First: I am very grateful for this site, it has helped me so much to accept my body.
Second: I’m not a native English speaker, I’m trying my best but don’t be surprised if you find some mistakes. :-)
18 months pp, 7 weeks pregnant
I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant. It wasn’t planned but I knew from the very first moment that I would keep the baby and my boyfriend also accepted the thought of becoming a dad. My pregnancy was relatively easy, some morning sickness, some back pain, but nothing serious. I liked my growing bump and my body until I found out that my boyfriend watched porn. I mean I knew that he had done this before but during my pregnancy it had gotten crazy, I couldn’t leave the room without him switching on the computer and starting his little films. I asked him to stop it but he didn’t. He refused to have sex with me, kept watching porn instead and it shattered my self esteem. I started hating being so big. Then at 35 weeks I discovered the first stretch marks on my belly. Somehow I always thought I wouldn’t get them because my mother didn’t get one with two pregnancies. I hated my body and cried a lot and I was so relieved when my water broke at 38 weeks. I had to be induced and labor was hell, after 15 hrs my son was finally born with 3000g (6.61 lbs) and 49cm (19.29 inches). The next day I saw that the underside of my belly was covered in purple stretch marks. I was disgusted, I had never seen a woman with stretch marks before.
Losing the weight (I had gone up from 57kg (125 lbs) to 73kg (161 lbs)) was no problem thanks to breastfeeding and also I started working out again 2 months after I had given birth. But I still hated my saggy boobs (I got shrinking stripes on them when I stopped breastfeeding after 10 months. SHRINKING stripes!), the extra skin on my belly and, most of all, my stretch marks. Nobody in my family has them, neither do my friends, they were all like “Didn’t you use moisturizer?”. Of course I did, several times a day. My boyfriend said things like “They will go away, right? You will go back to normal, right?” Um, no. They just recently faded, they were purple for months. Hating my body, dealing with my bf’s ongoing addiction to porn, having a baby that cried endlessly – I hated my life. I think I might have developed a depression, but I never went to the doctor to have it confirmed or treated.
Those dark months eventually passed, my boyfriend finally understood that he was seriously hurting me (I had started to cut myself, something I hadn’t done since my teenage years), my son stopped crying all day and all night long and I felt better overall.
Although I am still the only person I know that has developed stretch marks during pregnancy, I finally came to terms with my body. It could have been worse. They are not all over my belly. I still don’t like to see myself in the mirror and I’m not sure if I will wear a bikini this summer (or ever again), but at least I don’t cry over my body constantly anymore (only on bad days).
And now I’m pregnant again. It was planned this time and I am currently 7 weeks along. I am terribly afraid of getting more stretch marks, since I already know that my genetics suck when it comes to this. I hope I can avoid them by limiting my weight gain to 20 lbs and working out a lot. I am currently 53kg (117 lbs) at 167cm (5.48 ft). I go to the gym 3-4 times a week and hope I can keep this routine up as long as possible. In my first pregnancy I stopped working out when I was 7 months along because I had 2 jobs and went to the university and just didn’t find the time to go to the gym regularly. Hopefully I’ll be more disciplined this time!
I don’t have any prepregnancy pictures of my belly because I never really liked my body.
#1: 36 weeks pregnant. First stretch marks visible.
#2 and #3: me now, 18 months pp and 7 weeks pregnant