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6 Years Later and I’m Still Searching for Peace (Anonymous)

As a woman it’s no secret that weight has always played a pivotal role in my self-image. It was never just my weight, though. I’ve also struggled with bad acne for over 20 years, very thin & fine hair and rippling cellulite (even at 105 lbs). After my pregnancies, when the stretch marks came along, it simply added insult to my already depleted self-imagery. My youngest is 6 years old and I am still coming to terms with my post pregnancy body. I had no idea it would be this hard. As I’ve grown more secure as a woman I have found self love for who I am on the inside, and I do have days where I am content with who I am on the outside a well. But it is a constant and never ending battle to force myself into believing that I really am pretty when all I see is a marred body. There’s also the raging jealousy. I see women, online and in real life, with babies/kids who have these wonderful post baby bodies and I scream inside, “WHY NOT ME?!” I feel grossly cheated. With all the other body issues I have -issues that have caused me sizable self loathing- it seems cruel that I wasn’t given at least one reprieve. Of course, I feel like a terrible person for even thinking how unfortunate I am because I know there are people with real body problems that extend beyond the scope of vanity. Knowing that, however, does little to soothe the soul when every glance in the mirror is a reminder of the pain inside. I don’t want to look good for a mother. I want to look good as a woman, period. But I am a mother. And I do have a mother’s body. I have stretch marks extending down from my boobs to my thighs. I have excess skin draped across my abdomen which I tuck discreetly into my jeans. I have boobs that sag half way down my torso and then fall into my armpits when I lay flat on my back. I have cellulite that extends further down my legs with each passing year despite the cardio, squats and leg lifts. My hair is growing thinner with each year and despite using every product under the sun for acne (both OTC and prescribed) I still break out every single day. My only comfort is in knowing that I clean up nice. With the right bra, the right clothes, the right concealer and the right hair products, I can pull off being attractive. I literally feel a sense of being high on the days when I can pull myself together nicely, but it’s always overshadowed by the thought that underneath it all I’m still a mess. When I take a running tab of my body flaws I wonder how it is ever going to be possible to love myself completely when there is so much that causes me sadness. True beauty first radiates from the inside, yes, but outer beauty sure does help! So, every day I’ve been trying a little harder to love myself more than the day before. Some days are better than others. Some days I feel alive and sexy and wonderful and other days I’m vulnerable to self-deprecation. In the end, this is me. This is the only me I am ever going to have and if that means really trying to embrace the very things I hate the most, then so be it. I can no longer continue to be disgruntled all the time. It’s exhausting and detracts from the good person I know I am inside. Yes, I’ve embarked on a journey of self-acceptance and unwavering love. And I hope to one day be able to accept the compliments tossed my way with staunch gratefulness. More than that, I want to believe them to be true! If, however, before then, I find myself in the company of several thousand extra dollars you can bet your sweet ass that I will be exercising my right to dial-a-surgeon.

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21 comments… add one
  • Sarah Saturday, September 22, 2007, 12:08 pm

    I know how you feel. I also have thin hair and cellulite even when I was a hundred pounds. I want you to know that the first photo took my breath away. It was the first one I laid eyes on. It’s gorgeous… beautiful. I love it. You have a beautiful body and your breasts are very beautiful, too. If you ever get sick of them, give me a call… maybe we can switch for a day LOL. :)

  • R Saturday, September 22, 2007, 12:14 pm

    Gotta say, I was not expecting those photos after that post. I know self image is a high hurdle to get past, but you are really not what you think you are. You are lovely.

  • Kristen Saturday, September 22, 2007, 12:45 pm

    I think you’re beautiful. While I’ve never had a child, most of your entry, I feel I could’ve written as well.

    I know what we see in the mirror is different than what the rest of the world sees. In those pictures, I see a beautiful, feminine shape that I know many would be envious of. :)

  • Heather Saturday, September 22, 2007, 1:52 pm

    I freaking love you. LOL That seems so raw after your eloquence, but seriously, that was all that kept running through my head. I think more women who exude self-confidence and security with their bodies (pre, post, or never having had a baby, period) feel more like you do than you think. As a doula, I tend to see pregnancy a lot differently than I used to! I used to think pregnant women looked funny and unbalanced – like at any moment, they were going to fall forward, etc. Now I see sheer miraculousness (if that’s a word!). Birth after birth, it never ceases to amaze me that some little person was LIVING in another person for 9 months and then they are born and it marks the start of a whole new journey for everyone involved. I hope your self-image continues to improve and that you continue to speak up! You have such a great written voice and I think you could help more women than you realize! Thank you so much for sharing with us!!!

  • Corrie Saturday, September 22, 2007, 6:41 pm

    OMG I could have written what you just did. Although you look 100x better than I do…

    I know no words will change the desire to dial-a-surgeon (I’m about to due to spinal problems due to my boobs and weight), I think you look GREAT!!!!

    Women are so much more sexy when their bodies have character than when they show bones jutting out at every angle…

  • B Saturday, September 22, 2007, 7:37 pm

    you are a freakin’ rock star! so stunning! body, face, and soul. be proud mama!

  • elizabeth Saturday, September 22, 2007, 8:16 pm

    Your text is just awesome! your words describe so well how so many of us feel… if not ALL Of us!! You are gorgeous; and that is as a woman!

