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My body is wrecked (Elizabeth)

October 7, 2009

Number of pregnancies & births: Four
Ages of children: 9, 6, 3, and almost 5 months

B&W photo taken four month post-partum after fourth child
Beach photo taken 11 months post-partum after first child

I guess you could say I was proud of my body after the birth of my first child. I bounced back fairly quickly despite the severe case of PUPPPs and my fresh stretch marks. It only took a year before I was able to confidently wear a bikini and actually go out in public. With each subsequent pregnancy, I got more stretch marks, contracted PUPPPs two more times, and during my last pregnancy, I had severe diastasis recti. And with each pregnancy, I became more and more uncomfortable with my shape. I thought that I needed to be able to fit back into that bikini I proudly wore after my first son was born. I thought that I needed to be able to wear my pre-pregnancy jeans. In fact, I have a pile of jeans of varying sizes in my closet that still don’t fit, yet I hang on to them anyway. Perhaps I’m fooling myself into believing that I’m going to slim back down. Is it possible to be proud of a body that birthed four babies? I’m proud of what my body did. My body was able to labor and deliver four healthy children and nurse them all without complications. Who wouldn’t be proud of that? But in this culture where celebrity mothers emerge months after birth looking radiant and toned, I can’t help but feel uncomfortable when I look in the mirror at nine-year-old stretch marks, scars, and an abdomen that sags over even my largest pair of pre-pregnancy pants.

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18 Responses to “My body is wrecked (Elizabeth)”

  1. Emily Says:
    October 7th, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    I expected way worse than that before I scrolled down! I think this picture of your belly is cute and beautiful!

  2. Mary Says:
    October 7th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Your pictures are beautiful… If you want to look at some more realistic celeb moms, turn to julia roberts or selma hayak (SP?) They sport their pp bodies despite the sagging skin or stretch marks. Focus on things you do like about your body, Im sure your not “wrecked”, just being a hard critic! Keep your head up beautiful!

  3. Deb Says:
    October 7th, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I was going to say that too- I saw a picture of Cindy Crawford’s PP body in a bikini, and her belly looked like that B&W photo actually. Not that this is all about looking like celebrities, but I’m sure it makes us feel better to see them looking pretty much the same as we do without airbrushing. AND… I have a student who can’t walk and can barely use her arms. Still she does everything on her own. She writes, opens her locker, eats her lunch, carries her books, you name it. If her body isn’t wrecked, and it is most definitely not, then certainly yours isn’t. I don’t mean to make you feel bad, and I’m not judging, but if you could see this young lady handle herself, you would be amazed at what she can do, and even more aware of how blessed we all are with truly extraordinary bodies.

  4. Lauren Says:
    October 7th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I think you look fantastic. You should be proud. :)

  5. nicole Says:
    October 8th, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Hello

  6. iraiosc Says:
    October 8th, 2009 at 9:29 am

    hey, i’ve visit your message and i said to myself, is it similar to me! with the strange navel, diastasis… the few differences are that you have 4 cute kids, and us only 1…

    you are so lucky of giving birth 4 babies… i’m afraid of have more kids… :’(

    also you still looking so thin, i’ll tell you something, look at my pics… did you see me? this summer i went to beach with my belly in bikini… i feel everybody looking at me… but is a natural thing! i know it would scares other girls… but… aren’t this a possible thing for everybody? i wish i would known this could happen… i never have seen this before me… now… i know is normal, or not to much, but natural! You have a good complete figure!! only a different belly, a beatiful belly creator of life!! kiss

  7. TracyKM Says:
    October 9th, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Why do so many women compare themselves to such a minority of women? Celebrities are celebrities partly because they are ABnormal. WE are the normal ones.

  8. Deb Says:
    October 9th, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    TracyKM- Thin is not abnormal, thin is thin- just like fat is fat.

  9. Sarah Says:
    October 9th, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Our culture is messed up for not viewing pregnancy and childbirth in their most COMMON and natural forms. You look amazing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

  10. Christina Says:
    October 11th, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I did a little search, considering the talk about celebs here, it looked to me like maybe Crawford went under the knife cause her tummy didn’t look “Babied” unlike a photo I saw of her in the past. I did however come across this…I now have a new reason to love Julia Roberts. http://inyourface.freedomblogging.com/files/2009/05/julia-roberts-280pxw-2009-makemehealdotcom.jpg

  11. Alicia Says:
    October 11th, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    I am the mother of four also, ages 8, 5, 2, and almost 5 months. I know exactly how you feel. It’s so difficult.

  12. Alyssa Says:
    October 15th, 2009 at 9:15 am

    You look beautiful!!!!!
    As for celebrity bodies, remember that most of them have nannies, personal trainers, personal assistants, chefs, housekeepers, etc. I’m sure we could all look that way if we didn’t have to worry about work, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, taking care of the kids, cooking, laundry, etc. etc.
    And a lot of those celebrities don’t take care of their bodies very well. Yes, they look great, but they’re not very healthy.

  13. Lindsey Says:
    October 15th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Hey, Im just wondering how it is you managed to get into my computer for the picture of my belly?? LOL, your tummy looks exactly like mine does (although I have only birthed two children).

    I think its wonderful and beautiful!

  14. Lizzie Says:
    October 18th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    You are all so kind. :)

  15. Shape of a Mother | Suzy Q Homemaker Says:
    October 18th, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    [...] “My Body is Wrecked” var addthis_pub = ‘terpsichore’; var addthis_language = ‘en’;var addthis_options = ‘email, [...]

  16. Anna Says:
    October 22nd, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    I know you probably dont agree,but there is something so beautiful about the b&w of your belly.

  17. Wordless Wednesday: My Shape | Suzy Q Homemaker Says:
    February 16th, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    [...] EDIT: Here is my entry on The Shape of a Mother. [...]

  18. Gwynne Says:
    February 24th, 2011 at 7:44 am

    If it makes you feel any better my stomach looks EXACTLY like your stomach in the B&W picture 15 months after the birth of my FIRST daughter. So I think you’re doing great to have had four and your tummy look like that!

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