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Katherina

August 6, 2010

My name is Katherina and I am a mother of three beautiful children, ages 7, 4 and 3. All my births were natural and I breast-fed all three of my babies. Like most women, I intended to gain the recommended 25- 30 pounds with each pregnancy, but I ended up gaining 50+ pounds each time. I ate nutritious food – fruits, veggies, etc. – I just ate a lot because I was hungry ALL THE TIME, even in the middle of the night.

I received a lot of veiled hurtful remarks about my weight gain, like: “you were so thin before, I just assumed you would be a thin pregnant person”, “wow, your baby is going to be gigantic” and “you don’t really need to eat for two”. Some people made comments that were outright hurtful, including my husband. It left me wondering, when did my weight become everyone else’s business?

The photos below show what my body looks like now that my youngest (and last) child is almost three. I gradually lost the extra sixty pounds I had gained and I’ve taken up yoga. As for my last pic, I took it to disprove the myth that a natural delivery ruins your vagina. I know that c-sections are a blessing to those who truly need them, but so many women who don’t need one are ‘electing’ to have one anyhow. Hopefully my photo will take away some of the fear associated with natural birth.

Motherhood has brought so much joy into my life and I hope that all the pregnant women and mothers who read this will realize how beautiful and special they are. Insist on celebrating yourself in all of your phases – you’re worth it! : )

080510-katherina-1

080510-katherina-2

Third picture can be viewed here. It’s more personal than most photos on this site, so I am not posting it within the entry itself. :)

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40 Responses to “Katherina”

  1. Mina Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 9:18 am

    You are lovely. Thanks for this post.

  2. tan Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    you are so beautiful :) i am not afraid to have another baby anymore i know that sounds harsh but i think most of us worry about our bodys but yours is amazing after 3!

  3. Lainie Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I cannot salute you enough for your bravery!!! Your post literally moved me to tears – good for you for being proud of yourself and your accomplishments.
    We need more women like you who are willing to let others know the difference between fear and the truth, especially about vaginal births.
    Some may say you can’t understand what it feels like to still be heavy or be marked, but people’s judgements are relative. Those who were thin before can be judged the harshest for changing. Stay proud and stay beautiful!

  4. Lauren Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    You look so amazing!

  5. Jess Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Your body is about ten times more beautiful than mine before pregnancy!

    And for me a vaginal birth did some heavy damage down below. It happened too fast and I had nearly 100 stitches. I’m not sure I could EVER share a picture of it, but at the same time, i wouldn’t say it’s ruined.

    Everyone is different I guess.

    Your entry gives me hope that in a few years (if it takes that long, it takes that long) I’ll be a little bit more who I was

  6. Tiffany Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Congrats on your weight loss. You look amazing!!!

  7. Mary V Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    You look great, cute undies! Congratulations on your beautiful babies!

  8. nicole Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Hi

    YOU look awesome and beautiful. Great job on losing the baby weight. I am still working on the last 20 lbs. I don’t know why people elect to have a c-section. I had one due to a medical condition but I would of opted for vaginal birth (My first was a vaginal birth). The C-section has made me lose weight much slower. The scar is hideous and I could of done without one (I am grateful for a healthy baby) but if I had a choice I than I would opt for vaginal birth. Oh healing was aweful…where with my first I took up kickboxing right away at 5 weeks where I didn’t wo until wk 10 with a c-section.

    Anyhow…congrats on your kids and you look good. I hope to look just as good after I lose the rest of the babyweight.

  9. Sarah Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    There’s nothing for people to make veiled remarks about now. You are beautiful. And cute panties! :)

  10. Liz Lich Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    You look beautiful. People just feel as though they can stick their noses in things that aren’t their business. Seriously? I love your ruffled underwear by the way. :) You’re awesome! Thanks for the post.

  11. Georgia Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    You look fantastic for gaining 50+ pounds. Like you never stretched out.

  12. Rachel Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    You have a lovely body and it doesn’t even look like you had kids! I have to ask though, why the picture covering your breasts but then so proud to display your vagina in that manner? That’s strange to me.

    To each their own, you look great!

