Number of pregnancies/births: 1
Child’s age: 5
I’ve been debating a submission to SOAM for a long time. What vulnerability! I’m no longer a new mother, but the message of this site is very deeply important to me.
I got pregnant at 19- our heads in the clouds, neither of us having anything to our names but hopeless romanticism. He moved in with my mom and I, and we carried on in our little haven above the garage.
My pregnancy was a dream. Aside from a little sciatica and heartburn, I was generally comfortable and happy, somehow avoiding stretchmarks until at least 8 months, wearing heels to work up to the week of my due date. I felt like I could take on the world- my body was made for carrying this baby. Before getting pregnant, I’d always been bigger than my peers, picked on, and though I never agreed, the doctors termed me “obese” from puberty on; I was built like a woman from the gate (like a “brick shithouse,” if you’d have asked my lover. haha) Pregnant, I ate well, but was sedentary, and so gained above what they recommend- at least enough to warrant a talking-to from my midwife.
Our birth was everything I could have wanted. I went into sudden fast labor at one o’clock the morning after my due date, contractions strong and close. We drove an hour to the birthing center, where I labored in a warm bath, both of us sleepless and exhausted, squeezing hands over the lip of the tub, and falling asleep between every contraction. Our daughter was born 7 hours later, came tumbling limp like a bag of blood and bones, all wide eyed and peaceful. We slept and fed and showered, went home and slept as a family some more.
I was in complete awe of what my body had done, but it was also a very strange thing to me for awhile after. It felt like all my guts just fell into the empty space my baby left, in some heavy bulging jumble, and it was hard to even breathe. It felt foreign. But I breastfed, I healed fast, and everything went back to relative normalcy, just bigger and squishier than before- angry stretchmarks (which have since faded to white,) enormous breasts which fluctuated erratically with breastfeeding.
We bought a house when our daughter was a year old, and she weaned herself around 18 months. I remained inactive, my boyfriend and I ate very badly, and I struggled with some medical problems, including extreme energy deficiency to the point of daily tears, unable to find answers. I was a miserable person, who was literally sleeping her life away. The number on the scale crept slowly up over the next couple of years, 180 being my heaviest.
So I made some major changes. I switched my diet to the extreme, which helped my energy enormously. Then, my boyfriend got involved with martial arts. He eventually convinced me to join him, and a fire was sparked. I had energy. I was learning, and passionate, and had confidence, and was getting strong and leaning out in the process. I’ve been there for almost 3 years now, eventually joining their fitness program too- I am mentally a completely different person, and in the search for a healthy mind, my body was also transformed. I have such fire for health that I can’t wait to share with my daughter as her own little body and brain grow and change. I’ve learned to love myself wholly- the muscles I’ve developed, skin problems, stretch marks, thunderous thighs, strong arms, deflated breasts and all. This is me- a mother, and what my postpartum body has settled into.
Please excuse my disheveled bedroom- this is also me, a messy mother ;)