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Claire

June 24, 2009

Age: 27
First Pregnancy

Before I developed chronic pain I didn’t struggle much with body image issues. I was surrounded by strong friends who were super body-positive. I was also very athletic and that fostered a lot of love and trust between me and my body.

I developed chronic pain 2 1/2 years ago after being hit by a car on my bicycle. Having chronic pain has limited my ability to be athletic to very very gentle movement, and for this and other reasons my body changed a LOT. I lost most of my muscle mass and that wonderful feeling of adrenaline you get when your heart gets going. Even if my body hadn’t changed physically I would have developed body image issues; having chronic pain can cause one to feel that their body has betrayed them. Just being in pain all the time caused me to develop a lot of anger and grief towards my body. Further, I wanted to get pregnant and couldn’t. It took a lot of work and self-care to get off the pain meds and feel strong enough to try.

When I WAS able to get pregnant with my partner I felt like I would never have body image issues again! I felt that if I could make a baby with this body then I would only feel love and gratitude towards it. For the most part, that is what I have felt! But I’ve also learned that it’s just normal to have these ambivalent feelings arise during pregnancy. Most recently, now that I am 37 weeks pregnancy, I’ve developed stretch marks that I’m really struggling with. I have good days and bad days… days I feel acceptance and happiness about the changes in my body and days when I feel ugly and upset and unhappy. It’s awesome to see the diversity of bodies and stories on this website. The more I am able to see images like these and hear these stories the more validated I feel. I see how lovely everyone is and I can turn that feeling on myself.

Thanks for reading my story! These pictures are all of my at present, 37 weeks along.

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6 Responses to “Claire”

  1. Mary Says:
    June 24th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    You have the cutest round belly! Dont worry the stretch marks fade alot, and good for you to strive through your health issues to have a baby! Best of luck to you, and congrats!

  2. kerry Says:
    June 24th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    You have such a beautiful belly! I got chubby ALL over when I was pregnant! I totally understand what you are going through with the apprehension of what your body will be like! I was JUST like you! Currently I am 11 weeks pp and believe me, when you say you will love your body because of what it has been able to do, its true! I look at my soft stretch marked tummy with aw, pet it and fondly remember when my son was still in there. God has given us an amazing gift! The ability to carry life, and in my opinion no matter WHAT anyone looks like after giving birth they should be revered! Good luck with everything and update us when your little one arrives! I posted when I was pregnant too! and also followed up PP… http://www.theshapeofamother.com/blog/no-longer-ashamed-kerry/

  3. mrs. petunia Says:
    June 24th, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Wow! My first thought on seeing your pictures was how STRONG you look. It’s interesting that you have to endure chronic pain and limited physical activity and yet you somehow project this image of a powerful woman. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Colleen Says:
    June 24th, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    You have the cutest belly ever! It’s very high and round and wonderfully pregnant! I’m 32 weeks and have a very small belly, so I’m very jealous of your fantastic pregnant figure!

  5. chelsea Says:
    June 28th, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I too had chronic pain issues in the years leading up to getting pregnant. I too felt like you, I wanted control over my body, wanted to stop fighting it, wanted to work with it instead of against it. I had a really hard pregnancy- physically and emotionally, my body failed me by getting sick and not going into labor, failed me by having to get a c-section. I felt redeemed by breastfeeding my child. It took a lot of work from hospital staff and then a lactation consultant in the weeks after I left the hospital- but wow- breastfeeding make me feel strong. Pregnancy happened to my body (though by choice) and sometimes made me feel like I was being swept away and had no control over what was happening. While breastfeeding, maybe especially because it was so difficult for me, I felt redeemed. I felt like me and my body worked together and every pound my baby gained I knew came from my strength. Good luck to you. I find myself, 4 years postpartum, to be the happiest and in the best shape of my life. I wish you a wonderful and safe labor and strength in your journey to motherhood. Hold on!

  6. Mike Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    You have well shaped legs and pefect breasts. I hope you find ways that help with the pain of getting hit years ago on your bike.

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