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Daily Struggle (Katie)

January 25, 2010

~Age: 25
~Number of pregnancies and births: 1
~The age of your child: 4 yrs

I have wanted to contribute here for a while but didn’t know if I could contain all my thoughts on my body image/pregnancy to a few paragraphs. Always needing to do things either perfectly or not at all I have avoided it, but I need to get these thoughts out for myself as well as others who can relate.

I have always had a poor relationship with my body and appearance. I was overweight as a child through the age of 13 when I lost around 50 lbs on my own. At thirteen seeing the difference between how you are treated at 170 lbs and 120 lbs is a difficult thing to handle. Although I lost weight I was still unhappy with my body because I had stretch marks and a little lower belly pooch. I never developed much in the way of boobs. I did not wear bikinis EVER.

Fast forward to college years and a history of eating disordered behavior and bad choices with guys. The beginning of my junior year I finally met a “nice” guy who respected me. We were together for about 8 months when I found out I was 5 months pregnant (I have PCOS and was told I would probably need help getting pregnant, not so!) I am so so so blessed that this happened with the most amazing guy and love of my life. We are still together, engaged and soon to be married!

My pregnancy was easy, although I did gain 50 lbs going from 120 to 170. I did not get to many new stretch marks except for on my boobs. Most of the “flaws” garnered from pregnancy were ones I had pre-pregnancy (stretch marks, tummy pooch, loose skin) My son Nolan was born on October 9, 2005. My labor and delivery only took about an hour and I know I am very lucky with that!

Now to get to my current state of self acceptance or self hatred rather: I am currently 4 years postpartum. I lost the weight within a few months and have stayed between 115-125 @ 5’4″ for the past 4 years. I know many people would consider me lucky and some may think I am crazy for not being happy with myself. With that said, I am at constant unrelenting odds with myself to accept and be happy with my appearance.

There are times that I am happy with how I look but it never lasts, I will see a bad picture or obsess over my small boobs and extra skin. I did workout a lot over this past year and will admit I probably look the best I ever have but the problem is that it is never good enough there is ALWAYS ALWAYS something that needs to be fixed. I did finally gain the courage this year to wear a bikini though.

Some people may look at my pictures and feel bad or possibly some jealousy (I only say this because I have had these feelings) My point is that I do not intend that AT ALL and if you knew the constant struggle and inner turmoil I have everyday you would not have an ounce of jealousy. I am extremely jealous of all the women who have found self acceptance and I would take extra stretch marks and softness if I could be at peace with myself.

I think all the women on this site are beautiful and fine the way they are but somehow I cannot convince myself of the same thing. My main point of this all is to say that it does not matter what you look like only that you are happy with yourself. In this society all women are made to feel like they are not good enough and nobody wins in this situation. Everyday I have this constant struggle with myself when I should be worrying about MUCH more important things. Appearance is trivial and yet somehow I cannot get past it.

The pictures I included are ones I took recently in an attempt to find confidence in myself. I am one to always avoid cameras and I do not have many pictures of myself. I know these pics are taken in a flattering light, that is my baby steps lol. Also included some pics of my beautiful boys who give me strength each day. I don’t know if I conveyed all the things I wanted to in this post but I made an attempt and that is a step in the right direction for me!

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23 Responses to “Daily Struggle (Katie)”

  1. shannon Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 8:35 am

    I am sorry that you hate your body. You definitely need to seek some help…you have the body of a model! I WISH I looked like that. I am only 23, I have had 2 cesareans…I have stretch makes covering everything, loose skin, and an overhang…I also have always hated my body (even though I was tiny and had a perfect body before kids) so I know how you feel in that aspect. I assure you that you look amazing!!!! I have 3 posts on here…read my stories and look at my pictures, they will make you feel better. My first post is under child loss “missing my baby boy and expecting my 2nd”. Again, you look amazing!

  2. Samantha Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Keep strong! You can overcome those negative feelings! You look healthy, fit, and allover fabulous! Congrats on your upcoming nuptials. Maybe you can turn your attention to your wedding; weddings are positive events that out-pour love. You may find the love for yourself in the planning. Good Luck and Congratulations again!

  3. kat Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 9:49 am

    HOLY CRAP!! You have a kid?? You look like a victoria’s secret model! I hope one day you can see yourself the way others see you. You are beautiful! Congrats on your beautiful son and your upcoming wedding, you are very lucky.

