Firstly I must say how amazing all the women are who have had the courage to reveal themselves proudly and honestly on this site. Also how much I admire women who are proud of their bodies, stretch marks and all, for bringing their babies into the world.
Before getting pregnant I had already started putting on weight heading towards my 30th birthday and had started going to the gym. After just four weeks of this regime I found out I was pregnant. Like many women, in the beginning I didn’t put on that much weight or have stretch marks, it all happened within the space of a week and it was absolutely crushing after trying so hard to be healthy. I was crestfallen, along with swollen ankles, pregnancy to me was not a ripe, luscious time, and I felt huge and ungainly. I wanted to feel that earth mother beauty, but I just felt awkward and huge.
It is a given that I would have done all this again to have my son with me, but it doesn’t take away the shame I feel towards my body and my resentment that it hasn’t bounced back the way I had hoped. I can’t wear the fashion that I want, and must cover my belly with daggy, loose clothes. Shopping has become a downer. It is something I think of everyday. The sleep deprivation that comes with having babies makes anyone feel weak. Things like a poor self-image get blown out of proportion, that’s what makes the post-partum period so hard. Add to this a hard birth and you’ve got the agony and ecstasy of birth/babies all rolled into one.
From the beginning of pregnancy, to now 4.5 months afterwards, I have felt the most unsexiest I have ever felt in my life (now about a year). I have struggled to remain positive about myself and to just bask in the glow of the birth of my absolutely divine boy. It hasn’t come easy and some days I feel like my self-esteem is the lowest it has ever been. My wonderfully supportive partner urges me to have nights off and go out with my friends once in a while, but truly I am embarrassed to go to out to see some music or out in public because I feel so self-conscious and awkward about my body and imagine acquaintances will talk about how much I have let myself go and finding clothes to wear is a drag. Added to this is the fact that almost all my friends who have had children look smaller then they did when before they gave birth. Sometimes nature is fickle and cruel. That breastfeeding helps you lose the pounds is one of the greatest myths of all; for many yes; but I don’t think it has really helped me, apart from being an amazing bonding experience with my son and giving me a ravenous appetite.
This site has been such a help for me, to realize the dignity and power of the female body in giving and nourishing life. Each day I try to remember this, but often I fall prey to the imagery surrounding me everyday. Hollywood has a lot to answer to with its applause of women who starve and exercise themselves straight after giving birth to attain that perfect post-pregnant body.
Just to end this, the one thing however I do love is the soft feel of my belly and its stretch marks, it fascinates me everyday, even if it may appear grotesque to mainstream society, I do see them as life’s natural tattoos.
Number of pregnancies/births: One.
Age of Child: 5 months, 5 months postpartum