I had my first child, the day before I turned 15. I didn’t have my mom around, so had never known about stretch marks before. I still remember being 6 months pregnant, walking past the mirror on my way to the shower in the bathroom & seeing this great wide purple scar under my belly. I freaked out & cried. I had disliked my body before, but, THIS? It was just before my 17th birthday that I had my second child, a son. Up until then, my stretch marks were on the back of my calves and on my rear, but, my belly scars were at least under my waistline. However, my belly stretched out a great deal more with my son. The stretch marks were wider, and now up my sides & above my belly button, to where now, my whole stomach wrinkles in. It made me wish I hadn’t hated my body before, because I really had nothing to worry about. Even when I was younger, I was too modest to wear a bikini, now it’s simply not an option. I did wear one once & some guy shouted at me as I jumped into the water to “put a shirt on.” & so, I do.
My breast are a whole ‘nother matter. I had developed rather quickly at a young age. I was always small, but, my chest wasn’t. At 14, before I got pregnant, I was 98lbs, wearing a 34c. Yes, I had been sort of starving myself. Not consciously, I was just a very depressed child with no appetite. When I weighed in at the hospital before delivering my daughter, I weighed 183lbs. I breast-fed her until she was a year old, then, was pregnant again shortly after & breast-fed my son until he was a year old. I maintained a weight of around 135lbs, and was a 36c.
I was married to their father until our son was two. The relationship was surrounded by spousal abuse & constant fighting. While he professed his never-dying love of my body (which breeched obsession), he would make me feel incredibly insecure. Anytime a divorce was mentioned he would remind me that, at 19, I wasn’t exactly ideal. What guy would want damaged goods? He said that while he appreciated my body because he knew what it looked like before I had kids & that only a father could truly love a body like mine. I knew that he was only trying to make me believe it so that I wouldn’t leave him, but, I also knew that the truth hurts. One whole week after I left him, a literal weight had fallen off of me. I had lost 25lbs, & subsequently, 2 cup sizes & all plumpness.
That was almost 7 years ago. I am now 25, my son 8, my daughter 10. I’m relatively fit, never weighing more than 120lbs. I have trouble shoving myself into an A cup, so, I wear a B, though it’s irritating that I can hardly expose any cleavage because you can tell that they sag because it droops at the top. So, sometimes I do stuff my bra, not to make them bigger, but, to make them more plump at the top, reducing the sight of the stretch mark indentions. The marks have faded out some, but, not really. It’s not even so much the scars that I hate, it’s the wrinkles they make.
I’ve been with my boyfriend for 6 years now. He absolutely loves my body. He says my stretch marks look like tiger stripes. I think they look like a tiger mauled me! He says the symmetry helps. It’s unsettling to him, that, even after all of this time, I still try to cover myself up during sex. In fact, the first few times we did, I wouldn’t let him take my shirt off! My skin disgusts me, and can take me from being all hot & bothered to ugh. On top of my insecurities of losing him, & even though I’ve been proven wrong before, I worry that I’d never find anyone else to love my body as much as he does.
I even worry about my career. I’m going through Journalism school & the idea of being at the merciless scrutiny of the public terrifies me.
I’m so completely bitter about it. I’ve met many women that had children just as young as I did & they didn’t get a SINGLE scar & they have nice, ideal, breasts. I even project my own disgust onto them. Women who are flawless under their clothes gross me out. I think it takes on a whole personality disorder on its own.
I do like my figure to an extent. I’m not thrilled with this ridiculous muffin top that I’m always having to tuck into my waistband, but, I get so depressed about it, thinking about how young I am, & how I could have had this killer body, but, nooooooo, I couldn’t have also been blessed with great skin. By time I’m old enough that they fade, or I’m rich enough to have them removed, what would be the point?!
So, here are lots of current photos of me. 8.5 years after my last pregnancy. I notice EVERY imperfection. Not only are my breast small, deflated, and saggy, but, the larger one droops lower! I walk around tightening, sucking, tucking in my stomach, which just makes my back ache. I almost forgot to add a picture of the back of my legs — well, leg, rather. These are the only marks I’ve basically gotten over. I used to never wear shorts, but, now I wear some that at least cover the marks on the inside of my thighs.
I really appreciate this blog. It’s incredibly comforting knowing that I’m not really alone, that most mothers do face these postpartum woes. My two sisters-in-law share the same body-image insecurities as I do. I mentioned this site to them when I stumbled upon it looking for exactly this — pictures of women that look like me. By outing myself, I hope that I can encourage them to be brave too.
You may also choose to include:
~Your Age: 25
~Number of pregnancies and births: 2, 2
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 8, 10