~Age:22, Pregnancies: 1 (this is my first)
I’m not sure I’ve ever totally been comfortable with my body. I’m 5’1″, and am nearing 195lbs right now. I’m also 37 weeks and 3 days into my pregnancy. Before I got pregnant, I wasn’t the thinnest of girls, weighing in at around 145lbs. This is still heavier than I would have liked. I grew up as a very thin girl, and I was generally around 105lbs at most all through high school, but even then I was uncomfortable with my skin. It started with the stretchmarks on my breasts when I was 13. I’m extremely fair skinned, so when they showed up, (and even now..) they were very dark red/purple. Then it was the constant comments from my own mother about how I was “too pale” and needed to “get out in the sun more.” I also had the unfortunate nickname of “shark bait” for a while because my mother felt my thighs were unnaturally pale.
After high school I began to gain a little weight. A couple pounds here, a few there.. I still managed to stay under 120 for a while. My mother, who had been overweight for most of my childhood life, had lost almost 80lbs by this point, and dropped another 25 or so after her hysterectomy a while later. This new weight loss caused a lot of teasing coming my way. It was always meant as teasing, and I knew that, but you can’t help but to take it a little personally when your own mother tells you that you need to “drop that gut” at least once a week. This just started an endless cycle, which resulted in my gaining more weight.
I struggled to keep myself at 130-135lb, and lost that battle. Weighing around 150lbs at the age of 21, I found out I was pregnant. I couldn’t have been happier. I’ve always wanted to be a mom. It was sudden and unexpected, but my boyfriend and I are happy about this. At least, I was happy until the weight gain started. Every time I step on that scale at my OB’s office, I just want to cringe and run out of the office. And the bigger I got, the harder it’s been for me to feel comfortable in my own skin. I use lotion 1-2 times a day on my tummy, my legs, my breasts, my hips.. And, as you can see, I still developed deep, dark stretchmarks. Even when I was thin, I never judged someone based on their weight. I decided how I felt after I knew more about them as a person, but I feel like hiding away and never going into public ever again. I always feel like someone, anyone who sees me, is judging my size, despite the fact that I’m pregnant. When people take pictures of me, I can’t even stand to look at them. I even have mini meltdowns every single time I take a shower because I have to look at this strange, swollen form of what used to be my body. I’m at a point where I would be happy without a mirror in the entire house. I know weight gain during pregnancy is normal. As are stretchmarks. Somewhere along the way, I guess I started to feel that I’m alone in my struggle.
I know my body will never be the same after having children. It’s just a fact of life, and one I’ve gratefully accepted since my body being a little different is a small price for a beautiful, healthy child. I just wish I knew where to start in terms of accepting my body as it is right now. Discomfort is an understatement for me. I loathe seeing my own body in the mirror. And sometimes I’m afraid that feeling will never go away.