  13. lilo Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    OMG, you look amazing. I wish I could look that good.. i am sooo glad i read this post… i had twins and gained about 60-70 lbs. trying to lose the extra 30 i still have on me.. getting there slowly but surley. CONGRATS

  14. Catherine S Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    You are so right about the vaginal birth part, for *most* people it doesn’t ruin their vagina. Actually, I am about 11 weeks post vbac and sex and orgasms feel better now than after my CS because I have no pain. Never mind the fact that the CS left a scar on my abdomen with a small ledge above it, and that probably isn’t gonna go away. My vaginal birth didn’t really change my body at all.

    You look great and I would totally love to have your perky tatas: I think vaginal birth and vbac are the best options out there for MOST women despite the 33 percent CS rate in this country… shameful.

  15. Melissa Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I am 4 months PP with my first and your body is inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Amy Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    you look amazing and have made me feel better about my preg weight gain. i only have one child but gained 45 pounds (i’m naturally thin too) and constantly beat myself up over it (even though i have now lost all the weight plus more!) i ate healthily too and had water retention at the end. after i had my baby i lost 36 pounds by the third day and people seemed happy that i could now ‘prove’ that it really was just water, like if it had been fat they would have been tut-tutting! anyway, you’ve made me feel better and you look great!!

  17. holly Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    You gained 50+ pounds with each pregnancy and look like that? Wow.

  18. brianna Says:
    August 7th, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Having kids the natural way doesnt ruin your vagina, my husband always tells me im more tighter than before, it is a myth for sure! sex after kids is more intense for me, and yes it does feel tighter down there. My best friend has a c section and i had natural child birth, i woudl IMO rather have natural, for me having a scar woudlnt be something i want (i said my opinion please dont get defensive) but i like having no scars on my stomach.

  19. Katherina Says:
    August 7th, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Hi all: it’s Katherina again. I want to thank you all for your wonderful and supportive comments. Sharing my experience has given my life so much meaning – I was very touched that someone wrote they weren’t afraid of having another baby anymore.
    I’d like to answer the question about my breasts. In the posted pic, I was lifting them up with one hand to better show my stomach (I’m a full C-cup). No, I’m not hiding them and I’m happy to send in a picture of them.
    Thank you all for reading and let’s continue to make this world a better place for our daughters : )

  20. ashley Says:
    August 7th, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    I know what you mean about being STARVING 24/7, it can’t be like that for everyone or everyone would gain 50-60 lbs lol, lucky us. I lost it all the 1st time around, hope this second time is as easy!

    You look great.

  21. bernice Says:
    August 7th, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    wow. i got huge while preggo and lost it all in 5 months but look NOTHING like you. you’re mark free and so smooth! congrats!

  22. Jen Says:
    August 8th, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    wonderful post…you look great!! just one thing i wanted to note, and it is NOT a cricism, just a comment…i think it’s important to note that while your message regarding natural births and vaginal recovery is very positive and strong, and empowering, that not everyone bounces back the same way. while it may not be accurate for most that vaginal tightness is lost after a natural birth, not everyone’s bounces back the same way, and obviously not everyone’s LOOKS the same (whether they’ve had kids or not). just like while one mom who has a csection may end up w/ a flat tummy after a couple of weeks and another mom has a larger pooch to deal w/ over a year later…while some get stretchmarks and others not even one…our bodies are unique and bounce back differently…

    but i really think it’s great you got to have natural births and breastfeed all your children, and are so open about your pregnancies and struggles. very inspirational!! thanks for sharing!! :)

  23. Nathalia Says:
    August 9th, 2010 at 8:22 am

    I’m visiting this site regularly because my boyfriend (31) is talking about moving on to the next stage of our lives – getting married, buying a house, starting a family. Since I’m younger than he is (21) I hadn’t considered having children this early in my life. I want children, but I intensely feared pregnancy and childbirth and figured that if I HAD to go through those things, I would bear my first children very late in my life, after my career was settled. However, my boyfriend said that he really wants to start his family in the next ten years, and it forced me to think about what my future will be like if I stay with him. His enthusiasm is contagious…

    Now I no longer fear pregnancy because I feel like the strength of the women on this site is already giving me strength. It has convinced me that pregnancy can be beautiful – not just in the “oh, inner beauty, natural process, granola” way, but also in the drop-dead-gorgeous way. Previously, the idea of pregnancy freaked me out and I was letting it stand in the way of my relationship. Now, I’m beginning to almost look forward to it. The thing is that I love MY body, I work out and eat healthy and hike, I love it being MY body and I love sharing it with my boyfriend… I love sex and the thought of sex being worse, forever, because I had naturally delivered my child seemed like PUNISHMENT for a process I was already worried about.

