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My Body (Stephanie)

August 25, 2011

I have a love hate relationship with my body. I was obese or morbidly obese pretty much all my life, since the time I was 11. At least my mother kept telling me I was fat from that point on. I just lived up to her expectations I guess.

I took surgical measures to finally lose weight and lost 150 pounds and counting. I’ve weighed as much as 325 pounds and as little as 165 pounds. I’m 180 pounds and hoping to get to 150 pounds.

My body has carried 9 children within it, but only 8 survived.

My body has been sliced open to give birth once, and then I took control to give birth 7 more times without surgery. 6 of those births were in the comfort of my own home.

My body has nourished or tried to nourish all of my babies through my now saggy breasts.

My body has been ridiculed and adored. It has been loved and it has been hated. My body provides a safe place for my children to cuddle up on. In the future I hope my body will provide a safe place for other people’s children as a foster parent.

I may not have smooth skin, washboard abs, or perky breasts, but my body has a story because it’s been on a journey and that journey has really only begun.

~Age: I am 36 (1975 birth year)
~Number of pregnancies and births: 9 pregnancies, 1 miscarriage, 1 c/s, 1 hospital VBAC, 5 Unassisted Water Births, 1 Unassisted Home Birth.
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are:
G-12, G-11, B-9, B-8, B-6, G-5, B-3, G-1

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35 Responses to “My Body (Stephanie)”

  1. Catherine S Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 8:47 am

    What an amazing story you and you body tell. Congratulations on helping your body get and stay healthy and of course on your eight beautiful babies.

  2. amber Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 10:41 am

    amazing!!! i looooove your post!!

    sincerely- blessed and tortured!

  3. Tishia Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    You have a beautifully defined waist. My torso is so short that you cannot tell exactly where my waist is. I’ve got the same belly flap as well, but I’m beginning to accept it as a symbol of my babies carried, all of them. Someday… I’ll be confident enough to share… someday. I’m not there yet.

  4. Karla Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Amazing story!

  5. Anon Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Wow, you are beautiful inside and out. I love the confidence that you express throughout your post. I wish the media would show more realistic women like you and myself. It would put a end to these superficial views displayed in multimedia.

  6. Stacy Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Wow. What a birth history! As a mother of 6, with 5 csections and then a very empowering unassisted home birth with my last son, I know both the blessings and trials of a large family, a well used body and the beauty of peaceful births. I think you are beautiful! I too deal with extra skin, saggy boobs, and stretchies everywhere… having been fat my whole life, carrying six babies to 42 weeks, and weighing up to 250 pounds. I am now 138, fit at 2 and a half years postpartum and very happy about how my body has come around. Mostly I am glad to healthy and for the most part out of pain. I expose my body any chance I get!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    Stacy

  7. Marz Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    9 KIDS?? All those unassisted births?!! Jesus, you’re Wonder Woman.

  8. Katy Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    i admire u because u gived 8 birth,you are briliant!

  9. Cierra Says:
    August 26th, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Its a strange thing, sometimes I come to this site to see the images. Just to have something to look at and say ‘well I’m close to average’ or some other sort of comparison.

    A lot of times I see exactly that, images. No feeling in them. But seeing your beautiful picture, I read your story.

    While I’m struggling with weight issues, I’m beginning to accept the body I’m stuck in.

    I have to say your body is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen on this website. Your story really struck a chord with me, and I wanted to say thank you for sharing.

  10. ANGW Says:
    August 26th, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    AH. MA. ZING! How wonderful that you were able to experience VBAC and a home birth. I hope your proud of your weight loss; I can see your small frame and it must feel very freeing. Peace.

  11. Skye Says:
    August 28th, 2011 at 5:54 am

    You look amazing. Congratulations on all those babies!! What an amazing story. And, congratulations for losing all that weight – that is an amazing feat. It looks like you are at a great weight for your body right now! You can always have the extra skin from being obese removed!

  12. regina Says:
    August 29th, 2011 at 7:48 am

    You are a goddess!

  13. Alicia Says:
    August 29th, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    What fortunate children to have you as their mother. You are beautiful indeed.