  4. Melissa Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 11:22 am

    My story is a lot like yours, except I’m 4 months postpartum and still have 20 lbs to go. But I totally understand growing up overweight and then suddenly losing it. Noticing how different people treat you when you are thin messes with your head. I also developed an eating disorder, something I struggle with every day.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that I will once again be thin. I will be blissfully happy if I ever look like you – your look AMAZING. It makes me sad to think that you aren’t happy with your body because you look perfect to me. But I know how easy it is to look at ourselves under a magnifying glass…but really, you are beautiful. Congrats on gaining the courage to post your pictures. It’s a big step!

  5. Brandi Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Dont feel guilty about the way you feel.. whether someone is struggling with 1o lbs or 100, its the emotional struggle moreso than the physical. Keep working on becoming happy with yourself.. it can take some time but when you get there its so freeing. I tried going to counselling and it made the biggest difference in my life. You have a very beautiful body and one day youll be able to see what others do :)

  6. maijken Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    You look absolutely amazing!!!! you really do! i wish i looked that good! you’re gorgeous!

  7. Lauren Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    You have an amazing body! What’s really awesome about your body is you look healthy and fit. Take care! :)

  8. Liz Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    You look amazing! I’m completely jealous! I used to think the same things about myself… have you considered the possibility of you (maybe) having body dysmorphic disorder? I’m certainly not a doctor, but you may want to talk to a doctor about this. Here’s a reference link from the mayo clinic about the disorder:

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/body-dysmorphic-disorder/DS00559

    I really hope you find self acceptance because you are absolutely gorgeous.

  9. Jane Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    wow!! You look amazing!! I would KILL to look like you! stretch marks?? Loose skin??? I dont think we see the same person! You look stunning! come see my stomach and loose skin and you wont feel so bad about yourself!

  10. Krystal Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    What are you complaining about!? You are beautiful!

  11. mrs. petunia Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I too think you may want to look into the subject of body dysmorphic disorder. Your perception of yourself would appear to be fairly distorted. I hope you can find some sort of peace.

  12. Amy Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I can really relate to how you feel- it’s just that constant agonising over one thing and then if that thing ever gets “fixed” it just gets replaced with something else!!! you are lovely, but that’s irrelevant- i hope you can find some peace soon.

  13. Laura Says:
    January 26th, 2010 at 9:35 am

    I think I kind of understand how you feel, Katie. People tell me I look great but I just don’t see it. All I see are lumps and bumps, stretch marks, extra skin, etc. I think we see ourselves very differently than others see us. You truly do look amazing and I hope you can get to where you see that for yourself.

  14. Elizabeth Says:
    January 26th, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Dear Katie, first let me say that you look georgous, and I see none of the imperfections that you referenced. The reason I am responding to your post is that it reaches out to me in so many ways. I am 24 yrs old and a mother of 4 children ages 1 month to 6 yrs. I weigh 118 lbs and have hardly any visible stretch marks but issues with slight cellulite, softness, and loose skin on my buttocks and stomach. Keep in mind this is one month after giving birth. If I posted pictures of myself I may get a similar reaction to what you have recieved. My self esteem and body image is at a critically low point and I am hardly able to speak so kindly of my body as I am right now. You see in my eyes every imperfection is magnified many times over and I compare myself to the airbrushed models on the cover of swimsuit magazines and feel like it is essential for me to look like them. my husband has been telling me I must have an eating disorder, and as it has caused some conflict in our relationship, I am considering speaking with a counselor about this issue. When you say you are jealous of the women who have found self acceptance and are at peace with themselves, I understand exactly how you feel! Afterall my husband has always told me… the sexiest thing (to him) about a woman, is self confidence. I know that he would love me just as much if I weighed 50 lbs heavier, as he tells me all the time. I just want you to know I am greatful for you sharing your story, because people need to realize how much of our self esteem has to with what’s going on inside instead of what our actual outward appearance is. I hope that I will learn from the women on here who are so much stronger than me because no matter how hard I try I will always be able to find the imperfections in myself, big or small, if that is what I am looking for. I want to be able to grow old gracefully, and with confidence, when I am 80 yrs old look at myself in the mirror (wrinkles sagging skin and all) and say “wow, what a beautiful person!”