    Anyway, this whole long story is just me coming out to say THANK YOU for showing your vagina… my fears are that pregnancy and delivery will ruin the body that I love so much, and here you are showing that it has made you sexier and stronger.

    It was something I always feared and worried about but just accepted; I truly believed that I would lose the vagina that I love and with it a lot of my sexual identity.

    But there you are, fit and beautiful and brave… you just give me so much courage. Thank you.

  24. Kelly Says:
    August 9th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Well, you look great. Cute panties! I never respond to these things, but this topic on the vulva/vagina really touched a nerve. I had my kids late (late 30′s) and my vagina never returned to normal and it probably never will. I still enjoy sex and orgasms, but the tightness is just not there. My first was truly an emergency c/s, and my 2nd was a VBAC because it was so important to me. I don’t regret having a VBAC, but I so deeply wish it would have been natural (no meds). Because my contractions stopped at the hospital, they induced me and I had an epidural. I truly believe that because of my age AND because I was pushing unnaturally (going against what my body would normally do during labor) my vagina/vulva is permanently open and the walls are caved in instead of firm. I’ve done lots of kegals, which helped a lot the first month because I initially could not stop my urine flow. My Dr said that the only way is to surgically fix it. It’s not really a big issue, but I really miss the way it once was. So, yes, it’s possible that the vagina doesn’t bounce back. You are lucky that yours returned to normal. Maybe it’s genetics, age, meds or no meds, etc. I don’t know. I think the younger you are, the better off you are, as far as your body bouncing back.

  25. Carmania Says:
    August 9th, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    good post! i have two children and with both pregnancies gained 55 lbs doing just like you mentioned. i lost is all with the first and i 5 months pp with second, so still working on lossing some. also had babies naturally breastfeeding (plus working and being a grad student). women are missing out on the power that we can have by focusing on the wrong parts of pregnancy and childbirth–so thanks for sharing.

  26. Rachel Says:
    August 10th, 2010 at 3:55 am

    I didn’t realize people were so concerned about their vulvas. I also had two natural births and would be happy to contribute a similar picture, given the go ahead from Bonnie. I didn’t even consider it before.

    We will see if she thinks it’s a good idea.

  27. Liz Says:
    August 10th, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Your post made me get tears in my eyes! You are such an inspiration, thankyou!

  28. Bonnie (SOAM) Says:
    August 10th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I’m OK with it Rachel. :)

  29. Edward Says:
    August 10th, 2010 at 11:18 am

    I don’t know if you get a lot of posts from men, but I had to write in about this post. First of all, let me say I wasn’t on here to ‘peep’. I found this site because I was looking for something to help me understand my wife. I don’t know if our marriage is going to make it. We have two beautiful kids and she’s a great mother but she’s not happy with her body. And that means she’s not happy, period. No matter what I tell her, it doesn’t change how she sees herself. She had a c-section with our first, it was elective but the baby did progress some down the birth canal, and then she had to have a c-section with the second. Her breasts are larger, which she sees as fat, and she hates her scar. If we are ever intimate, first of all I have to beg, second of all she won’t take off her underpants because they cover her scar. Long story short, I tell her to forget about it and I watch tv. The funny thing is its just her attitude that stops us from loving each other because Im attracted to my wife.
    Anyway, I started crying when I saw this post. First off, this lady doesn’t blame herself or apologize for gaining weight. And then she just puts herself out there with her pictures so matter of fact, like here it is, so whats the big deal? I would do anything for my wife to have the same confidence. It would make me crazy. Just some thoughts from a guy and a husband.

  30. lilo Says:
    August 10th, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    @ edward. I would share this site with your wife and let her see that we are all beautiful. Maybe if she reads these stories she can relate somhow to how she feels and see that it really isn’t that bad. Sometimes we as women will judge our body so harsh and when we see it from a diff. prespective we see that we are being too harsh on ourselves

  31. bc Says:
    August 11th, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Okay, I have to say something. I really don’t get the vagina pic. Yes it’s lovely but what’s the point? I think most people are concerned with losing muscle tone inwardly or tearing which usually occurs tword the rectum. It’s like showing a picture of a houses exterior to prove the the flooring inside is really great. Anyway, yes, you’re lovely but vaginas and vulvas come in a vast variety of shapes, sizes and colors. At least half of all women have labia minora (the inner lips) that extend past ,even far past, their labia majora. Every one is different, and we are all beautiful!

