I’m not so sure I hate my body anymore (Nicole)

~Your Age: 26
~Number of pregnancies and births: 1 pregnancy, 1 birth
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: Currently 15 1/2 weeks PP (photos taken at 13 weeks PP)

I have struggled with my body image ever since I was a child. I remember, when I was in primary school, sucking in my stomach during swimming lessons so that it would be flatter than the other girls’ tummies (it’s a habit I have had ever since). In high school I developed severely disordered eating, accompanied by anxiety and depression, and battled my body and weight for a very long time.

5 years ago I met and then married an amazing man who thinks I am beautiful and tells me so often. I loved being pregnant – I was healthy, happy and have never felt so beautiful in my life! My stomach, long despised, was my pride and joy. I was pregnant in summer and would walk to the pool in my bikini.

I put on 15 kg (33lb) while I was pregnant. It was 38 weeks before I saw a stretch mark and when I found my first one (I got 4 or 5) I cried and cried. And then I realised – millions of women around the world have nowhere safe to give birth, no doctors or midwives or antenatal care, how dare I act like this is the end of the world??!!! I was horrified at my vanity. My husband thinks they’re cool. He says they make me look like a pirate. I’m not so sure but they’re growing on me.

Labour was surprising, quick and hard. My son was born naturally just over 4 hours after my waters broke, 3 days before his due date. I’ve been told I was ‘lucky’ but going from the odd prelabour Braxton-Hicks to full, active labour in minutes left me feeling like I had been hit by a truck, both during my labour and for weeks afterwards. I quietly envy my friends’ stories of relaxing in the bath between their contractions!

Postpartum, I had expected to look pregnant for months after delivery, but what my hungry little boy hasn’t sucked out I unfortunately seem to have lost in a distressing haze of postnatal anxiety. It’s nice to fit into my old clothes but I would rather be fatter and happier. My body’s landscape is completely different now– where once there was muscle and firmness there just seems to be softness all over the place. I jiggle when I wiggle. My butt, which I used to like, now just kind of sags and squishes around in my pants. My problem skin flared during pregnancy and again now as I’m breastfeeding. My poor breasts have succumbed to mastitis four times.

But in the end, when I stop for a moment to silence the negative voices, I am kind of in awe of my body. It grew and protected my baby for 9 months. It was strong enough to withstand the full force of labour without a single drug or stitch. It has fed and sustained my son entirely for nearly four months now. I look at my body and then across at my sleeping child – the most beautiful I have ever beheld – and realise that my body is amazing and I can’t wait to do it all again.

Updated here.

15 thoughts on “I’m not so sure I hate my body anymore (Nicole)

  • Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Your body is fantastic and you SHOULD be proud!! The muscle tone will come back with a little work, not that you look like you need it:) Don’t give in to the negative thoughts. You and your child are better and more worthy than that.

  • Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    A great way to work on muscle tone is babywearing. It can really help with core strength as it encourages you to maintain good posture. Babywearing while going up and down stairs or hills is awesome for the legs and butt! Not to mention, you can still live a ‘normal’ life while taking care of a baby because your hands are free!

  • Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 5:53 am

    You look awesome. I’m sorry you feel “squishy” but I think your figure looks ideal.

  • Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Wow you look absolutely fantastic, and should be so proud of yourself!

  • Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Your story and body are both so much like mine! I think you look beautiful :)

  • Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Wow. You’re quite the hottie! :D You have a gorgeous body!!!!Lucky lucky! :D And on top of that you are blessed to be a mommy!!!!!

  • Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    you look great! before AND after.

  • Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Honey, I’m in awe of your body.

    I’ve been showing my hubby (as we are thinking about having children) what kind of changes to my body to expect.

    We both think that you look really hot.

    I hope I can get away with it, just like you did, although i doubt it.

  • Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    You look amazing in these photos, both before and after. I wish you and your family all the luck in the world.

  • Friday, August 7, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    You look great, you could enter a Bikini contest.

    I think you look amazing! You hadn’t mentioned weather you work out or not (it look’s like you do) but I highly suggest it. It will help you firm up your muscles and it makes you feel wonderful afterwards. It is worth the hardwork!

  • Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    omg your baby bump was so gorgeous! I saw screw the butt with tits like that you shouldnt care! you have lovely breasts very perky and nice and oh well im jealous…

  • Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Sags?? Where?!? you´ve got a better body than me, and i´m 18, never been pregnant! You look absolutely beautiful, and I love your pregnant belly! It´s gorgeous! You should show off a body like that!

  • Monday, January 11, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Im currently pregnant I really hope my body looks like yours after I have given birth!

  • Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Wow, amazing i hope I look like this after ive given birth!

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