Before I was pregnant, I was actually 100% happy with my body. If someone would tell me that I’m fat (mean people) or could lose a few pounds before I get too old and can’t lose the weight (my parents), I would let it roll of my back for the most part. I liked my body. It was curvy and strong and I had a flat stomach for being a “bigger” girl and I never felt disgusted with myself when I stood in front of a mirror.
Then I got pregnant and didn’t really show BIG TIME until I was about 6 months along, and then there was hiding it! Patrick was ready to be the center of attention even in the womb! =) Toward the end of my pregnancy, people started to make remarks that were hurtful, and it had little to do with my crazy hormones. “My goodness you’re huge! Are you going to have that baby right now!? Are you sure there aren’t twins in there?!” They may not have always meant it in a negative way, but it definitely made me more sensitive to comments about how I looked. Then my son was born…and he has been my #1 priority ever since. I am able to be home with Patrick all day, every day and I haven’t dropped the baby weight, and I know that everyone has noticed. I have heard a few comments that have stopped me in my tracks and taken everything in me not to take them 100% to heart. Consider the source, I try to remind myself…but it’s hard. It’s hard when I used to be what is more socially acceptable and happy with my size, and now people expect me to be back to that because I now “don’t have an excuse and the kid’s already 6 months old.” I hate clothes shopping. I pretty much always have, but now that I’m in a body I’m unhappy in, I hate it even more. I still expect to look in a mirror and see the “old me” and sometimes find myself wallowing in self pity and disgust at how I now look.
And then one day, I asked my boyfriend, Don, if my “new” body bothers him. If he misses the body I had when he 1st met me. And he said something I never thought I’d hear again: “You’re beautiful and I still love YOUR body. New or old…it’s all the same to me because it’s you.”
And so, every day I will try to remind myself that each stretch mark is a memory of my pregnancy that I will always have and wouldn’t trade for the world. Every part of me that some may look at with disgust and pity of how I’ve “let myself go” is a part of me that my son will never hate me for. To him, I’m perfect. I’m beautiful and strong and warm and loving and perfect. When Patrick looks at me, he doesn’t see me as being anything but his Mommy…and I’m going to do my best to start seeing things from his and Don’s perspective.
I am not who I was before I became pregnant. I do not have the body I had before I became pregnant………..
And I wouldn’t go back for the world. Patrick is my everything, and I wouldn’t trade him to be or look like the girl I was before. He has made me a better person and I’m proud of that. Some people have told me that they actually are jealous of me! ME! Some of you are probably wondering why in the world someone would be jealous of me. Well can you guess what they have said?
They said they envy how I know who I am, and I’m proud of it. I am a strong, independent woman, and although I have let negative outlooks on my body chip away at me a little, I’m self assured. I gave birth to my son, who is healthy and smart and growing just as he should because I carried him in my body when some may say, I didn’t have to. I have a man who loves me so completely, others stand back and just watch the way we look at one another and communicate through more than words. I can stay home with Patrick and take care of him and see all his milestones and be there for him 100% all the time. They envy the obvious love and admiration I have for my son and the love Don and I have for each other. My body may not be magazine cover worthy, but it’s real and it gets me through every day of my life, and I’m grateful. I am done letting society’s views on appropriate size dictate how I feel in my own skin.
I am 25 years old…and as my grandpa Harold once told me, “Life is too short to worry about fitting into anything but a coffin, and even those can be made bigger.” So if I want to eat buttery popcorn at a movie theater, I will. If I want to bake cookies at 11 o’clock at night and have 2 each day for the rest of my life, I’m going to. Because the only man in my life whose opinion matters to me thinks I’m perfect just as I am, and it’s high time I start listening.
So bring on the clothes shopping and the 360 degree mirrors, because no matter what, who I am on the inside is all I need to take note of. =)
7 months postpartum