I am the mama to two beautiful girls.
I never had a lot of confidence in my body until after I had my babies. Now I think my body rocks!
I suffered a stroke when I was born and have some muscle weakness along half my body. I was always treated by my family like there was something wrong with me. I am not a big person and was told not to gain weight because it would make my limp worse… basically it was a set up for a crappy self-image. I never was athletic and I was slow to mature. My teen years were filled with all the usual body anxiety, and then some.
But finally I grew some, got older, got married, and concieved easily. My pregnancies were problem free, essentially, except for the weight gain. I gained about 40 pounds with one pregnancy and 50 with my second daughter. My normal weight is about 110 so walking long distances, stairs, getting in the car, and carrying my firstborn became so difficult. I have good skin; the only stretch marks I have are very old silver ones on my hips and buttocks from a teenage growth spurt. Pregnancy did not deliver any more for me, thankfully. (I worried about them a lot.) My belly sags now, though, after my second pregnancy, and I havent sprung back like I did after my first. Its been nine months and I probably should start doing some exercises to help things along. Can skin even tighten up after it’s been stretched so far?
I had a good hospital birth, vaginal delivery with my first. With my second, I had a super fast labor and delivery at home (we planned the homebirth). Delivering my baby on my dining room floor, with my husband catching the baby, is a memory I feed on when I feel powerless. I am amazed at what my body can do. I enjoy being pregnant so much and miss having the babies inside. If I have another, I want to enjoy every single minute fully and hope to deliver at home again. Being pregnant and witnessing all that my body can do, and can do well, has given me much more faith in my physical body and deepened my faith in God as well.
The biggest physical change motherhood brought me is breasts! I have them now! My husband teases me that he liked them better beforewhen they were smaller. They have never been big and they arent big now, but they are bigger. They changed significantly during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. They grew. They shrunk when I lost all the pregnancy weight plus ten pounds. Then they grew again with my second pregnancy. I hope they dont get too saggy but I dont care too much. My body is changing and so is my outlook. My stomach, which flattened out after the first birth, is soft and the skin is crepey. Maybe it will tighten up; maybe not. I dont really care, because I know there is far more to life than vanity.
About the photos: I am 8 months pregnant in the belly pic–I got even bigger! In the breast pics, one was taken when my first daughter was 16 months old. The other was take two weeks after I delived baby number two. The other pic is me, nine months postpartum after the 2nd pregnancy.