28 years old/ 1 pregnancy/1 birth/12 months postpartum
First off, I would like to say that I appreciate this site and the support that it offers to mothers. I have been visiting it ever since I was about 7 months pregnant, and it has been cathartic to me and my struggle with my body. Here is my story:
I grew up thick. Being classified as an African American, thick connotates having a little extra meat to love on your body. My parents, family, and friends never criticized my looks and I always felt like I was accepted. After leaving for college, I developed some poor eating habits( eating fast food everyday) and I topped out weighing about 185lb and being a size 12. Im 5’8 so it didnt look bad, but I wasn’t healthy. One day in 2006, I looked at my body in the mirror, and I hated the reflection. So I did something about it. I joined a fitness center, and with the help of a personal trainer, I dropped 40lb and got down to a size 4. My confidence and self esteem went through the roof! And I was beating the men off needless to say….I met my husband during this physical journey also. After having quite a few ups and downs over the next two years, we decided to consciously get pregnant.
After making this decision to bring life into this world, I was pregnant two weeks later! We were happy and excited to have a combination of ourselves coming into our lives. I had bad morning sickness until I was five months pregnant, and lost a few lbs, but after the sixth month, I was hungry again!!! I got to about 34 weeks with no stretch marks, until one morning I noticed one creeping up the bottom of my belly. It was a wrap after that. Everyday it seemed I developed a new mark. I had a really hard time accepting this. I had hoped to be one of the “lucky” ones, and not have any, and I slathered on raw shea butter and oil daily. Needless to say, as She grew, I was covered in stretch marks. And I gained a hearty 36lbs. From side to side, past my belly button, which looked weird and popped out. I went past my due date, which was June 7th.
Early in my pregnancy, I had planned to have a natural birth. I exercised throughout my pregnancy, ate heartily and prepared myself mentally with childbirth classes and lots of reading. The OB decided to break my water on June 9th. I chose a hospital that had nurses familiar with the natural birthing process, and they allowed me lots of movement during my labor. I even got to get in the shower while I was transitioning, which kept me from losing my mind! My daughter was born on June 10th, unmedicated, and when her head popped out I didn’t feel anything but joy! (Seriously) She opened her eyes and looked around the room before her body was out. It was the best experience of my life, and I will never forget that day.
I had a minor tear that took three stitches, and I was ok with that. But back to my body. My tummy was black and wrinkly at first. I used belly bandits to shrink it and I nursed my daughter until she was 6 months old. I did have tummy skin that I was unfamiliar with. How am I going to fix this? So about 2 weeks after I began walking, and as the months went on I gradually increased my activity. I had a lot of support from my husband to work out, despite whatever issues we had. I was a full time student, and I managed to stay in school, work out, and take care of my daughter. I had help from family and friends, and I’m very thankful for that. I know some women aren’t as blessed. I lost all my weight plus some by the time she was 9 months, but still was paranoid about my marks and extra skin. My husband and I had a lot of problems and this made me feel worse.
I started P90x about 2 months ago, and it really helped tone up my midsection and whole body. I still have the marks and skin, but you can hardly see it. It still moves and flaps a bit when I sit down. I have thought about tummy tucks, but I actually am fitter now and look better in clothes now than before I had her. The jury is still out about the tummy tucks…I don’t have the money, and the down time could drive me crazy. I’m a fitness junkie now.
Thank you for reading this long post, I have been waiting over a year to submit it. I am including some pictures of my stomach and breasts, as well as a picture of my love, Aashima. I feel like more of woman now, I have so much motivation to be successful, and I owe it to her.
The pictures are all 12 months postpartum. And the photo of Aashima is at 8 months.