Brandi, 25, 2 pregnancies, 2 births, 3yo and 2mo
In 2005 I got married. It was a whirlwind romance and being 18 I was certain I was in love. He was kind, affectionate, everything you expect to find in your prince charming. We met in Febuary and were married in December. Less than 6 months later everything started going south. Before I knew it I was trapped in an abusive relationship. Every day was an onslaught of your ugly, your fat, your lazy, your stupid, and a neverending string of name calling. And when he would drink (3+ nights a week) it would get worse, turning physical on more than one occassion. I tried to leave but was brainwashed to think I couldn’t make it without him and that nobody else would want me. I was damaged goods. Four years later, when I did get the nerve to leave, weeks before I was going to skip town, I found out I was pregnant. The entire SIX months of pregnancy I was still under a gunfire of mental and verbal abuse. “Your lucky your pregnant or you would be going down the stairs”…not to mention the constant accuasions that the baby wasn’t his. During the pregnancy I got ONE stretchmark. On my tummy, to the right of my belly button. I cherished it. It was a constant reminder of my little one and the challenges we had to overcome. He was 12 weeks early, weighed 2lbs and was 15in long. 11 weeks in the NICU later he finaly came home. Best Christmas Eve of my life. My start weight was about 140 and at delivery I weighed 180. 6mo post partum and I still hadn’t lost the baby weight which was just fuel to the “fat lazy bitch” fire. 9mo pp an opportunity arose and I was finaly able to free myself (and our son) from his hold.
Just over a year ago, I met someone new. He is amazing. Good with my son, good to me, and all around good guy. And he doesn’t drink. At. All. 4mo into the relationship, I got pregnant. Wasn’t really an accident, but not planned either. I was terrified. After all the drama with my first being early, not losing the weight from him and topping it off with losing my job I didn’t know what would happen. But he has stuck thru. In September I gave birth 3 weeks early to a beautiful 9lb 2oz baby boy. I went from 180 to over 200lbs. My body has suffered horribly. I have stretchmarks on my breasts, my arms, my legs, and from belly button to butt crack on both sides. I feel horrible. I know it isn’t true but I can’t shake the thought that if I was unattractive (according to my ex) before, I can’t imagine how aweful I must look now. I’ve already lost the baby weight, but the skin is still there. My boyfriend tells me every day how beautiful I am, how he is still attracted to me, how smart I am…everything every woman wants to hear. But it just bounces off. I know it will never be the same as it was when I was 18 or even when I was 24. I’m slowly accepting my new body, and having a super supportive partner is helping. But is it a long process. I’m looking forward to the day when I can look at myself after a shower and say “I look good”