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Discomfort is an Understatement (Anonymous)

May 21, 2012

~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.

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4 Responses to “Discomfort is an Understatement (Anonymous)”

  1. amber H Says:
    May 21st, 2012 at 7:03 am

    baby girl your tummy looks way better than mine did when i was prego- my stretchies were way worse.. see me now 4 years pp – search blessed and tortured… im still a little uneasy about my tummy but it is sexy ;) and SO ARE YOU !

  2. V Says:
    May 21st, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Try to focus on what you like about yourself instead of what has changed or what you don’t like. As you say, your body has changed and will not look as it did before pregnancy no matter how dissatisfied you are. I’m happy about my bigger breasts after pregnancy and my daughter really likes my new and improved soft tummy! :)

  3. Stephanie Says:
    May 21st, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I am 5’1″ as well and looking at your picture I would NEVER have guessed we were the same height. You really look amazing…and I mean that in a GOOD way. I am so sorry your mother started a trail of rejection in you. Our parents are supposed to nurture us and be our safe place in this crazy world. Yours did not do that. However truth is still truth. You are beautiful and you are exactly what this child needs. I hated being pregnant and I felt horrible about how I looked. It is HARD being so short in the first place because every pound counts, and then you add pregnancy to it and we don’t have a chance. BUT your body was designed to be a safe haven for your little bumpkin, and I’m praying your world will be a safe haven for that child as they grow and that they will always have a place to come home to that is accepting, loving, and encouraging.

  4. KMG Says:
    May 21st, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    You are definitely not alone. I, too, felt a lot of judgement from my mother about my image growing up. She tanned very easily, and I have always been pale, pale, pale. I am 5’3″ and gained 80 pounds when I got pregnant. I gained about 8,000 stretchmarks, expanding on what I already got through puberty. Unfortunately, some of us aren’t born with the tan skin that stretches and snaps back. I felt SO awful about how my body was changing during pregnancy and thought that I’d struggle with it for the rest of my life. Surprisingly, it bothers me a lot less than I thought it would. I have my days when it’s difficult (like when strangers ask me when I’m due…and I’m 20 months pp), but mostly, I think I was too hard on myself during pregnancy. I would panic at the development of each new stretchmark, but now it truly doesn’t even cross my mind most days. I just feel good that I’m healthy in so many ways and that my son is healthy. I’ve lost 50 lbs, so I’m down to 150. The rest will come off in time, but I’m focusing on the fun in life and all that my son has to teach me. I have never felt joy like I do being a mommy. You are getting ready to experience the best feeling of your life. I love it! Even after all of the doubts my mother put into my head about being a mom, it has turned out to be the thing that has given me incredible confidence. Best wishes to you, your beautiful developing baby, and YOUR beautiful body!

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