  15. kat Says:
    January 26th, 2010 at 10:28 am

    you look fantastic! did you use any creams to prevent stretch marks? i want to know your secret :)

  16. Miranda Says:
    January 26th, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Wow, your story is almost an exact description of my own life! You aren’t alone that’s for sure. I had the same weight fluctuations as you, as a child and pregnant. People say I look amazing but I struggle everyday. When you’ve been an overweight child you can never get that voice out of your head that’s calling you fat or ugly.

  17. Katie Says:
    January 27th, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Thank you everyone for your kind responses! When I first saw that this was posted I had a feeling of anxiety, but i am glad to see that others can relate and take something from my story. I probably do have some form of body dysmorphic disorder, but I have good days and bad days. Some days I can see myself in a better light and other days I drain myself emotionally worrying about my body.

    One of the things that affects how I feel is the fact that during the summer I work as an ocean lifeguard. It is an amazing job but I am surrounded by young childless “perfect” bodies all day and my mostly male coworkers are not subtle about gawking and commenting.

    Shannon- I have read your story a few times and it makes me cry every time. You are truly an amazing woman!

    Elizabeth- What you wrote was beautiful and I some of the things I had wanted to say, but I did not know how to express. Thank You :)

    Kat- I did not use any creams, I think the stretch marks I have from when I was thirteen helped me avoid many new ones because my skin had room to stretch. My old ones are light but they are there, mostly on my sides. I did get new ones on my boobs also.

    In case anyone is interested I will leave another comment with the workouts/exercises I do.

  18. Katie Says:
    January 27th, 2010 at 7:43 am

    I was reluctant to add this because it is not really the point of my post but I have found some exercises that work well and do not take too much time.

    Last year I started doing planks for my stomach, I do not do any other ab exercise. It has made a huge difference for me. Even before kids my stomach was my trouble spot and now I think it actually looks better then pre pregnancy. Two sets of 1 min. planks is enough to see results, you can add more as you improve. I do them at night while watching TV on commercial breaks.

    Push-ups are great not only for your arms but your core also. I’ve always had trouble with push-ups, but I found the 100 push-up plan online (google it) and it has helped me increase the amount I can do (haven’t quite got to 100 but I have improved) I also do these at night with my planks.

    For cardio I run stairs for 15-30 mins- try to do once a week
    Sprint intervals or incline intervals 20-30 mins – when I can find time (all of this works the booty and legs good too)

    And I try to throw in all different variations of lunges whenever I feel like it. Ex. Jumping lunges when I am watching TV, Walking lunges when I am playing outside with my son.

    I throw in some other exercises sometimes but the above list is what I do consistently and what has worked best for me :)

  19. Ann Says:
    January 27th, 2010 at 8:36 am

    omg! you look amazing and as if you never had a child! I would die to have your body, not really but man you are so beautiful and congrats on the two best “boys” in your life your little one is a gorgeous little boy!

  20. Mariah Says:
    January 27th, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Coming from a woman who, at 27, had a beautiful body. Though at the time I found myself picking at tidbit and bit for every little flaw. Now I am 12 months PP, and miss that body EVERY DAY.

    Time is precious, and so are our bodies. Please seek some help in finding relief from the things that haunt you; it’s one of the worst things to look back and say to yourself “if only I had seen myself like this all those years ago”.

    We have 1 life. Love yourself while you have it.

    And remember that you are BEAUTIFUL. :)

  21. Sarah Says:
    January 27th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    I agree with everyone. You look like a flawless model. I hope you find peace! :) Congrats on your son!

  22. Eleia Says:
    February 18th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Um, you look a MILLION times better than I did pre-pregnancy, nevertheless post-pregnancy! I wish I looked even half as good as you, lol. You’re gorgeous.

  23. L Says:
    February 10th, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Your gorgeous!! I didn’t read all the responses but I do relate to hoe you are feeling. I struggle with my weight and body issues as well. It is hard because I have lost all pregnancy weight even lost 10 pounds more then my pp weight. But our bodies stretch and change in ways we don’t like. I struggle day to day also. Somedays im happy about myself and try to feel good and confident in my own skin. Other days I feel self conscious like it was my fault my failure of my body. We all struggle but I thought your post was encouraging as you try to embrace your new pp body. I know that even after weight loss it’d hard to see small body when you still feel big body. But you are a beautiful girl. .

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