  • Gina Sunday, September 23, 2007, 7:51 am

    I think you look absolutely amazing!!! You are VERY beautiful and your body looks fantastic!
    I wish I looked half as good as you do :)

  • Christa Sunday, September 23, 2007, 9:59 am

    Wow. I loved your post. I think you put into words so beautifully how many women feel inside, even despite how they look on the outside. I think we are all too critical of our bodies, and in our own minds, we feel we look a lot worse than we actually do. After reading your post I scrolled down and the pictures took my breath away. I wasn’t execting to see something so beautiful after hearing such ugly words. Your picutres are stunning, and I really wish you could see that. I hope you can read to comments here are come to see in time that you are not how you think you are, even if you have thin hair and cellulite. And remember, lots of women have those things, and all the pictures you see on tv of these flawless women are not real. they have had procedures/surgery no doubt to defy what childbirth and time has done to their bodies. As you put it, they “clean up nice”! lol

  • Alana Sunday, September 23, 2007, 9:28 pm

    I think your boobs are great! Perfect and beautiful! My boobs are saggy after nursing 3…still nursing the 3rd. Atleast your nipple point up…mine are looking at my shoes! You have awsome boobs!

  • Ruth Monday, September 24, 2007, 11:36 pm

    You are soooo beautiful and very feminine. You have such a luck with your body. I have very thin hair, too, like everybody in my family, and this is a very common thing. And I know many women with thick hair who tell me “ah, I would like to have thinner hair, I can’t do ANY hairstyle with them because they are too thick and heavy” :-) You see, the medal has another side. I have never been pregnant and I have lots of cellulite and stretch marks, too. And most men don’t care at all about these details. And I have also a male friend who finds it very sexy and feminine. Please try to accept yourself because if such a beauty like you are doesn’t accept herself, what should all the other people like me do??? ;-)

  • Deb Saturday, September 29, 2007, 8:06 pm

    The images that our general public shuns are the VERY images that make your photograph so perfect. I mean, they are luminous! Absolutely perfect in your heavenly imperfections…

  • Diva Monday, October 1, 2007, 3:24 am

    I’m going to let you in on a little secret honey…….we’re ALL a mess underneath it all!!! Like you, we just know how to clean ourselves up nicely, with the unintended side effect that we all believe each other’s smoke and mirrors and beat ourselves up if our own smoke and mirrors aren’t quite as good as the ones we see around us!This site is making a real difference for women everywhere, and now, you are part of that.
    Your photos are beautiful, your curves are gorgeous and you really are all that!I wish you much self-love in your future – remember, nothing’s sexier than self-confidence!

  • Bethie Tuesday, October 2, 2007, 12:17 am

    you look great! I love the sexy picture of you on the bed :)

  • Krista Tuesday, October 2, 2007, 6:38 pm

    Hey there,
    I just have to say that you’re pictures are beautiful. I had a baby 9 months ago. I am 5 1′ and had a baby boy weighing in at 10lbs 1oz. I know what the stretch marks and saggy skin and boobs feel like. I have similar feelings to what you are going through. But before I read your text, I first looked at your pictures. My first thought was, wow this woman has such an honorable and beautiful confidence, which is so sexy! And the funny thing is I was watching the morning show today and they were talking about sex blunders. The male guest on the show said that he could care less about cellulite and stretch marks, it’s a confident woman that turns him on. Your first black and white photo made me think of a confident woman. It made me feel inspired to want to take similar pictures of myself! You make it look good girl! Be proud of that body!!!

  • Carolyn Tuesday, November 20, 2007, 6:40 am

    I could’ve written that myself. When I started to read your text I thought someone had written it about me. I am soooo like you it isn’t funny and oh, if only I could ever trully love me for just me, life would be good. It is hard and it is harder with each passing year. You are not alone.

  • Melissa Thursday, January 31, 2008, 11:50 pm

    From what you described in the intro i was expecting to see something much worse. YOu look INCREDIBLE!! I don’t see how your hair is thinning how you have excessive cellulite, or how your brests are saggy!

  • keya Monday, May 5, 2008, 9:31 pm

    I feel exactly the same way .I 115 pounds and after my pregancies I have saggy chest,butt,and legs and I an small girl.Im 22 yearsold and I felt like I have an 40 yearold body.

  • mrs. petunia Friday, August 15, 2008, 7:55 pm

    I know this post is really late and am not sure if you’ll read it but….I must share. I got my first zit at the age of nine and those joyous explosions erupted across my face every freakin day for the next 19 years, despite every topical cream and acne pill imaginable, until…..ACCUTANE! I was really scared to take it, imagining every horrible side effect posted, but was just so incredibly sick of slathering on the foundation with a spatula and spending hours in front of the mirror trying to determine if that whitehead was indeed ready to pop, that I finally bit the bullet and did it. Really and truly my only regret is that I didn’t do it years earlier-why all the suffering? The side effects were actually pretty minimal (flaking dry skin, chapped lips, bloody boogers)and the rewards-phenomenal. I haven’t gotten a zit in months-MONTHS!!! This to could be you ;) If you’re still plagued by acne do not delay! I’m telling you that shit is magic!

  • jcmc Sunday, August 31, 2008, 4:16 pm

    I, like you and many others, have been plauged with acne since puberty as well. Although the birth control pill seemed to diminish the effects of acne for years…it came back which vengence when trying to and becoming pregnant. I understand the emotional struggle that accompanies acne as well as the changes that occur after pregnancy…it can really be a doosy. However, the true definition of beauty is what we all are. Beauty is diverse and deeply woven in our souls, our stories, and our skin. Beauty is you and your strength and how you hold it as well as model it. You are more than your appearance (which is breathtaking by the way) and you absolutly glow! I beleive that the true salvation from our fears and oppressive foces happens first when we make a conscious break from unhealthy and oppressive expectations. All I see in your photos and all I hear in your story is truth, strength, and undeniable beauty. Own it because you’ve got it…you’ve got the whole package!

  • Katie Thursday, October 21, 2010, 2:23 pm

    You look amazing! I wish I looked that good before I was pregnant. Now I have to struggle with the Doctors telling me I have to not gain any weight during the pregnancy, well he concedes maybe 5 lbs…

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