  32. Melina's mama Says:
    August 11th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    DAMN you look amazing!!!

  33. Felina's mommy Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    It’s ridiculous how hot you are!!!! And you seem beautiful on the inside too. Thank you for sharing and being a role model. For all the people posting who are suprised women care about their downstairs area (I can’t figure out if we’re supposed to say vulva or vagina or labia, but you know what I’m talking about) after kids- of course we do! It’s the most important part. It’s how we express intimacy and love and it needs to look good too!
    So I’ve been meaning to write that this post helped bring this site to the next level. I want to look exactly like this woman after I’m done having kids.

  34. Liz's Mom Says:
    August 19th, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I love your pictures, you look amazing!! And the panties are adorable. But I have to agree with another poster about how the vagina comment hitting a nerve. Women are different, but to say vaginal births absolutely do not ruin the pre pregnancy shape of the vagina is a blanket statement.

    I gave birth vaginally and yes it did ruin my vagina. I gave birth in my early twenties so I had youth on my side but the tightness is not there and my labia is loose. I had to get an episiotomy and took many stitches to deliver vaginally. I couldn’t hold urine in after delivery, and even now three years post partum it has gotten better but I still don’t have 100% control of urine flow. For example this summer I got out of the pool and a cold breeze blew and I started leaking, as much as I tried I couldn’t entirely stop it. I am 26 years old and thats very embarrassing, so to tell women that vaginal birth doesn’t affect anything its not true. The truth is that is depends on the woman and her body, everyone is different.

    You still look amazing by the way! Take care!

  35. suze Says:
    August 20th, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    i’ve never heard of child birth ruining the hoo-hoo. yes for s few days after my son’s natural delivery i couldn’t tell when the pee was coming but that went away super quick. as for sex, jeez. like that part ever does much anyway. it’s all about the outside stuff. i thought most women were like that. hmmm.

  36. Kelly Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Liz, try Kegals if you haven’t already. Talk to your OB/GYN if it doesn’t improve. You could have surgery to fix it.

    Suze, I think you are insensitive. My vaginal opening is a lot more open, I would imagine like Liz. The tightness of the opening provided a lot of pleasure during sex for me. Since I am no longer tight and it’s “flapping in the wind”, that sensation not longer exists. Thank goodness I still have a functioning cliterus! To those of you who don’t think it matters, try to have some compassion for those of us who think it does matter.

  37. Mayra Says:
    May 21st, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    As an labor and delivery nurse of more years that I care to admit (and the mother of three), and I know that it’s hip and cool to think that the medical industry overmedicalizes childbirth, but most women who have a non-cesarean birth will find a slight increase in roominess post-partum. If you were relatively small before conception, that could be good. However, if you consider yourself and your partner to be a good fit, you will probably notice things are a bit more roomy post-partum. Now that is not to say that things are bad or not enjoyable, just looser. Kegels can help, but will probably never give you back the tightness you had before. It’s something that most doctors won’t tell you or will downplay, but it is something that you really don’t want to be surprised with (like I was or many of the post-partum women I’ve talked to months, if not years down the road).

  38. Ann Says:
    August 29th, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    You posted on my page about a year ago to give some support and commiseration, it meant so much to hear from someone who went through similar circumstances. And it really, really helped to look at your page and see someone with such confidence and beauty and know that could still be me even if I have 2 more babies. Thank you, you were definitely one of my major inspirations for getting healthy and back in shape.

    I was also hoping to give you a high-five on the vag portrait but unfortunately, a normal vaginal delivery left mine less than “ready for my close-up” and I don’t want to scare people. On the bright side, it still functions fine!

  39. Brooke Says:
    December 31st, 2012 at 11:54 am

    This is what I want to look like.

  40. Amanda Says:
    February 27th, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    @Mayra – That was absolutely my experience as well and I really wished that people would have been up front with me about it.

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