Learning to Love the Body I’ve Gained (Gwen)

Pregnancies: 1
Births: 1 beautiful boy!
Postpartum: 19 months

I submitted an entry a number of months ago but never saved the link to it, so my pics from around 12 months PP are lost somewhere. The pictures I submitted were before I gave up pumping through my work day, which I did at 12 months PP. We are still nursing, but I no longer send him to daycare with breast milk. As soon as I stopped pumping around-the-clock, I was able to shed about 10 pounds.

Like a lot of women, I spent my teens years ignoring the beauty of my body and cultivated a poor self image, relying on the images of “beauty” that the media and world fed to me. And let’s face it: Those images are rarely attainable, often fake, and sometimes not even really that beautiful. We are just told “this is what beauty is”.

I spent my pregnancy LOVING my body. For the first time in my life. As my belly grew I felt love and gratitude and acceptance for how I widened and stretched and changed. Even when I discovered stretch marks forming on the underside of me, just barely out of eyes reach, I accepted that this was the change my body would have to give my my little son. Truthfully; the stretch marks were my worst fear. My mother (having had 2 children), escaped without a mark! I vainly and foolishly thought that I would be as lucky. Ironically, both my sister and I have stretch marks from our pregnancies (mine are a bit worse than hers, but have faded over my PP time).

When my son was delivered, I had the same “deflated, squishy, and awful” stomach that women often experience, and was equally as disappointed to discover that even though I breastfed, my weight didn’t melt off me like I read it would, or heard from other mothers that it would. I was sorely dissapointed in that fact. It struck me that all the years in my youth with my beautiful firm, and young unmarked body how I criticized my every “flaw”. And that “flaw” that I wrought myself so much over wasn’t because of my body being ugly, or fat, or un-beautiful, it was my mind and my self image that was the true problem.

After a son, and about 60 pounds in pregancy weight gain, I am the smallest and fittest I have been in 3 years (since the conception of my son). I am not perfect, I am stretched large, and made thinner again as all mothers are, but I am beautiful for what I am, and what I have. And without this change in my body, could never have had the blessing of my son in my life. For that, I would sacrifice any of my looks or my shape.

This site has shown me bauty in every mother, and helped me to see my own beauty as a mother. It’s helped me to see how much the world impacts a womans concept of her own personal beauty, and how her body had to change to give her children and become a mother. It saddens me to see so many stunning and shapely women feel so poorly about their beauty and how nature created them (and trully: There are some AMAZINGLY stunning bodies of mothers. BOTH before AND afterward!)

Never doubt that as a woman; you are ALL beautiful! You are the gift of graciousness for bringing forward new lives, and nurturing the children that will become our caregivers, and friends, and companions. Even though we suffer pain in delivery, in accepting our own personal change, and the vast challenges of motherhood and marriages with children, nothing changes the fact that even though our beauty changes shape, it does not make it any less marvelous and lovely!

Thank you everyone for your support and bravery to each other by sharing your stories!

~1st photo: 19 months pp (and my little son trying to figure out “what Mommy is doing” -haha!
~2nd photo: What I look like with clothes on
~3rd photo: My beautiful little son grey, who is my little blessing!

9 thoughts on “Learning to Love the Body I’ve Gained (Gwen)

  • Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I know exactly how you feel. You are beautiful! :D And your son’s a cutie pie. :)

  • Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    such an inspirational story! thank you so much for sharing :)

  • Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 4:04 am

    very rairly do i make a comment on people’s posts…but yours really touched me. You figure is similar to mine and your thoughts reflect mine – Thnak you have have made my day today! x

  • Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Your post is beautiful, as are you :) I too have a son named Grey…..well Greyer but we call him Grey for short, love it.

  • Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    This is actually the truth. If we could all learn to love our beautiful bodies for what they do/have done. We are so powerful. Our bodies are amazing! I’m glad there are women like you out there reminding women of that very fact!

  • Friday, September 10, 2010 at 9:51 am

    You are an incredibly beautiful woman, both inside and out.

  • Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 12:23 am

    Great story, cute kid and lovely body.

  • Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 3:26 am

    You look fabulous!!!

  • Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    I love your story and the encouragement it gave me:) Your post caught my eye because your name is Gwen(mine is too), and your body(from the pics you shared) look just like mine. I felt like I was looking at myself in the mirrow:) You’re beautiful! I have two little boys that I adore. I love your sons head peeking up in the first pic-cute!

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