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You’re really lovely, underneath it all (Amber)

March 14, 2010

Being an only child, the first things I was told by my mother when I told her I was first pregnant were the horror stories of how her pregnancy was so horrible and that is why she only had one. When I developed stretch marks, she blamed me for not using enough lotion because she never had any. When my milk came in, she commented on how huge my breasts were, how strange my nipples looked, and when I weaned my first, she commented on how ugly my deflated breasts were. It was one insult after another from the only woman I confided and trusted in for pregnancy and postpartum support, my own mother.

My stretchmarks on my breasts (going from size B to D) were bright purple and surrounded my nipples like the rays of the sun. Up and down my hips, thighs, and sides were more “tiger stripes” – my adult cousin
actually pulled me aside and asked what was causing my bruising, if my husband was beating me. Everyone around me seemed to be pointing at something being wrong with me, wrong with my body, and that I was at
fault for it all.

I’ve learned over time and maturity, that my body is beautiful as it is. I don’t need to hide it, if someone has a problem with it, the problem lies solely with them inside their heads. I have breastfed both of my children for a total of 28 months at this point and we are expecting our 3rd child any day now – I plan to breastfeed him until I am depleted of fat as well. I started out in a size 10, after weaning baby #1, I was a size 6. After weaning baby #2, I was a size 4. I gained 60 lbs with each pregnancy, though only 45 lbs with this one. I’m 5’9″ and have a thin build, people who see me clothed after birth always think I have a perfect, childless body – but you know what? It’s really lovely, underneath it all, just in a different and more admirable way, in a way that has supported life to the fullest extent!

~Age: 29
~Number of pregnancies and births: 4 pregnancies, 3rd vaginal birth any
day now
~The age of your children, or how far pregnant you are: 4 years, 2.5
years, and 35 weeks pregnant currently in photos

Updated here.

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22 Responses to “You’re really lovely, underneath it all (Amber)”

  1. scs Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I love the attidude in the note and that is so true. if someone has a problem with how I look its in their head. I love that.

  2. Xtal Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    It sounds like your Mother has a problem with herself, you look great!

  3. Tabi Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Your breasts look great! So..stretchmarks from previous pregnancies don’t get dark again when you’re pregnant again? Mine have faded a lot (the ones I got on my breasts during my first and so far only pregnancy) but I have been wondering whether the old one will darken up again if I ever have another baby? If anyone knows from experience, I’d appreciate some insight!

  4. KW Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    What an admirable dose of maturity and confidence! I think a lot can benefit by your attitude, and it’s a very good point that when a lot of unjustified or irrational criticism comes from someone, it’s usually some personal issues on their own that are causing them to project it on others. If someone is rude to me for no apparent reason, I let them vent and hope it helps them find some sort of peace, since I know it really doesn’t have to do with me. It’s not easy, though!! Not at all.

    You have a lovely, round belly and I wish my boobs were that perky! Best of luck with your delivery! :)

  5. Sheila Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Your pictures are beautiful! You have a beautiful body and I can’t even see any traces of your stretch marks in the pictures. Your skin looks flawless! I have the same stretch marks as you have… not from pregnancy – surprisingly I didn’t get any more during pregnancy – but from puberty. At the time I was so self conscious of the radiating purple marks on my breasts and tiger stripes on my sides. Even though they have long since faded I have had many inappropriate comments from others as well. Seriously, have people never seen a stretch mark? It took me a long time to accept them and not care what other people thought. Funny that although I didn’t get them from pregnancy, motherhood has made me even more proud of my imperfections. You rock that beautiful body mama :)

  6. courtney Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Oh wow you look lovely!

    Some mothers are just like that and it usually means they are not happy within themselves. I’m sorry to hear that but I think she sounds like the type of mother who if you confronted her and tell her that she has hurt your feelings she would be horrified at the thought of hurting you. I hope that ya’ll do work it out.

    But you are truly beautiful and you look amazing pregnant. I bet you also look really awesome not pregnant too! ;)

    Lovely skin, lovely breast, lovely shape.

    Best of luck to you.

  7. courtney Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Lovely breasts* lol. sorry. typing too fast. :)

  8. Judith Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Reading this mail made me so angry – I understand how it felt to have your mother criticise negatively about you – no amount of cream will stop stretch marks -they come from underneath the skin and all cream will do is keep skin on top supple. As for your breasts, well done you for giving your babies the best start in life – a true gift from a mother to child. You look fantastic in these pregnant photos and your breasts are still beautiful as is the rest of your body. Your mum is clearly jealous – it’s her problem not yours so tell her diplomatically to get over it and concentrate on her body not on yours. Your husband loves you as you are and so should you. Even older bodies sag and stretch without having had pregnancies.

  9. Susy Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    You look so amazing. You’re all baby. I don’t know what these women are talking about!

