My first daughter came when I was only 20 years old. I was newly married, working part time, and going to college full time. I gained 57 lbs. And it showed. My ballet body expanded everywhere it could. My legs, my hips, my breasts, and my stomach. I could not understand how people made it through pregnancy with little to no stretch marking. I was covered in huge “rips”. My breasts had never been perky, and whatever anti-gravity they had was destroyed when I went from a 32B to a 34F. But I did I lose all of the weight within a year.
My son was born 2 years later and he passed away (due to a severe medical condition) when he was only 9 weeks old. I miss him every day. My skin stretched further, despite not gaining as much weight. I said they were “his marks”. I lost all by 10lbs, but within 3 months of his death, I was unexpectedly pregnant again.
My second daughter arrived just a month after my son’s first anniversary. I stretched even further with her, even though I didn’t gain as much as the first time around. But like my first pregnancy, I lost it all within a year.
When my second daughter was about 15 months I became pregnant again, but lost the baby before 8 weeks. I was scarred; half of my children had died.
In the midst of moving overseas and the stress of liquidating our household, I became pregnant after just one period cycle. We were shocked and scared. But I had the nausea, the exhaustion, and I thought all was well. I shared with the world that we were expecting again right around 13 weeks.
At 15 weeks I began bleeding and made a trip to the ER. It was there that the doctors discovered my baby had stopped growing 8 weeks previously. I waited almost a week from the first visit before I miscarried. I began bleeding heavily at our church’s Christmas Eve service. We raced home so that I could be at home to miscarry.
I have lost 3 of my 5 children. My husband doesn’t want any more children. I am broken. I don’t feel I am finished. But I am scared out of my mind to try again.
And in the midst of all this – I gained 15lbs in the 15 weeks I carried the baby – and after 6 months have not lost a single pound. I fit into nothing. I hate the way I look.
HOWEVER….. I know that my scars, my sagging skin, my large and sagging breasts, my muffin top, and my misshapen belly button are marks of my children. With and without me, my children left me marked. I am learning to love the body I have and appreciate what it has given me.
~Number of pregnancies and births: 5 pregnancies, 3 births, 2 living children.
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: Daughter1 – 5, Son – died at 9 weeks, would be 3 1/2, Daughter2 – 2, Miscarriage1 – August 2010, Miscarriage2 – December 2010. 5.5 months post partum.