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I was just 18 when I got unplanned pregnant with my first child. At the beginning of pregnancy I was a tiny 110lbs six pack belly girl, but by the end I was round everywhere at 175lbs.

I used cream because of my fear of stretch marks but it turned out I had an alergic reaction to the cream that made me wake up scratching my belly and it being fire red. Needless to say by the end of the pregnancy my belly was one giant fireball of stretch marks.

My legs also ended up with plenty of stretch marks due the swelling in the legs, funny thing is I never thought I would have to worry about my legs.

I nearly had any breast at the beginning of pregnancy with my a cup that nearly was filled in, by the end of pregnancy I had a c cup. Also much bigger and big red nasty stretch marks around my boobs. Now 8 years later the stretch marks on my boobs are still red.

Birth was no joke either. I was 41 weeks pregnant when I got induced, after 32 long ours I finally was able to push.

After 4 hours of pushing the doctors said I needed a emergency c-section but the doctor who was on call for that was an hour away. So I had to sit there on pain and fear for an hour till they put me on the operation table.

Once they started to cut I was freaking out yelling at them “I can feel it I can feel it” so they had to put me to sleep.

(Looking back I’m sure I didn’t feel anything, but during that moment it sure felt that way in my mind)

My baby girl was 2 hours old before I woke the first time and can somewhat remember it. I didn’t get to hear her first cry, hold her first or give her a kiss before so many others did.
Mather fact I was still so drugged up I have a hard time remembering holding her for the first time.

As that wasn’t enough I lost so much blood during the c-section that my body went into shock a day later and I needed a blood transfusion.

All of that lead to a very distant relationship to my daughter, it’s sad but true that I didn’t start building a relationship with her until she was 4. She is 8 now and we still have to work on our relationship ship. It saddens me that it’s so obvious that there was a big cap between us and that it left invisible scares for the both of us.

After I had her I didn’t ever wanted any kids anymore. I hated the idea of labor.
And my body was so ugly to me. I was a size 3 before I had her and a 13 after I had her. I was so depressed I didn’t loose any wight at all.

When she turned 3 me and her dad split up. He went to Korea for the army and I stayed back with a child I couldn’t even connect with, one day I had a brake down and I send her to my parents.

Looking back that’s the best thing I could have done for the both of us.
In that time I did stupid things but I also started to find myself. I learned that I can love myself again, I started to be more active and the weight went down.
I myself joined the army and became for the first time in my life independent.
I was able to take care of my child again, and so I did :)

7 years after I had her I married my husband and we had another daughter, and now we are expecting another one.
Yes I have issues with my wight but it’s not as bad as it used to be. It doesn’t stop me from loving myself like it it did before.
I have a new body but I am also a new person, I am a mom and I love everything that I brings with it. Including my body and mind!

Love yourself more one day at a time :)

Included a picture of my now pregnant belly with all the marks.

Categories: Belly, Cesarean, Military Mom, Pregnant, Submissions, Third Pregnancy
1 comment

Daughters Raising Mothers

Mom in the early 70's.

Mom in the early 70’s.

My mom died almost four years ago. She had a lifetime of problems (that is probably a gross understatement) and she was a very broken person. Ours was a complicated relationship (also a gross understatement). At the time I brought all her journals, notes, letters – every paper that had helped to define her as a human – home and tried to order them as best I could chronologically into a box. This summer I’ve been working hard on a book about her that I’ve intended to write for at least a decade. It is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting work that is helping to heal my own psyche and that I hope will someday play a role in the healing of others.

The point being that I’ve been absent here because I’ve spent this last week living in the letters of the past.

I’ve brought out the box of documents to find quotes and fill in the blanks for me as I write her story down. I’ve scanned everything relevant and, as a child of a hoarder, tossed everything that didn’t matter anymore. I discovered some interesting things.

