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The Shadow Fear Casts is Often Bigger Than the Fear Itself (Anonymous)

January 27, 2012

My husband told me that I was beautiful every day of my pregnancy, including while I was in the hospital in labor. From day one, I was deathly afraid of the changes that my body would undergo. My mind was filled with all of the horror stories that I had heard about pregnancy and the recovery afterwards. Our pregnancy was not planned (though we welcomed it all the same), so I felt that I didn’t have time adequately prepare myself for those fears beforehand. My body was stretching changing and gaining weight and there was nothing that I could do about it. Everyday, I would look in the mirror and stare at my thickening thighs and butt as they lost the muscle definition that I had fought so hard to attain, and everyday, I felt my opinion of my appearance sink lower and lower. Everyone around me told me how great I was doing, how incredible I looked, etc. but all that I could see was the shapeless whale in the mirror. I heard a constant barrage of, “You’ve only gained 20 lbs? You’re kidding!” and other compliments, but I always worried that yes, I looked good today– but what about tomorrow? When would the stretch marks creep across my belly? Would the ones coming into my hips lengthen and spread, and turn to that angry red that I saw in pictures? Would my skin bag once I delivered? I became more obsessed with my appearance than I ever had been before, and despite my husband’s frequent efforts to cheer me up, I continued to run my own confidence down.
And after all of that worry, all of my stress, I had gained only 21 lbs when I delivered at 41 1/2 weeks. My girl was big, strong and healthy, but I hadn’t gained much at all. The only stretch marks I had gotten were a smattering of tiny dents on my hips and I was 10 lbs under my prepregnancy weight by 8 days postpartum. I was terrified that my body would change and never be the same again, but I was in my prepregnancy jeans by 3 weeks. Why in the world did I sit there and torment myself for 8 months? Even if I had struggled to recover after birth, what profit would I have gotten from all of that stress and worry? I wore myself down for months with what I “knew” would happen to my body and very little of it even came to pass. What I learned from my pregnancy and postpartum period was that there’s no use killing myself over what might happen. Instead, I need to calm down and take things in stride, dealing with problems when they actually arise.

Age: 21
Number of children: My one little girl
How old: She is 8 weeks old, though I took the picture a few weeks ago.

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2 Responses to “The Shadow Fear Casts is Often Bigger Than the Fear Itself (Anonymous)”

  1. JN Says:
    January 31st, 2012 at 8:30 am

    You look amazing :)

    I, too beat myself up for the entire 9-months of pregnancy, terrified by the changes my body would undergo after I had my bub.

    Once I had him, and the changes were minimal… I looked back and wished I hadn’t spent so much time fretting!

    It’s a crazy hormonal time… and I think the feeling of being ‘out of control’ of the changes happening to our bodies is one of the things which makes it the most difficult.

    You look gorgeous, mama! You should feel very proud of all that your body has accomplished, and look in the mirror and feel confident that you’re a beautiful looking woman, whose body has done something absolutely incredible :)

    xo

  2. D Says:
    January 31st, 2012 at 11:21 am

    You look fantastic! I’m glad the experience changed your outlook for the better.

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