I had my first child at 21 years of age. I was previously a teenager who had the constant belief that I was fat, and obsessed over my body daily. As my body grew with pregnancy (and fluid retention!) I became very despondent about my shape, worrying that I would be ‘fat’ and forever unattractive. I also came to the realisation that my pre-baby body was actually very thin and lovely. I had never had the confidence to wear a bikini before, and when pregnant, realised I could have worn one easily! So I mourned for the youthful body I didn’t appreciate, but in the back of my mind, I was sure that I would have that body back after the pregnancy. Don’t the magazines say that you do if you eat right an exercise?
Then, I got stretch marks right the way across my belly, from side to side, and an abdominal muscle separation that caused my belly button and the area surrounding it to have a caved-in appearance (post baby). After my daughter was born, I couldn’t undress in front of my husband anymore, with shame.
Then, (after I had gotten back to pre-pregnancy weight at around 1 year post-partum), I was disturbed by the amount of comments I gained from women who had never had children about my body. How I looked good ‘for someone who’d had a baby’, or how flat my tummy was (they didn’t see the boob-high support underwear I was wearing under my clothes!) etc, and I began to feel indignant about the pressure I then felt to suck my tummy in all the time, because I knew women were looking. Then I felt bad that I was perpetuating the image that women should appear ‘untouched’ by their pregnancy, and I wished for the confidence to ditch the support undies and feel comfortable in my saggy skin. I became indignant about the unrealistic image of what a woman ‘should’ be, post-baby. I have now become proud of my stretch marks, and can truthfully say that I love my body so much more now than I ever did when it was more youthful.
My age: 23
Number of pregnancies and births: 1, 1
demonstrating the stretch marks and squish-a-bility, 9 months later!