My mother never believed she was worthy to be human. She came barreling into the world loud and feisty and those weren’t qualities admired in children in the 1950’s. She tried to fit into the box society held for her – a different sort of shape for a woman, but one that is just as important to us as our physical shapes. If we spend our lives wishing we were a different shape, either inside or out, we forget to find the beauty in who we already are.

In the box I also found a 36-page (single-spaced) letter that my grandmother had written to her aunt detailing her 1958 divorce. On the first page she wrote, “I’ve heard so often how crazy I am, just like my mother and my grandmother, that perhaps I can believe it myself.” And I realized that we have a long family history of trying to figure out where our sanity lies in relation to our own mothers. I spend my life various amounts of afraid that I will lose it like my mom did, or that I will hurt people like she hurt me.

As young women and wives, they didn’t know their own value, constantly putting it aside for the words of another. Their notes and letters indicate that they slowly began to realize that they are allowed to take up space in this world and that this partly had to do with raising daughters.

As we parent our children, we reparent ourselves. Searching to protect our babies from that which hurt us the most, to fill the holes we need filled. We see our babies and want them to know from birth that they are worthy and are allowed to exist, just as they are, in this world. And, slowly, we begin to make those connections for ourselves as well.

So I’ve been thinking this week:
~To remember that anger is just as valuable an emotion as serenity. Anger gets shit done and we need shit to get done.
~That we are all beautiful, and our different gifts come together to make up this whole world that, if we allowed it to work properly, would function in harmony as we each employed our own talents.
~That it is a part of parenting to reparent ourselves.
~That we all walk the heroine’s journey in our lives, learning who we are as we go. And that it can be a lifelong process. And that that is okay.

Love yourselves, mamas.

And hopefully I’ll be back to regular Feminist Fridays next week.

Categories: My Own Ramblings, News
2 comments

I’m 20 years old with two beautiful baby boys, but I can’t stand my body. I can’t even look at it. Before pregnancy I was self conscious about my body but in reality it was pretty perfect.. 5’5 132lbs, 34C breasts, wide hips and flat stomach. I’ve always had self image issues and I don’t know where it stemmed from… Little did I know what my body would look like in the years to come.
I got pregnant with my first son at 17 from a man I was with for 4 years (I met him when I was very young) with that pregnancy I gained about 40lbs. I got my first stretch mark by no surprise considering that fact that it runs strongly in my genes, my mom and grandma have stretch marks ripping across their stomachs. But I was still in denial. “What is this line on my hip? It can’t be a stretch mark, is it a varicose vein? Nobody gets stretch marks on their hips.” At about 30 weeks there was no hiding the sad truth, I had already gained stretch marks that ripped over my once magazine cover ready body. I had stretch marks on my thighs, my breasts, my stomach, hips and back (yes my back).

My son was born at 36 weeks when my water spontaneously broke. Other than some feeding problems my son was born healthy. My breasts engorged to no return however, they were unmeasurable. Well past a 42DD. So when my milk dried up, it left me with two sad saggy excuses for breasts. I didn’t even want to touch them. I felt like I was in the body of someone much much older than me and I hated it… They were uneven, my nipples were dark and pliable… They felt like two empty socks filled with sand. That’s the only way I can explain it and trust me they remained that way.

To my surprise though despite the breasts I now hated, I had lost the pregnancy weight rather fast over the rest of my body, I wasn’t doing anything special and I wasn’t nursing. I shed 40lbs in just weeks.. I then continued to lose weight with a combination of staying busy and not eating as much as I had before pregnancy. I dropped down to the skinniest I had ever been when my son was about 6 months old. Because I could easily hide my breasts and my stretch marks I was pretty confident and proud of my mom bod. When my son was 7 months old I met the love of my life who accepted me and my son, he was fully prepared to be the father figure to him and even planned to put his name on the birth certificate. When I was with him I continued to see progress in my body. He accepted me. He made me feel sexy, he kissed my tummy and always told me how beautiful I am- boobs and all. We got engaged pretty fast, about 5 months into our relationship. But I didn’t care, he was perfect to me and my son. We were together about 10 months when I fell pregnant and although he was scared and I was scared, we were so very happy. We found out we were having a boy and he thought it was sexy that I was carrying his child, I loved it- but I knew soon my body was going to plummet down to that nasty, saggy, wrinkly state once I had given birth. Hearing horror stories of how much harder it is to get your body back the second time around worried me to no end.