  10. Alicia Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    First off, I can’t help but say I can’t believe your own mother would say those things about you. That is just plain awful. You are beautiful and if I were you I would tell my mother that, too. I am just glad you could see past what she was saying and realize she doesn’t quite know what she is talking about. :]
    … Oh, and I love the No Doubt song you referenced by the way! ^___^

  11. Samantha Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    You look great and have a wonderful outlook! Congrats on your third!!!

  12. Emma Says:
    March 15th, 2010 at 1:10 am

    I think your mother is very wrong. She should be the support in your life.
    I think your body looks really great and sexy and I do wish you the best.

  13. Jessica Says:
    March 15th, 2010 at 7:45 am

    You’re perfect – really, so beautiful.

  14. Amanda Says:
    March 15th, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Oh my goodness, I was so taken aback when I saw the photos; you are so beautiful! I can’t believe you’ve endured anything but compliments, especially from your own family. And I am so sorry to hear it. You are lovely, really and truly :)

  15. Amy Says:
    March 15th, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I’m so sorry about your mum and i’m glad you haven’t taken it to heart. There is no reason for her to say those things other than to intentionally upset you, she has problems. most people don’t have boobs that good even before having kids, let alone three and b’feeding them all.

  16. Catherine S Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 5:03 am

    Your body is nothing short of perfection!!! Your family is nutty if they don’t think so too. Have you shown your mother this site? So she can be educated about how women look after having children? Some women truly just don’t know about all the changes that can happen because nobody ever told or showed them.

    I didn’t get stretch marks from pregnancy, but I got them on my breasts, hips, and thighs from growing and gaining weight quickly in puberty. There is nothing wrong with them, and I still rock a bikini:)

    You are gorgeous!!

  17. Amber Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Thank you for your wonderful comments on my post!

    @Tabi: My stretchmarks were bright purple from my 1st, but they faded to silvery white gouges several months postpartum and since my skin had stretched so much that first time so quickly, it was all stretched out and I haven’t developed any more dark stretchmarks from the next 2 pregnancies! My body is covered in silvery wagon ruts of stretchmarks now. So no, in my case, I didn’t develop new stretchmarks with each new pregnancy, just the first stretch out! (the ones on my sides never faded, they are so deep, you can see in the photos – they are wide and thick, the elastin in my skin is completely destroyed there – I call them my mama tiger stripes)

    @KW: Thank you, I’ll post update photos as my body changes more postpartum and you’ll see that my breasts resemble deflated balloons – they are perky in these pix due to my milk coming in :-) Once again, a beautiful thing to be able to nourish a child.

    @Catherine: No, I have not shown my mother this website. I am an OC native and well, as anyone who read the OC register article posted and reader comments from this week, that attitude is what I have come to expect from everyone I have ever known growing up in that area, including my mother. We actually just finally (thank goodness) moved out of Irvine last summer and I am SO thankful to be raising our children in a place where all shapes of bodies are common and readily accepted. Most likely, nudity would be viewed as offensive and shameful and the point missed completely.

    Thank you all again for your many positive comments, I will update as my body changes and send in more photos – my body changes so much from pregnancy through postpartum and looks almost masculine at the end of breastfeeding, I think it would be helpful for others to be able to see and relate over time! Best to you all!!!

  18. Catherine S Says:
    March 18th, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Hey Amber! Yep, just read the comments and the asshats missed to point entirely. They are debating being overweight and that really has nothing to do with what SOAM is about. It is about physical changes that very often have nothing to do with weight. For me, I weighed 145 when I got pregnant and 132 about 5 months after my son was born and I am a bit of a yoga junkie. My body STILL changed with a CS scar and more south pointing breasts and I am not at all ashamed or sad about those changes.

    Wow, is the culture really like that in So Cal to that extreme? That is really scary. Ugh, so sad to read what those people said… horrible, cruel, inaccurate, and inhuman. I am so happy for you that you have been able to ignore those attitudes and love your children and yourself enough to find a better way to live.

  19. Kandis Says:
    March 21st, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    you are beautiful!! I have those “tiger stripes” before I got pregnant I got them at the age of 13.
    Thank you for posting your story. I am sorry that your mother talked down to you like that =(

  20. kimber Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 10:04 am

    my boobs are covered in marks and i just went and bought a bathing suit that would give me some support. it’s a v-neck though and i don’t know if i’ll be brave enough to wear it, you can totally see my stripes! we’ll see, it’s a few months til summer still …

  21. Greg Says:
    May 1st, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Amber, you look great in these photos!

  22. Amber Says:
    September 23rd, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you all for your kind words! I have just sent in updated photos as I have weaned our 3rd baby (shown in the pregnancy photos of this post) and want to show you what the end result is here at the end of my childbearing years! I’m so thankful for the support and bond formed through women by validating your body, even if you don’t need other’s words to validate, it is good to stand up and say I AM JUST FINE THE WAY I AM! Thank you for helping me to declare that! Updated pix coming soon…just emailed them to Bonnie today!

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