Age : 28
Number of pregnancies : 2
I am a mom of two beautiful and I mean beautiful children. Not just saying that because I am mom ! My son was born ten years ago and two years or so after that, I completed an entry into this forum with photos. It was the scariest thing I had ever done. It was the first time anyone saw me naked, and in the light. It was the first time I shared my insecurities with what might as well have been the entire world. It was a freeing experience and though it did not resolve my body image issues, it did bring about a sense of adventure and a step into the unknown. It also allowed me to relate with hundreds of women and hopefully provide understanding with other women. Their comments truly made me smile. Their feedback was appreciated and it never left me, their words of positivity and wisdom.
I had my son at the young and impressionable age of 18. Back then media was worse than it is now. I was devastated to see the impact pregnancy and childbirth had on my body. I was a single parent , no visitation, nothing. Previous to that pregnancy I struggled with a major and almost deadly eating disorder. I was very small, underdeveloped. When I became pregnant I made the brave and selfless decision to devote every day to growing and making that little being as healthy as possible. For the first time, I ate and enjoyed meals. I gained a whopping 100 lbs. considering I was less than 100 prior to pregnancy, I gained a healthy weight and then a pregnancy weight. My son was born weighing in at 10.2.. I had major stitching, was hospitalized myself.
The years that followed were emotional not just with having a baby, but having a new and not improved (in my eyes) body, new relationships, new experiences at school. As my body shrunk back, I was left with thousands of stretch marks from arms to legs.. Deep and dark, lifeless breasts and a shredded stomach (not in a good way). I wore girdles , push up bras, I fake tanned, cream tanned, ran … I dedicated every ounce of my time to my body and what I thought could repair it, and my self esteem. I had relationships that failed, friendships that suffered and a lack of parenting found that I’ll never get back. I was receiving media messages that I could not filter. I had to be beautiful , I couldn’t afford it. What was I to do? My efforts in my own eyes were fruitless. Small improvements were made. Days were good, and then so low. I took photos of myself , I compared, I cried. I had sex with the lights off. I knew all the ways to conceal imperfections in moments that are meant to let go, be vulnerable. I had never been. I moved around , squirmed, sucked, tucked , rolled and mainly bent over for any intimate relationship. Imagining revealing my imperfections was mortifying. Imagining being abandoned for it was devastating, a nightmare.
Years later, I met my husband. This was after countless failed relationships. We met on a whim. An absolutely breath taking and handsome man. More than I could have imagined and a glowing loving personality that could not be beat. We fell in love. We made promises to help me become vulnerable. He was gentle and amazing and over the past four years of our marriage I have opened up more than I could have imagined. A man who loves me as I am. A year ago I had my daughter. The most beautiful creature I have ever seen, wild and gorgeous. My body minimally changed as I kept up my fitness in pregnancy and did yoga religiously (a huge passion of mine), but most of all I was grounded and loving and calm throughout my pregnancy. After having her I continued my fitness (which is much more to maintain my shape than for health) on a regular basis.
You know, I love my life, I love my husband but we live with more than just our children. We live with this angry other person in the room. Someone who tells me I am hideous and not good enough for my husband. That he deserves a woman with the perfect body, not me , used and destroyed …. I look back at my first pregnancy and I would do anything to go back and have more self restraint about food and knowledge about exercise. I ask why did this happen to me? Why did I get this body? Why do I work so hard to fix it all for nothing ? I see women in social media and the news and I cannot believe they have been so blessed with breasts and bodies and smiles and how were they dealt such an amazing hand ? I know I’ve read some stories here and then looked at the pictures and wondered , “what’s wrong with her !? She’s gorgeous!!” , but this is my personal fight and I try not to judge.
Body dysmorphic disorder is real. We don’t always see ourselves the way we are, or the way others do. I don’t have any answers. I have lots of questions and lots to learn. I feel always at the beginning of my body journey and nowhere near the end. I’m only here to bare all again and share and show and expose myself because it’s a tiny piece of my healing that I wish to share with you. I don’t wish you all to be cured in one day, I just hope like me, that you find small ways when and if you can on some days and moments in time to really be in the moment, as who you are , as you are feeling the wind or maybe the sun or maybe just observing what’s happening around you and that not every moment is spent with focus on what you are missing or what you want. Sometimes we have so much and we don’t notice until we stop time. All the best to you.