First of all, I want to say THANK YOU for starting this website. It has been eye opening to me to see all the different ways women’s bodies change during and after pregnancy. I actually cried a bit as I was browsing through the stories and photos. Let me also preface by saying that despite the fact that I’ve recently been unhappy with my body, I love my children more than anything in the world and my changed appearance is really a small price to pay to have them in my life. They are my life. I’d seriously shave my head bald and never step on a scale again if it would insure their happiness and well being.
I’ve gone through two pregnancies and although neither were easy, I made it to the 37th week with both. The first one ended with a 36 hour labor and vaginal birth. Although I had stretchmarks, I rapidly lost all the weight I’d gained (25 pounds), plus an additional 7 or 8 pounds, so I was thinner than I’d been in years. I actually felt attractive again. My husband complimented me frequently! I attributed the weightloss to the fact that I was breastfeeding, because I certainly wasn’t exercising and I ate whatever and whenever I wanted to. It was great! When my daughter was 15 months old, I became pregnant again. In less than a month, I gained 10 pounds and this time, my son entered the world via Emergency C-section due to fetal distress. He spent 6 days in the NICU and I spent the next 2 weeks wondering if my body would ever feel ‘normal’ again. In addition to the stretched out belly, now, I had a huge, painful incision above my crotch!
Well, here I am, 8 and a half months later, still wondering if I’ll ever feel GOOD in my skin again. Despite the fact that my son still primarily breastfeeds, the weight isn’t coming off like it did after my first pregnancy. While I realize that I’m not excessively overweight, I’ve got 20 pounds that just won’t budge. In fact, I weigh the same now as I did at 6 weeks postpartum. None of my pre-pregnant pants or shorts fit me yet. I’ve been so determined to get into them, that I’ve been wearing elastic waist athletic shorts and maternity shorts all summer. I’ve been beating myself up for not being able to lose weight as quickly as my friends who have had babies months after I did.
During my pregnancies, I didn’t mind the extra weight. Obviously it was there for a reason, so I embraced the chance to be curvy without feeling like I should be on a diet. I loved having a big belly. I’d lift my shirt to show it off and take photos of myself almost weekly. My big, round belly was beautiful to me. That all changed as soon as my children were no longer in utero though. I was ready to switch back into my old body!
After browsing your website over the past couple days, I am slowly starting to be more accepting of my new body. Even if I do manage to drop the rest of the baby weight, my body will be forever changed. The scar and my stretchmarks will always be there. The skin is loose. When my son weans, the skin on my breasts will sag more. I know that this is going to bother me from time to time. When the media bombards us with images of women with slim, slender, gravity-defying bodies, and we are encouraged to achieve MILF status, it’s hard not to look in the mirror and wish we looked like them. But at least now, I have a place I can come and visit as a reminder that those of us who have brought children into the world are changed inside and out -and that there are far more women with stretchmarks, sags and scars than myself and there is nothing wrong with us!
Mandy (Ethne & Eliott’s Mommy)
our personal website is http://www.prismperfect.com/ if anyone cares to see my beautiful babies!