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Out in Left Field (Lisa)

June 23, 2009

Name: Lisa
Age: 26
Number of pregnancies: 2 complete, currently pregnant with #3
Current Weight: 130-ish
Dress Size: 6-8

Ultimately, I have always been my own worst enemy. As a teen, I worked perhaps a little TOO hard on showcasing my body. I got a lot of attention (both good, and bad). When I married my husband in 2005 – we started trying for a baby. At that time I was 112 lbs. and was a size 4 respectively. I had a cute belly, complete with sparkly navel jewelry. I wore cute clothes, sassy heels, I took care to look my best.
Pregnant with my first, I loved my pregnant physique. I liked my big round tummy, and felt womanly and special. After she was born, and I came home to find that no size 4, size 6, size 8 or size 10 pants would fit…..a change in my body perception forever changed. I was a size 12. 2 weeks after birth, I was weighing in at 146 pounds. “It will come off, it takes time” was what my mother said. But it wasn’t just that. My skin was saggy, stretched, lose. I looked in the mirror – and I didn’t recognize myself. Here I was, a new mother who was madly in love with my child…but I couldnt look in the mirror. When I showered, I hung a towel across the mirror. I didn’t even want to catch a glimpse of my reflection.
My husband waited, patiently, for the time to come when we could be intimate again. I think he felt I was scared…..but it wasn’t that. Under my clothing was a COMPLETELY different body than what he’d fallen in love with, what he’s married, what he’d last seen prior to a baby being housed inside. What was he going to think? What if he took one look and lost all desire? I did the best I could to cover myself, without being obvious. I felt awkward when he reached out to touch me.

I started reconnecting with old friends during my first few months of motherhood. People I’d gone to school with. People who were the same age. Looking at their photos, everyone looked…..the same. The beautiful girls were still beautiful. Now, I really WAS all alone. The first of my “group” to marry, then to have children, and then to completely “let herself go”. I felt disassociated with myself. With the world. My husband took a job working out of town 5 days a week, so it was just me and the baby. It was during this time that I made bad choices with my eating habits. Skipping breakfast, skipping lunch, and picking at dinner. The weight came off. I went back to 120lbs. But nothing really changed. There was still sagging and bagging….but I was happIER than I had been before. Then, the shock of my life when we found out quite unexpectedly just as my daughter was turning a year that we were pregnant….again. I was overtaken with joy, and excitment. But the next thought was, “I didn’t even get my body back. NOW what’s going to happen to me?”

I gained more with my second. 55 pounds. Pregnant, I looked ok. My sizable belly made it difficult to notice where all that weight was. Then, I gave birth, and i was staring, yet again, at someone I didn’t feel I knew. The stretchmarks were bigger, brighter and had spread. I had cellulite and sagging in places I didn’t even realize you COULD get cellulite and sagging. I was ashamed. I stopped wearing tank tops, or skirts, even shorts. I wore my black maternity pants for as long as possible. I tried to hide what I didn’t like.

What took place in me over the next few months was an acceptance of what I was, in a sense. I knew the stretch marks would never go away. I knew that my breasts would never look the same. I knew that losing the extra weight had to come with time. What I couldn’t accept then, or now, is that despite having two exquisite children and loving my role as their mother – I feel less like a woman than I ever have. I feel a loss of confidence, sexuality and femininity. In social settings with girls my age…I feel alone. I make up for a complete lack of pride in myself by making jokes about my forever changed body. “Yep, I have pregnancy service stripes” or, “sometimes I feel a stinging sensation and realize Im standing on my own titty”. It works, in the moment, to help make light of it.

I guess ultimately, all I really want is to turn that acceptance of myself into an actual LOVE for myself. My husband still tells me I am beautiful. One day, I want to see that too.

The photos below are from today…..2 babies in 2 years, and 9 weeks pregnant with my third.

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8 Responses to “Out in Left Field (Lisa)”

  1. Trish Says:
    June 23rd, 2009 at 9:21 am

    You are absolutely gorgeous…You had two babies in two years…and one on the way? If I had your body I would be strutting around in a bikini…you really look amazing!

  2. Catherine S Says:
    June 23rd, 2009 at 11:28 am

    You have a young and gorgeous body!! And congrats on the third baby, yay:) The thing about comparing yourself to your friends is as long as you are doing that you will never be as kind to yourself as you should be. Pregnancy and childbirth leaves marks on all of us physically and emotionally, nobody gets away scot free. You probably have done so already, but if not, try making some additional friends who are also moms, people who will better understand your life and be able to share experiences. You have my respect for becoming a wife and a mother so young. I could never have done that and survived with my sanity intact:) As it is, I am 31 and just had my first 9 1/2 months ago. Not sure that I am brave enough to do it again so soon, ha!!

  3. Meg Says:
    June 23rd, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    You look stunning! Truly! I am on my second pregnancy within a year. :) And I would love to replace some of my body with yours. Be confident with your husband, confidence can override so many beauty insecurities we think we have. Congrats on baby number 3! You are beautiful!!

  4. Claire Says:
    June 24th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    When I’m practicing accepting my body I think of all my friends and family members bodies (and they’re all very different) and how beautiful I think they are…. and try to turn that same love towards myself. It takes a lot of practice and I don’t feel that way all the time, but I know it will keep getting better!

    You are amazing and so is your body.

  5. Mary Says:
    June 24th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Not expecting to see those amazing pictures! You look fantastic! Just be patient, after the 3rd(if you decide to not have anymore) when you have a few years of recovery those stretch marks are going to be gone, and you will be the envy of the women just starting to have their children, and you will be able to comfort them and tell them it takes time! And Im sure your hubby finds you just as, if not more attractive. My husband loved my body after I had our kids, it was soft, unlike when we first met and I was fit and solid. Im just going to say you look fantastic again… :)

  6. Shawna Says:
    June 26th, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    I was reading your thing wondering if there was going to be pictures attatched and I had an image in my mind of how you were describing yourself. We are so hard on ourselves but see the beuty in everyone else on this website and it’s great. Your pictures are nothing like how you described yourself. You look amazing.

  7. Jay Says:
    June 29th, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    It just goes to show that how we view ourselves is often so disproportionate to how others view us. If I had a body like yours, I would walk around naked all day, every day and spend all summer on the beach in a bikini.

    Of course you don’t have the body you had pre babies – but that is because your body has done something utterly amazing by bringing those children into the world! Aren’t you proud of what it has achieved?

    You look great, you should be proud of yourself.

  8. Maddie Says:
    July 1st, 2009 at 5:17 am

    Goodness, there are girls in highschool that don’t have bodies as nice as yours. You will look back at yourself in twenty years and go, “Dang, I looked awesome at 26!” I think you look fantastic and would love to trade bodies with ya!!

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