But something horrible happened. It’s hard for me to talk about but I need to share my story, maybe for my own closure. When I was 7 months pregnant my fiancé, the love of my life, the biological father to the beautiful baby boy in my tummy and the soon to be adoptive father of my older son… He passed away. He was only 23. It was a tragic accident and he was in the hospital for 1 1/2 weeks. He slowly declined as far as his reflexes and eventually the doctor preformed tests and told me he was brain dead. He was an organ donor so they artificially kept his body alive for 4 days. I was at the hospital every second of every day. At 7 months pregnant I quickly dropped 12 lbs in 12 days. I didn’t eat. I slept next to him. I put his hand on my belly. I kissed him and knew it would be the last time I felt him. I prayed, I cried, I lost it. But what kept me going was knowing I had a piece of him inside me. The nurses were so very worried about me. They tried so hard to get me to eat for the health of my baby but I just couldn’t. I’ve never been so sick in my life. I felt cheated and ripped off. It wasn’t fair that he wouldn’t get to meet his son. We were so close- I was due in two months. I quickly became jealous and bitter toward all the happy pregnant couples and the women who got to see the father of their child’s reaction to meeting their kids… After his funeral I started to eat again. But I didn’t care how much weight I gained. I didn’t care about the stretch marks or my breasts sagging. I knew I had to bring his baby into the world by myself and it would be all we have left of him. I didn’t care if I got stretch marks up to my neck, I didn’t care if my breasts sagged to my knees or if I gained hundreds of pounds I just didn’t care. I just felt blessed that I had his baby in me. I don’t know how I would’ve taken it if he hadn’t left anything behind. I knew my fiancés legacy lived on inside me and I would soon get to see a part of him face to face. Overall I gained 43lbs with my second, gained more stretch marks, my breasts got worse. My stomach is saggy. I’m about 3 pant sizes bigger. My belly bottom is blown out, wrinkly and dark. I’ve only lost 23lbs out of the 43 that I gained. When I see pictures of myself I cringe. I don’t see how anyone could love this body. And the fact that I’m going through it alone is 100x worse. My youngest boy is only 3 weeks old and you know what? He’s a spitting image of his father. I even named him after his father. He’s perfect. I feel so bad for him my heart hurts that he will never get to meet his dad. And that pain is so much more than any emotional pain I’ve ever had over my self image. I know I have a long time to go as far as letting my body heal- but I can tell this time around I’m not ever going to feel comfortable in my body again.

I may not have a great body- but what I do have is two PERFECT children, one of which is the product of a miracle. Both of which will never judge me for my body. After losing my fiancé I am so very lonely. I don’t have anybody here to tell me how beautiful I am or kiss my tummy like he did. I don’t get the pleasure to see his reaction when looking at his son who looks exactly like him. He was so excited about his first biological born son.

But I will never be truly alone because I have my children. They will never look a me differently for having stretch marks and a saggy body. They won’t care that their young mom has the body of someone three times her age. One thing that sticks with me when I look at my body in the mirror today is my fiancé telling me before he passed, that he didn’t care if I didn’t shed a single pound after pregnancy and he would love me no matter what. And I know he is looking down on me, being a guardian angel for his kids, kissing his boys foreheads and holding them, and his spirit is kissing my stretch marks and caressing my saggy stomach.

Categories: No Photos (Story Only), Postpartum, Second Pregnancy, Submissions, Widow
3 comments