Having see others’ grossed out reaction to their own and others’ stretched out bellies while I was growing up, had me feeling like it was gross, ugly, shameful, etc. Just make sure to cover it up and tuck it in really well into your control top pantyhose, and make sure you forever and ever work on losing that last few pounds, lamenting all the extra skin you now have, etc, etc.
Then came my turn to have a baby, after 4 years of barrenness, aching to have a child to hold and love. Before I was 12 weeks along, I had stretch marks forming. By the time I hit my third trimester, my belly looked like a giant cat had clawed my stomach, as I had 4 huge ragged red lines on either side of my belly button running from level with my belly button down to the waistline of my panties. (I still wish I’d taken pictures of that stage!) By the time my son was born, my belly was covered with stretch marks, from 2 inches under my bust all the way down. After my son was born, I was looking at my reflection, and my first thought was, “Now I have an ugly belly”, but you know what? I don’t! It’s not perfect, but it wasn’t perfect before. The ugly is all in how you think about it. My body will never be the body it was before I had kids, but I have my kids now. I now have a droopy belly button; a little “apron” of extra skin from stretching so far, (over 13 inches gained around my waist during my last pregnancy!) so fast, so many times in such little time (3 fullterm pregnancies in 4 years); my belly will never again be smooth skin; BUT, I have 3 adorable little ones that are growing, learning, and surprising me daily with the things they know and do. No “perfect” body could replace my kiddos! I wouldn’t trade them for anything, not even my prebaby body!
The three non pregnant photos are current. The three hugely pregnant photos are the day before each of my three kids was born.
Pregnancies and births: 5 pregnancies, 2 early miscarriages, and 3 live births
Children’s ages: 3 1/2, 2, infant, 15 weeks postpartum