I’ve been a larger girl since I was around 16-17 years old, after a knee injury that left me in an immobilizer for 6 months. Following that transformation of my body, I had a hard time regaining self esteem. Still, even though I was heavy, I still had a great body… beautiful, smooth skin, sexy thighs. I was comfortable with myself, even if I saw room for improvement. Following the birth of my daughter 5 years ago by Cesarean section, I was met with this entirely new wall of self-doubt and body image issues. Still, I was so proud of my body for sustaining her life and breastfeeding her, that I still allowed myself to see the light. When she was 20 months old, I found out I had ovarian cancer, and had to have one of my ovaries as well as massive amounts of tumors removed. It was during this time in my life that my husband asked me for a divorce. I successfully fought ovarian cancer on my own while raising our almost 2-year old daughter. I went back to college to get my degree, and my body was starting to look great. Then I got pregnant with my son. I didn’t gain much weight when I was pregnant with him, but I seemed to gain it while I was nursing him! :-O I found out about 10 months into his life that my cancer had returned and I was in for a helluva battle. Once again, I AM BETTER THAN CANCER. So, now I find myself.. 2 years postpartum, and I’m back to being disgusted with my body. I should be more dedicated to working out, but I’m just not. I beat myself up about it a lot, but keep telling myself that when it really matters, I’ll find the willpower.
However, I’ve just recently fallen in love. His name is Adam, and he’s incredible. And you know what? Despite my protests, he thinks I’m SEXY. Me! The girl with the scars and the lumps and the stretch marks and the low self esteem! He convinced me to take a picture of my stomach, which was a HUGE leap outside my comfort zone, and well — here it is. When I see women with magazine-ready bodies, I think –boy they must’ve worked hard to look that way. But you know what? I WORKED MY ASS OFF to look this way! I went through multiple pregnancies, a few births, and breastfed for almost 4 years combined. And every scar on my body is a reminder of something that helped make me the woman that I am today. The c-section scar along my bikini line? Two of the most gorgeous faces ever appeared to the world the first time because of that scar. The long vertical one that runs from my belly button to my pubic bone? That’s a daily reminder that when faced with cancer and life situations that sometimes made me just want to crawl under the covers and never come out, *I* WON! ME! JENN! IT WASN’T STRONGER THAN ME!
It’s been a long process, but I’m starting to believe him.
~Your Age: 28
~Number of pregnancies and births: 7 Pregnancies, 2 Live Births
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 2 years postpartum