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Win Some, Lose Some (Nicole)

July 28, 2014

Nobody ever told me what to expect after pregnancy…it really isn’t a topic that is discussed socially or in the media. In fact, if it were even commonly heard of, I have a feeling a lot of young women would do everything in their power to keep their ‘bikini bodies’ in tact.

I found out I was pregnant when I was 19, I had my daughter shortly after I turned 20. She has been the biggest blessing in my life, but I always look at my body and it brings back a woosh of emotion. Mainly sadness.

I was always a very attractive and desirable girl… flawless skin, size 1, flat tummy, & a good heart. I was never vain. The only body issues I had every had was I felt my breasts were too small, since early on in high school I’d stuck with a size 34B. I weighed 115 lbs. pre-pregnancy, one year after birth I now weigh 120. It’s an extra 5 pounds that are here to stay. After my pregnancy, I had attained a few stretch marks that were silver the whole time, I did not realize I had them until after I gave birth, it was very disappointing to discover that I did have them when I thought I had made it threw with none. My boyfriend kept reminding me throughout my pregnancy that if I did get stretch marks, he would not be attracted to me sexually anymore. I feel that his cruel, thoughtless remarks are the reason that I held postpartum depression for so long. Many other flaws that probably nobody else would even notice: my belly ring hole had stretched out, I have a pouch and a crease that makes me appear as though I had had a c-section even though I delivered vaginally, my weight redistributed [I now have size C breasts which solved my breast insecurities; they are not as perky as they once were, but that doesn't bother me], but along with that came wide hips & a lot of loose skin which makes it extremely difficult to find a pair of jeans or a shirt that fits me just right that flatters. Along with my new breasts, I gained a big booty after my pregnancy. And I like it!

Amongst many negatives and few positives, my metabolism slowed down dramatically making me prone to weight gain, which I am struggling with at the moment. It’s been extremely difficult for me to adjust from having a fast metabolism, eating what I want, when I want, to having to count every single calorie and carb to keep myself at a steady 120.
I know I have a lot to be thankful for, but I also can’t help but look at my appearance so critically. I am not who I used to be… no longer desired and flawless. So hard when all that men are programmed to appreciate is outer beauty and us women like to judge and compete for perfect figures. I have a beautiful and smart baby girl, and it seems so selfish to be worried about my appearance. My head tells me to knock it off & stop worrying about what others see because nobody is as critical to you as yourself. People say you come to terms with the changes, but I don’t think you do, you just learn to live with it because that is all you can do.

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3 Responses to “Win Some, Lose Some (Nicole)”

  1. Ashley Says:
    July 28th, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    You are wrong when you say that you do not come to terms with it. I had 6 babies in 6 consecutive years (no twins) and while I am at a very healthy weight, the weight is distributed differently and I have a saggy stomach and stretch marks…and I could care less about it. My husband adores me and thinks I am sexier then ever before, and do you know why? Because I am not the same person I used to be. I am older, wiser, and confident in myself because I know what REALLY matters in life. Honey, you are only choosing to look at the physical changes in you but you are failing to look at the ones you cannot see. If you choose to look at the things that matter, then believe me, you will be ten times sexier then before. Maybe your boyfriend was attractive and thats why he was appealing to you- but what kind of man was he in the inside? Obviously for him to say those things he wasn’t a real gem of a man. It goes to show that looks do not tell the whole story and the longer you choose to read a book beyond the cover, the more you will decide if it’s an amazing book or a terrible one. Do yourself a favor and read the inside of the book- there’s a lot there ;)

  2. Sara H Says:
    August 1st, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Hi Nicole,
    I hear what you’re saying. It’s difficult enough to get through life being comfortable in your own skin and just when you think you’re getting close, something happens, like pregnancy, that flips the switch once again.
    Our body goes through such a dramatic change in such a short period of time that most of us are left in shock.
    We constantly receive messages by society/media/even people we love (like your boyfriend) that our value is placed on our physical appearance instead of the beauty of life/motherhood.
    So it makes sense why we are left feeling so bad about ourselves after giving birth, then to add insult to injury, we feel bad about feeling bad!
    It’s really tragic that we are socialized to feel this way. It’s a difficult transition to adjust to a new way of thinking, but it’s possible.

