I’m not being vain when I say that for the majority of my life I relied on my looks. Friends and boyfriends would always comment about how physically attractive I was and it didn’t take long before all I associated with being liked and accepted was being pretty & staying in shape. I prided myself in my slim figure that I never had to work at, my bleach blond hair, tan skin, etc. I tried relentlessly to do everything to make my appearance ‘perfect’. I wouldn’t even go to the gas station without having my hair done and make up on in fear of someone seeing the ‘real me’ instead of the image I had been trying to make myself. This sounds shallow, but I wasn’t. Having a wealthy parent with a drug addiction made my life a constant battle of trying to keep up appearances. With my family and myself. So even though on the outside, I looked like a girl that most girls would want to be, on the inside I was a lost mess.
I moved out of my parents house as soon as I possibly could and met my husband in my late teens/early twenties. We married and about two years later starting trying for a child. We became pregnant very soon and I could not have been more excited. When I found out I was having a girl, I cried I was so happy. I vowed to give her everything I never had. I wanted her to have a mother who lived for her and thats what I did. I was one of those crazy pregnant people who followed every rule to a tee. I stayed active during my pregnancy and gained a respectable 20 pounds. Everything was right on track and my daughter grew perfectly. At around 35 weeks I got my first stretch mark. I didn’t even consider it a possibility since no one in my entire family had ever had any. In the short amount of time between then and when I had her they multiplied and were awful. These weren’t the thin faded stretch marks I had gotten on my thighs during puberty, these were thick purple stretch marks directly on the front of my stomach. To say I took them gracefully would be a lie haha. I cried, I doubted my husband’s attraction for me… everything I knew about myself and felt confident about was being literally ripped to shreds. My husband was beyond awesome during the whole thing. He called them my ‘beauty marks’ from our sweet baby. And though there is nothing beautiful about them, I find it beautiful that my husband doesn’t see my stretch marks. He sees me, he sees our daughter, he sees the same person he married. The day I had my daughter was the best day of my entire life. I have never been so in love with anything. She is so beautiful, inside and out.
My body isn’t perfect anymore, my life isn’t perfect, and I’m finally okay with that. I’ve finally stopped trying to hide the imperfections. I have a child that I would die for and a relationship that is beautifully built, I don’t care what people think about any of it. The only thing I care about now is being a role model for my daughter. Teaching her that life is not a beauty contest. Giving her self esteem that isn’t reliant on looks but on what she can do as a person. Teaching her to be giving and graceful, honest and hard working, self assured and compassionate. I never want my daughter to see me look at my life or my body negatively, because I never want to see her do the same. My body created the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I feel guilty if I feel anything but thankful for that. I still have ups and downs, days where I feel less than thrilled about what I see in the mirror, but I think everyone does. We took our first trip as a family to the beach and I strutted around in a bikini like I did before the marks and the baby weight. And you know what I realized… i had more fun. I had so much more fun playing with my husband and daughter than I ever did trying to look perfect laying on the beach.
Pictures: all 4-5 month pp
~Number of pregnancies and births: 1
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 6 months