy of the journey I almost did not take. One of my friends, at 8 months pregnant herself, said: “Oh Jen, there is so much more to worry about.” But I didn’t get it. I spent hours reading stories on shapeofamother, watching videos and showing photos to my husband of women with striped and swirly bellies to instill in him my fears so that he might agree to not have children naturally. He shrugged. So what? He said.

After 7 months of praying about starting a family, we started trying to conceive. In the second month, we were pregnant. I could not believe it! I was deliriously happy – scared – but happy. There was no going back so I promptly ordered the best stretch mark creams and oils money could buy.

I applied four types of stretch mark creams and oils twice daily – sometimes, three times a day! I was going to do everything I could to keep my body in my own control.

At 22 weeks my baby stopped moving. By the afternoon and through hysterical tears, I asked my husband to drive me to emergency obstetrics. I was praying that my baby was fine. When the doctor confirmed he was healthy, just turned with his back to my belly, I realized that my friend was right: there were so many more important things to worry about. The safety of my child trumped my small and superficial thinking. I knew then that I was not in control; I had to trust God. Did I really believe Psalm 139′s pledge that He knows us intimately, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made? Did I trust God with my body and with my baby? I had been reading this psalm to my child everyday and now it was my turn to be tested.

When at 33 weeks I got my first stretch mark on my lower belly, I was a little bummed but I kept on applying my creams and oils in earnest. I was too busy feeling my little baby kicking and wiggling. I tried to focus on finding joy in every part of the pregnancy, seeing it as special and sacred. When I went into labor at 39 weeks 5 days, my lower belly was striped, my hips donned their own purple lines and around my popped belly button was a swirl of stretch marks.

That’s ok with me.

Those stretch marks, though they have shrunk and faded already at 11 weeks postpartum, mean something special: they show that there was a baby that once grew in my belly.

They say I am a mother.

Because of this, they are beautiful.

Because of this, I am beautiful.

Photo 1: 3 months pregnant
Photo 2: 7 months pregnant
Photo 3: 5 hours postpartum
Photo 4: 11 weeks postpartum

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