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A Work in Progress! (Anonymous)

July 16, 2009

I’m finally starting to love my body again. I guess I shouldn’t say I’m starting to love my body “again” because this really is the first time. My daughter (now three years old) was born when I was 19. Prior to getting pregnant, I was at the lowest weight I’d ever been, had relatively perky breasts and was pretty excited about buying clothes in a size 3 for the first time in my life. Yet I still wasn’t very confident, I didn’t LOVE myself. I noticed that other people loved my body, but enjoying the attention was not the same as truly loving my body.

I gained around 70 pounds while pregnant and it was such a huge shock to my already lacking self-esteem. All the fat and flab hanging off my body felt foreign. I felt trapped in myself. I was uncomfortable and at times, nearly claustrophobic. I was depressed about it, but I was so wrapped up in being the best mom I could be. I simply set aside looks and loving myself. I thought I’d never been thin again, and to put all possible energy into raising my child. That worked well until she got older and needed me less and less each day. She was growing more independent and all of a sudden I had (a little) time for a social life again, friends and going out, being young while I could. This really jolted me back into some old habits and feelings that I would have liked to leave in the past. I realized that I never really dealt with those issues, I just set them aside. So I basically had to start all over, but this time I had sagging breasts, deep red stretchmarks as far as the eye could see and rolls upon rolls of fat. In a way, I was worse off than before.

But, this entry wasn’t meant to be depressing. I merely wanted to add a little background into the story before saying I’m doing MUCH better. I’m starting to love myself more than ever before, inside and out. I’m eating and feeling healthy, not because I want to be skinny and attractive but because I want to take care of myself. I would like to get to a place one day where the number on the scale doesn’t matter, where I can feel beautiful no matter how I look or how much I weigh. I’m not completely there yet but there has been some definite progress made. I don’t loathe my stretchmarks anymore. (I can vividly remember a crying fit the day I discovered my very first stretchmark while pregnant.) In fact, I really like them. Looking at my belly pictures is not painful, but… relaxing. Hypnotic. Refreshing. The way they swirl around, almost pattern-like. They’re interesting, pretty and unique. I honestly do not care if they never go away (although my mother tells me they will fade even more than they already have).

I guess I go back and forth on my breasts. They used to be full, and were quite large considering my overall size so it used to be something everyone talked about. I was all boobs. Not it isn’t something people really notice anymore, they are much more modest in size. I am liking the new size. They aren’t uncomfortable, and they don’t get in the way anymore. I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish with their help (nursed for 2 1/2 years), but now that they are not technically in-use anymore, I wish they were nicer to look at. My husband seems to enjoy them. I don’t know exactly how I feel. What’s in between satisfied and disatisfied? Neutral, I suppose. On a positive note, there are things I do love about them. I love the way the skin on my breasts feel, they are very soft and light. They fit in a two piece swimsuit without killing my neck and shoulders (another first time for me). I love the shape and color of my nipples and areola. So there are a lot of positives. I guess they only thing I do not like is how saggy they are now.

Coming to a conclusion, I want to say that overall I am content with the way my body looks. It took me 22 years to get here, but I’m finally enjoying myself. One day, on an impulse, I said, “SCREW IT” and went out and bought a bikini for the first time since I was about 12 years old. I’m tired of hiding. This is what a normal woman’s body looks like, unaltered. No airbrushing, surgeries- heck, I don’t even really wear make up!- went into making this and I’m pretty proud of what I’ve got. (At the moment I am 118 pounds, 5′ tall and wear a size 6.) I only wish that more of my friends, whom are all gorgeous, strong women with their own beauty strengths, could feel this way about their own bodies. All I see is pain and I’m sympathetic because I was there. I wish I knew what to tell them, to take it all away. I don’t think there is much I can do, because for me, it was a journey I had to take all on my own. And I’m still a work in progress!

~Your Age: 22
~Number of pregnancies and births: 2 pregnancies, 1 birth
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 3 years

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12 Responses to “A Work in Progress! (Anonymous)”

  1. billboardz360 Says:
    July 16th, 2009 at 9:58 am

    congrats mom! continue to gain both courage and confidence. you are everything to that child and your husband is a lucky man. What kind of program(nutritionally or physically) are you currently on? What’s your plan? Please keep us posted. Would love to hear more from you. Feel free to contact me @ billboardz360@gmail.com. Thanks so much for sharin’.

  2. shannon Says:
    July 16th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    You look great! I wish I had your confidence…you should post a pic of you in the bikini!

  3. Nichole Says:
    July 16th, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I give you alot of credit. I wish I could be as strong as you. I think you’re an amazing woman!

  4. Bry Says:
    July 16th, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    I think you look really good! And you give me hope =) we are about the same height (I’m an inch shorter) and I too gained 70 lbs. I’m still stuck in the 150s but I know it takes time and one day I’ll be where I want to be weight wise. Our bodies are very similar, stretchmarks, breasts and all – looking at you pics is almost like looking at future pics of myself, lol. Great job and good for you for finally loving yourself!! Thank you for posting.

  5. Carolyn Says:
    July 17th, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Good for you for getting a bikini, I’ll be wearing one next summer but this summer I’m staying away because Mr. Linea Nigra still hasn’t left me. I think other women should see what a mother’s body looks like :)

  6. lisa Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Your story is such an inspiration! I gained 70lbs with my son, also, and I had him when I was 19! It makes me feel so bad to see all the people I know have kids and their bodies look great afterward, no stretch marks, hardly any weight gain.. but this is who I am, and I feel that as long as I’m healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle, then I should love my body – regardless of what size!

  7. Patty Says:
    July 22nd, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    you’re right, you do have beautiful nipples & areolae… that’s what every mother’s should look like ;) I hope mine look like that after its all said & done

  8. Kate Says:
    August 16th, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. I’m 15 months postpartum today and struggling with the fact that my daughter is now juuuuuust independent enough for me to sneak off for a bit. I’m trying not to fall back into old habits (chain smoking, caffeine for breakfast, drinks for dinner…) and it was very reassuring to hear I’m not alone.

    Also, I gained 65 pounds while pregnant and haven’t really lost much of it. And my breasts sag. I’m lovin’ your courage and your decision to rock a bikini, critics be damned! You have inspired me to care less about the naysayers and more about my self.

    Thank you.

  9. Rila Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Your breasts look great all the men and woman I linked your story to think your body is so naturaly perfect.

  10. Mike Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    My friend just showed me your story and we both think you are an amazing woman. Glad to see you could lose weight and we hope you will see how beautiful you truly are.

  11. Teeny Says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    You are my boob twin!

  12. felix Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    hey – you are on track … screw what negative thoughts arise — u look wonderful God has made you wonderful and that will never change — enjoy your body ,,, be confident — ur chilren need you to be ,,, CHEERS111

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