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My Favorite Hip Huggers, RIP (Clara)

August 6, 2012

I am 23 years old, and I had my son, Andy, a month before my 19th birthday. Before I had Andy, I was a consistent size 8-10, but had finallyyyy gotten down to a size 6 after some hard work and pure accident. I was extremely happy with how I looked, my stomach looked great! I was toned, healthy, and just very satisfied (which I have never been with my body). I refused to wear pants that went anywhere other than my hips, and I showed it off as much as I could. I was proud of what I had accomplished and was finally satisfied with myself.
Then I found out I was pregnant.

Obviously, it wasn’t planned. I was only 18 at the time! Everything changed. I suffered from hyperemesis for the first 4 months. I was in and out of the hospital for severe dehydration, I couldn’t even keep water down and my kidney’s weren’t keeping up (my body has never handled estrogen well). By the time it finally went away, I had actually lost about 10 pounds and I looked horrible. I was extremely thin and almost skeletal.

That all changed quick!

I ate ALOT trying to gain back the weight I had lost being so sick. I craved snickers and McDonald’s french fries all the time (thankfully not together). I was 110lbs. going into my 4th and 5th month. I was 175lbs. when I delivered my son. I had gained OVER 60lbs. in 3-4 months. I tried to be consistent with lotions and cocoa butter and anything that was said to help prevent stretch marks. But, I got too big too fast and there was nothing I could do, especially considering how small I was from being sick. My skin didn’t just stretch; my doctor says it actually ripped a few layers underneath. Despite my rapid realization that I would never be the same, Andy was 8 lbs. 9 oz. and 21 1/2 in. long. and I was instantly in love!

I lost 20 lbs. right out of the hospital, but was stuck at 150 for 3 years. I had lost all of the progress I had made pre-Andy, and I had just moved to a new place to be with his father and had no one around to help. I was 19, and trying to play wife and mother and everything in between. I had no time for me, I was stressed and I was in over my head. I was depressed, and my weight did not help. I tried to go to the gym, but my then husband wasn’t exactly reliable to watch our son and would straight out refuse if he was too tired or too engrossed in his video games. Even though half of the reason I thought I looked so horrible was because of his comments such as “you really need to go to the gym” “You really need to lose the baby weight soon” “(Insert name)’s wife has already lost all of her weight, why haven’t you done something yet?” Obviously, my favorite hip-huggers were not an option.

Needless to say that marriage failed horribly.

Not long after, my son was diagnosed with Autism. So, now I was a 20 year old single mother of an autistic child. I think we all know I was even deeper over my head than before. Thankfully, I adjusted easily. Therapy, evaluations, conferences, seminars, etc. I dove head first trying to make sure I could help him along as best as I could and give him the best opportunity to do well. Through the stress and the constant dead run I seemed to be on, I did lose weight. Slowly, but it did happen. By the time of his third birthday, I was the same weight I was pre-Andy.

Funny thing is, I almost wish I had of kept it.

I am now a size 6 again. Sometimes a 4, depending on the style and cut of clothes. The problem is I still can’t wear the majority of my old favorites anymore. I may have lost the weight, but because I got so big, my skin did not retain it’s elasticity. Plus, because of the ripping in the sub dermal layers, there is a small build up of scar tissue that I can’t get rid of. So, I have excess skin and scar tissue that just hangs over anything that doesn’t come up almost to my belly button (if not over). I had never had this issue before, and it is the most frustrating thing in the world.

My boyfriend (who is both amazing with my son and is the best thing that has ever happened to me) tells me all the time that I am beautiful and perfect the way I am. That no one really looks like they did when they were teenagers and that I should be happy with the way I look. “You had a baby!” he says “of course you’re going to have stretch marks and a little extra! You still look great and I’m still more attracted to you every day.” I want to believe all of that, and he has been trying to pound it into my head for a year. But all I can see if me trying on a pair of jeans, and having them fit great everywhere (legs, butt, hips, etc.) and then noticing the extra hanging over the front, not because they don’t fit but because that skin refuses to spring back. It’s frustrating, it’s depressing, embarrassing…

But I will probably never get rid of it. And that’s life.

I am four and a half years post-pregnancy, and I am still slowly coming to terms with the fact that I am stuck with this body now, and I will never look like I did at 18. I will always have my battle scars (no one is actually sure if the skin will repair itself that deep), and I refuse to get surgery to remove the extra (you aren’t supposed to have more children afterwards, and I don’t want to limit that decision when I’m still so young). I don’t know if anyone really ever fully comes to terms with what they look like after having a baby, but I get more confident every day. My boyfriend is constantly telling me I am gorgeous, and little by little I start to believe it. I finally broke down and bought a bikini last year, and I rocked it like I was 16 again. I am happier to have my son and watch him grow everyday and know that I made him than I ever was in my favorite hip huggers.

And isn’t that what life is supposed to be about?

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7 Responses to “My Favorite Hip Huggers, RIP (Clara)”

  1. july Says:
    August 6th, 2012 at 7:48 am

    oh Im so sorry I know what you mean if it makes you feel better i have stretch marks on my arms for gaining weight at the age of 13 because of the trauma of an evil mother,and I did laser 3 sessins but the deep ones they’re just not going away unless you cut all that skin and that’ will leave a big scar the same with the tummy tuck at least your boyfriend loves you like that i had a boyfriend who will critissise my stretch marks

  2. shannon Says:
    August 6th, 2012 at 8:30 am

    You look great, and have such a tiny waist! I am glad you found yourself a good man :)

  3. Jamie Says:
    August 6th, 2012 at 10:35 am

    What an emotional story, I’m glad you have finally started to let yourself be happy and find yourself again, you look wonderful too. Always remember you are your toughest critic! :)

  4. Bryana Says:
    August 7th, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Your and my belly look very similar, but I have way more stretch marks. I think you look great and your boyfriend sounds amazing. Believe the words he says, always, because you are beautiful.

  5. Sarah P. Says:
    August 7th, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    You have a cute little tummy IMO! I was just thinking, looking at your cute tummy and cute little freckle, why do we focus so much on the quality of our skin? Even when our tummies are so taught and small after a lot of work? It’s silly, right? And yeah, I’m talking to myself as well! You look great. Life is too short to be focusing on that silly little point. You look great, you’re a strong mama and you’ve found a healthy relationship. There’s a lot to be thankful for! Thanks for sharing. :)

  6. Yesenia Says:
    August 8th, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Ma and you have the same belly, same stretch marks!!!
    How crazy is that… Your not alone.

  7. MJ Says:
    August 10th, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I turned 19 five months before the birth of my dd, I was 21 when DS came along! turned 24 and two months later had my second son! I’m Now 25 have 3 kids and my middle child has some speech and learning delays he just started walking this January at the age of three due to a sever clubbed foot and ABS were starting preschool this year and we’re all excited for him! It’s hard at times with a special needs child but I love him soooooo much and wouldn’t want him any other way! Your awesome and so strong for your son! Just remember to take time for you too cuz us moms need it!

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