My name is Rachael and I am 27 years old. I became pregnant when I was 18 years old. I was a size 6 and still thought I wasn’t skinny enough. At that time, I knew only one other person my age who had been pregnant. My adoptive mother was never able to have children, so she also had no clue of what to expect. I had two “back-to-back” pregnancies, and gained 65 pounds with each one. All of the sudden, I was wearing a size 20! I had seen so many pictures in pregnancy magazines of round, stretch-mark-free bellies, and toned arms and legs. I also studied photographs in “new mommy” magazines of women getting back into prepregnancy shape, looking like they must have never been pregnant to begin with! And here I was, huge and saggy
and literally covered in stretch marks. I had expected to get them on my belly. Maybe even my breasts. But I had them all the way down my inner thigh and calf, my lower back, my crotch, and up and down my sides. I thought I was a total freak!
It wasn’t until my friends began having babies and we started to show each other our new “mommy bodies” that I realized how totally normal I was. I was so relieved to find out that I wasn’t the only one who was hiding under long t-shirts and constantly hiking up low-rider jeans.
A few years later, I became pregnant with my third child. I faithfully did my cardio workouts, practiced yoga, and was fanatical about my diet. I gained 60 pounds. I came to the conclusion that I was never going to be one of those women with the “basketball tummy”. I am the kind of woman who will blow up to astounding proportions, grow a belly outwards AND sideways, and birth wonderfully healthy 9 pound babies.
This was taken a few months before my first pregnancy. The stupid thing is, I thought I looked “so fat” in this picture: