Number of children: 2
Daughter: 5 1/2 and my son is 21 months
Previous post here.
I posted my first entry 3 1/2 years ago after I discovered this amazing site. Reading it again now, I realize how different my views have changed about pregnancy, childbirth, and what it means to be beautiful as a woman.
When I wrote my first post I was a 21 year old mother of a daughter. I was incredibly insecure and vain (I’m still vain but no where near as insecure as I once was.) I obsessed about my stretch marks and boobs and butt, and if I gained a pound my world was a catastrophe. I felt that women should always try to be beautiful and wondered why we would have to get stretch marks and saggy skin when we had children. I moved to Texas a couple months after I posted it and got pregnant with my son the next year in 2011. I was terrified my entire pregnancy that my breasts (and breast augmentation) were going to be ruined and that my stomach would explode into a mass of stretch marks. I gained 27lbs during pregnancy weighing in at about 142lbs at delivery (I’m 5’2). I lost all my baby weight thanks to breastfeeding and stress within the next three months and was down to 111lbs in no time. However I still thought I looked bad, I thought my arms were chunky and that my stomach looked like an a deflated balloon.
Then something horrible and amazing happened. My husband and me went through a extremely rough patch and I took a couple of classes on feminism. It completely blew my mind. I had always considered myself a feminist but getting in depth into the history of feminism in the United States and learning how women are systemically taught to hate everything natural about ourselves really got to me. When my husband and I were at the brink of almost falling apart it also dawned on me that no matter how much I obsessed about my appearance and how beautiful a woman makes herself it doesn’t really matter. Beauty doesn’t come from the outside and when its cheap and vain it isn’t true. I was faced with new ideas about what being a women really means, and what being a mother means. It is hard being a feminist and a mother in our society. We are faced with cultural expectations of sexuality and modesty, being a mother and being a woman. I started looking at my body in a completely different way and I started thinking about WHY we women put these unrealistic standards on ourselves? Men don’t care about a little cellulite and stretch marks and if they do they aren’t worth it anyways. Only WOMEN care! Why do we torture ourselves if no one else but ourselves are judging us? Our society allows men to pick apart women like meat and we are taught to expect it. Have you noticed that we will sit around and dissect female celebrities by bits and pieces but never have I heard a woman say: “Oh I like Channing Tatum’s arms but he has a weird stomach.”
Men are afforded this luxury while women feel we have to apologize for so called “flaws” like stretch marks, softer breasts and love handles. I am an aspiring photographer and every single beautiful girl I have taken pictures of complains about something on her body. It goes to show you that no matter how perfect we think another woman is, she still feels flawed. That is what we are taught, and the only way to fight back is to not accept it.
Although I still feel self conscious from time to time I have decided to own my own feelings about my body. I don’t allow anyone else to tell me how to judge myself. Its a struggle but I accept it more and more everyday. My husband tells me he thinks I’m beautiful and I believe him. My stomach and boobs have stretch marks and I care less and less everyday. Now I wear bikinis to the beach and guess what? It feels great.