  14. Mariah Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    What an amazing woman you are, and what an amazing body you have! VBAC with 8 babies is STUNNING! Every mark or flaw we think we have, and every up and down we experience is all apart of this beautiful journey of motherhood. It’s very inspiring to hear about your weight loss journey, and I do hope you reach your goal!

    You are still beautiful and formitable even now. :)

  15. Tiya Says:
    September 11th, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    This is my favorite. I almost cried lol this is beautiful :)

  16. Stephanie Says:
    September 18th, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Thank you. This is mine. I had kind of forgot I had submitted this. I remembered about my submission and found it today. It’s even helped me to remind me to love my body more than I do.

    Biggest irony for me, is the fact I noticed my story was posted on my birthday. :)
    *Love & Happiness*

  17. Hope Says:
    September 22nd, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I absolutely love this!!!! So many women have such a hard time with their bodies, and we all forget that all of our bodies tell a story!!! And the one thing I think of when I think of my body is something you mentioned, “My body provides a safe place for my children to cuddle up on.” I remember being a girl and although my mother’s not skinny or anything…curling up with her was the most comforting thing!! I didn’t care about her body! I hope that one day all us women can feel more comfortable about our bodies and quit ridiculing others about theirs!!!

  18. Leann Says:
    October 9th, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I’m so glad that I came across this site & your post! I was married for 16 years and unfortunately got a divorce. After some time I started dating again but have been very nervous about letting my new very handsome boyfriend see my body. It doesn’t help that his ex’s are all very small wemon. I too gained and lost weight through the years as well as had two children. I breast fed the last one and it wasn’t good to my breasts. I had a fairly nice body until I hit thirty seven years old and everything went south. I love what you said about your body being a safe place to cuddle up on! That makes me feel better about the way that I see myself. I really wish the media & magizines would put “real” wemon up front and center so that not only our daughters can feel normal but our sons will truely know what “normal” really is.

  19. Bree Katsamangos Says:
    October 21st, 2011 at 2:59 am

    What a body – what a woman! So much to be proud of.

  20. Anonymous Says:
    October 21st, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I love your post. This is what women need to be feeding their minds on reality. I have one child now and would love to have more. You are a awesome lady ooozing with confidence. I love it.

  21. jessica Says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    i just wanted to let you know your story literally brought tears to my eyes, i know we can all be a little vein etc but the reality of it as you put it is we’ve all brought beautiful children into this world and no matter how that has affected our bodies, we should all be so thankful. thank you so much for your post

  22. Jolene Says:
    December 19th, 2011 at 1:23 am

    You’re spectacular and you give me hope and inspiration. <3

  23. summer Says:
    December 27th, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    i was so, so glad to see this, i am always beating myself up thinking i am some hideous monster because of my body. When i saw your pic i just cried i finally see someone who looks like me. I am constantly ashamed, embarassed because i cannot go swimming in public, and my little children wanna tickle my belly and i am ashamed to raise up my shirt for them to do it.
    I am so grateful to you for posting this, i have thought for so long that nobody had a body like mine……thank u so much

  24. JL Says:
    January 22nd, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Wow,I really want to be honest and positive, and truth be told after seeing your picture, I realize that I should stop being concerned about my husband’s view (unspoken) of my body. You say your body has been loved and hated? Are you still with your spouse (or companion)? I ask because I see in me and other women this want to “get it together” just for a man’s sake. You must have lost a lot of weight according to what you stated about having been obese,and yet it’s obvious at least in your photo, that you’re far from that now. Did you loose your weight for health reasons, yourself, your children or a man? Truly it doesn’t matter what size we are, but when we’re not what society displays as beautiful (and sometimes even when we are),we still aren’t satisfied with our bodies. Thanks for your boldness and your story! You made me think a little more deeply about my self image and my “body’s” history, and how proud I am of it!

  25. Sarah Says:
    April 8th, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Wow! This is amazing! Thank you for sharing your beautiful body.