    I used to be very athletic and fit. I danced and exercised everyday. People would comment how I was in good shape while I was content with my physical appearance, I was never TRULY happy and always overly critical of myself if I gained a few pounds or got a few zits.
    It didn’t help that I had a boyfriend who would drop subtle comments here and there that made me feel bad about myself, without me even realizing he was doing so until looking back later.
    We internalize all these little things and eventually one day we wake up and no longer see any beauty in ourselves.

    It took a really long time to change my self perception.
    It’s a different process for everyone but for me I needed to be sad for a while to grieve the loss of my former life and body so I could let those feelings go. Eventually, I was ready to pick myself up and forge ahead.
    I decided to remain single for a while, I became an activist involving issues I felt were important to me, I got rid of cable tv, I quit reading trash magazines and started reading empowering women’s magazines, I joined some women’s groups. Support from other women was incredibly helpful.
    Slowly but surely my focus shifted, my confidence grew, I was much happier with myself, and I no longer allowed anyone to treat me badly.

    The reality is, even if we do everything we can to “fix” our post-preg bodies, we are going to age regardless. Our skin, boobs, and butt are going to sag someday anyway. We are so much more than all of that:)
    I still value my physical body, just in a different way now. I have a profound respect for it and I will only remain in a relationship with someone who does as well.

    Hang in there, it’s a long journey but once you find the path that’s right for you, you’ll no longer feel lost.

    Best wishes to you and your baby :)

  3. Kat P Says:
    August 15th, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Hey Nicole,
    I just recently had my first baby (A healthy beautiful Baby Girl). In fact, I had her about 13 days before you posted this (July 15th). Your post caught my eye because, well, from you’ve said, I am a lot like you. I am 21 now but had always said I would NEVER have kids. Not because I don’t like babies (I love babies) but because I didn’t want the physical changes that came with them.
    I was always comfortable in my skin. I was an attractive girl never weighing more than 120 lbs. with a flat flawless stomach. I wore size 5 jeans on my long slender legs. The only things that I would have ever changed about my physical appearance was my teeth and I wanted smaller boobs (I was a 36D now Im a 36DD).
    The whole time I was pregnant I felt selfconcious because I was gaining weight and I also had a terrible fear of stretch marks and saggy boobs. By the time my due date arrived I felt completely undesirable (my boyfriend never said anything hurtful about the way I looked but he also never reasured me)and I just wanted to be done with everything related to being pregnant.
    I know its been only a month after delivery but now I weigh around 130 lbs. and I have a few stretch marks that have scarred my stomach (mine are a bright pink color). I can remember the first time I looked in the mirror after having my little girl and thinking that I didn’t look awful and I was glad that I could think that. However, there was that little piece of me that also thought that I was ruined.
    I still have to tell myself to ignore that part of me that isnt comfortable in this new skin but I also know that if I could go back in time I would choose to do almost everything the exact same way.

    I guess what Im trying to say is that this new flawed skin can be just as comfortable as my old flawless skin because of the simple fact that I know if I work hard enough I can at least resemble the old me. Yes, there will still be a few things (like the stretch marks) that I cant completely rid myself of but I can make them lighter and tighten up the loose skin. I didnt even know my mom had stretch marks until she pointed them out to me.

    I might have gained flaws but Ive also gained one of the greatest most beautiful (and at times the most annoying lol) gifts that life has to offer – My little girl, Sky.

    Im still struggling with body issues but I know one day Ill overcome them and I hope you can too.
    Im here to give you as much support as I can if you need it.
    Good Luck and take care of the precious Gift youve been given.

    <3
    Kat

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