First, I love this site. I think it provides immeasurable comfort to moms from all walks of life, and I also feel it is a reality check for those who initially believe what they see in magazines represents a fair picture of most women.
I had my first son when I was 19. I was a size 8, 34D bra size then, and I weighed about 155 lbs. I delivered him at 38 weeks vaginally, and I weighed 205 lbs at that point. I wore a 40DDD bra when I first started breastfeeding (though that did settle into a 38DD as time went on). I weighed around 165lbs and wore a size 8/10 for the first year or so, and overall, I felt pretty “frumpy,” but honestly, it did not bother me much. I breastfed him until he was 22 months old!
I did not really mind the weight because I did not start out what most people consider thin, and my size just was not on my mind. I was married and outside of that, I did not consider my appearance.
When my son was 16 months old, my then husband and I separated and filed for a divorce, and suddenly, my appearance mattered once again – and it mattered a GREAT DEAL, and I essentially cut my eating in half, and I went down to 135lbs. At nearly 5’9”, this put me in a size 2/4. I admit, I was pleased with how I looked more so at 21 through about 23 than I had ever been as a teenager. My family is pretty vain in general, and the weigh loss brought it out in a big way in me. I was so happy to be thin, the fact I went from a 36D bra to a 34B bra was wonderful as well.
I met the man I married in the winter of 2004, and eventually, a complacency set in, and gradually, the weight crept back up, but honestly, he did not and does not mind, and I realized that the fight with food just was not worth it. By the time we married in 2006, I was in a size 6-8 and weighed about 155 lbs.
After the heartbreaking loss of my three younger siblings in a fire, any concern about weight and appearance drained totally out of me, and I went up to about 170lbs. Then, in March of 2008, I became pregnant with my second son after a miscarriage only the month before, and in October of 2008, weighing 200 lbs at 33 weeks, I had an Emergency C-section following multiple hospital stays for severe pre-eclampsia. Blood flow to the baby was severely compromised, and when they got him out, he was in the last 24 hours babies usually have of life upon blood flow being cut that strictly, but after 2 weeks in the NICU, he came home and has done so well! I pumped for quite sometime to keep milk for his IV, and then breastfed him until my milk supply went away with this current pregnancy when he was 9 months old.
My weight stayed around 168-170, wearing a size 10, thanks to breastfeeding until I found out I was pregnant in May of 2009. This will be my third BOY, and at 22 weeks, I now weigh 187lbs. My dad died in June this year, right after I found out I was pregnant, and soon after, I was diagnosed with a very enlarged aortic root valve which may dissect during pregnancy and needs replaced following pregnancy, at any rate. My blood pressure problem makes this condition worse, and I am considered about as high risk as a one can be, and the doctors have told me this has to be my last baby.
I suppose worries about the health of this baby, which will almost certainly be quite early, and how the pregnancy will effect my heart, all adds to the larger weight gain this time, but when you realize this is your last child, like it or not, weight gain as a result of a pregnancy is so trivial.
I do not think of pregnancy as something that breaks down the body, makes a woman incapable of even upholding the “ideal” body women as “supposed” to present because in my experience, life events outside of child birth, both good and tragic, led to my body changing and the insignificance of my weight, though I am aware of the changes and all, is amplified with it all.
Do not get me wrong, my weight bothers someone, actually quite a few people – even my 8 year old son and 5 year old sister make comments, as do my grandmother and mother, but I think the healthiest mindset is one that just shrugs it off as the minor thing that it is.
I am aware that I do not get attention from the opposite sex like I did at 135-140lbs, but at this point in my life, it just does not matter, and whether I have to look a bit longer for jeans and shirts that suit me is not something on my “worry” list. I would not say I am nearly as confident in my body and image at this size, overall, but I am confident as a person in ways beyond that.
I am 14 year vegetarian, so I obviously want to be healthy, but I think I can be okay at 170lbs, if that is what I weigh without having to worry over what I am eating.
Yes, I got stretch marks, varicose veins, floppy boobs (mainly because mine become SO very huge) and with effort on my part, it all looked pretty dang good while I worked to maintain it – – – it is just that the life I have been dealt in general has made all of the time put into that seem a bit wasted and the “end result” seems rather unimportant now, and maybe that is the better perspective in the first place. I love my boys, love eating things I enjoy and my husband really does not mind if I squish here and there. :)