  26. mlf Says:
    April 9th, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I love your attitude. My mother was always struggling to stay under 115 lbs. At 5’8″, this made her bony. My stepfather’s sister has never been under 165. At 5’4″, this means she feels very nice to snuggle up to. I said something to that effect when I was 10, and my mother was HORRIFIED that I had effectively called my aunt fat. My aunt didn’t seem at all upset. Now I understand my aunt’s side of the story. Time to kick my mother out of my brain and my self-perception.

  27. Stephanie Says:
    April 21st, 2012 at 3:08 am

    To reply to JL – I am still with my spouse currently. We’ve been married for almost 14 years now and together for 15. He loved and married me when I was fatter than I am now. At my heaviest I was 326# and am now currently holding steady (for about 2-3 years now) at about 180#.

    I say my body has been loved & hated yes. As a fat kid I got many a comments from bullies about how fat I was and my mother always had a negative comment or two about how fat I was as well. My body has obviously been loved by the man I married and the children we brought into this world together. I myself have (and still do) struggle with loving my body most days. I hate my skin apron and wish some days I could afford a body lift, but with 8 kids my priorities with finances lie elsewhere than vanity.

    To Summer- a favorite pass time my kids share with me, is playing with my belly fat. We call it my skin play-dough, LOL It’s so jiggly and squishy, it’s fun for them and we all laugh about it together as we play together. My older girls thankfully don’t have a warped body image of themselves and are grateful to have good bodies now and understand that one day, they too may end up looking just like mom . . . lovingly used! I tell them just how much I loved using my body to nourish them, grow them, and love them to the point they can now play with the excess skin love! LOL

    I really, really, REALLY try and watch what I say about my “self loathing” around my kids. My issues are mine because of how I was raised and the body images we were fed and I am trying with all my might to keep those MY issues and not transfer them on to my daughters/kids. SO far I think I am doing okay. I still have to work on myself, because I am far from “perfect” but I’m getting there. . . we all are.

  28. christina Says:
    April 24th, 2012 at 7:41 am

    yay for vbac’s! id stopped counting after 9 misscarriges, im now 28 (and pregnant) i have 2 girls age 6 and 5, my oldest was a c-section due to breach and pre-eclampsia, though i struggled with having had a c/s birth and they didnt let me hold her til 10 hrs later. i demanded a vbac with my 2nd and got it though they required me to be induced, that labor was 27.5 hrs long i was so weak by the end but i did it and pushing lasted less than 15 minutes. pregnant now with my 3rd child ive hired a midwife, who was also amazed how id barelty had a c-section scar and she had to stare a few mins and me point small areas that scared. im greatful for my midwife and planning a home birth we have already gotten to hear the heartbeat and each appointment with her lasts about 2 hrs, id applied for state healthcare right after finding out and its still lagging and isnt approved yet (i tottaly qualify) im glad im getting so much care and support thru my midwife with how the health care industry is so broken and how most drs are apauled at the thought of vbacs much less homebirthing, i know it will be tough for a dr to accept my choice and just mostly be there for my having the usual pregnancy work up. my body (looks almost exactly like yours especially like the belly) but my body isnt broken, their system for handleing it is. our body has the instincts of how to give birth well since we are alive our body doent become stupid as soon as we become pregnant or are in labor it knows what its doing, most dr.s fear birthing try to control so much of it when its a beautiful thing left on its own without interventions.

  29. Andrea Says:
    April 24th, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Absolutely stunning! Thank you for sharing. Thank you for the woman you are. Praise God for your babies. Praise God for your heart. This… THIS.. YOU.. are what motherhood – giving of one’s self for the betterment of another – is all about! I bow my head in appreciation. Thank you.

  30. Eva Says:
    May 1st, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Wow!
    Thank you lifebringer!

  31. Rebekah Says:
    May 2nd, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Liked your post, sometimes I wish men’s skin would go south so they could deal with and understand some of the issues we deal with.

  32. Indali Says:
    July 8th, 2012 at 11:59 am

    You are an epithome of AMAZING!

  33. Sayhi Says:
    August 21st, 2012 at 10:15 am

    U are amazing! Thank u for sharing ur story.

  34. Linea Says:
    January 19th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    skin goes south, love goes everywhere

  35. Lisa Says:
    November 26th, 2013 at 5:16 am

    WOW….

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