Previous post here.
My Age: 28
I have two children, aged 3 years 3 months, and 7 weeks.
Seven weeks ago I gave birth to my second daughter. She was my triumphant VBAC, and her birth healed the wound that my cesarean had left in my heart. My body is amazing; we knew what we wanted and by golly, we got it.
And yet…it didn’t exactly go as planned. Nowhere near it, actually. Six days past my due date I developed even worse oligohydramnios than I had with my first. I was sent for an induction; a long, drawn-out process in which pitocin was a last resort because of my previous cesarean. I wanted an all-natural birth. I’ve spent years of my life planning for one, convincing myself that the pain of labor was manageable. The pitocin proved me wrong, and my daughter was born with an epidural after 30 hours of induction and 14 hours of active labor. I pushed her out under my own power, and that’s what’s most important, but the irritation over how medicated her birth was dampened some of the ecstasy I expected to feel.
When I last posted I was fretting over my inability to gain weight, and boy did that change fast. Between my 20 and 24 week appointments, I put on 9 pounds. It continued to shoot up and by the end I had gained 42 pounds (39 of that in the second half of my pregnancy). I don’t know if it was because I had developed habits of eating calorie-dense foods since I wasn’t eating much, or because I essentially starved for 4 months, but even through the lingering nausea it added up. It distressed me to get so close to 200 pounds for the first time in my life (196), but I figured my body knew what it needed.
I’ve lost about 20 pounds or so…maybe a little more. At any rate I seem to have hit that wall where nothing more is going to come off until I make an effort. I WILL make the effort this time, but I’m not ready yet. These two little girls are more important to me than exercise and worrying about calories right now. I once again came out without stretch marks on my tummy. The ones on my thighs and hips spread a little bit (I gain all of my weight in my thighs), and new ones appeared on my love handles. Actually, just one love handle—the left one is covered and the right side only has one lonely stretchie. My biggest problem with them is that they’re not symmetrical! Seriously, how do you grow symmetrically and only one side stretches? It doesn’t make any sense.
Am I at peace with my new body? No, not really. I only have one pair of pants that “fits” (even my maternity pants were too small by the end). My thighs rub together a LOT when I walk. My breasts are larger than ever (32K) and uneven because I’m nursing. I have a little new mommy pooch and—most distressing to me—my face got fatter. But these “flaws” do not consume my every waking moment. I see them, they register, but then I think, “man, I’m sexy”. I carried two babies, I rocked out a VBAC, I breastfed/feed both (the little one nurses like a champ). My husband thinks I’m irresistible. The women in my life tell me I look great (in clothes, of course). I haven’t learned to say “thank you” yet without pointing out a perceived flaw, but I’m getting there. I want my daughters to see confidence. I see the extra weight as something temporary and therefore not something to obsess about.
When I last posted, I decided to include my face in this one (finally!). Then I received a message on Facebook from a man I had never met asking if I was the poster and, frankly, that creeps me out. I understand how it’s possible, but tracking me down took a not-insignificant amount of effort when I obviously chose to remain semi-anonymous for a reason. The fact that it was a man and not another woman just added to the creeptastic factor. Maybe I’ll get brave eventually, but this time isn’t it. I’ll include a lovely silhouette of myself that my husband (accidentally) took at 24 weeks, but that’s as close as I can get this time.
The pictures are 24 weeks pregnant, 40 weeks pregnant, and 6 weeks postpartum.