When I was fourteen years old I weighed 125 lbs. at 5’6″. My mother worried because I was ostracized for being “fat” and my pediatrician felt that while my weight was normal for an adult woman, it was unhealthy for a girl my age. I was put on a severe calorie restriction diet, thus setting the stage for future food and weight issues.

In my 20’s I had the misfortune of marrying a man who wished more than anything that I could look like a model, and his desire and my insecurity conspired to put me on a fitness regimen that made me miserable. At my low point (both in terms of weight and emotionally,) with running three miles a day and starving myself, I weighed 138 and still had drumstick thighs and a poochy stomach. When I divorced him I decided to start eating and moving in a way that I enjoyed, and I hovered around 155 for a while. I felt better at that weight than I ever had in my life, and it started to occur to me that maybe one’s body image isn’t totally objective after all.

I fell madly in love then with an incredible man, and over the next decade had four babies, gaining 35 lbs. with each, but losing less than that after each birth. That’s how I crept up to my present weight of 200 lbs.

At age 40, I love the way my body feels, as do my babies and my husband. I’m sure that my husband finds slim bodies attractive, but if his actions count for anything, he finds my body — or probably more accurately, *me* — attractive also, and he’s never said one negative word about my cellulite and large stomach, wise man that he is. I don’t like to be seen in public in bathing suit or shorts. I wear long flowing skirts to cover my thighs. Every once in a while someone will ask when I’m “expecting”.

The first picture shows me at the end of my fourth pregnancy. (That’s henna on my belly.) Strangely, I have no stretch marks like most women do, perhaps because my belly’s always been big. It didn’t have much stretching to do. I love my body so much when pregnant — it’s the only time I feel allowed to love the size of my belly. It made me choke up a little to see this picture. I think it’s beautiful.


The second picture is how I look currently, about two years postpartum. I don’t diet anymore. There’s been enough harm done to my body and soul.



p.s. Please don’t use these photos anywhere but on this website without permission. Thanks.

13 thoughts on “Linda

  • Wednesday, September 13, 2006 at 11:25 pm

    Fantastic post, thanks! You are beautiful :-)

  • Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 5:12 am

    125 pounds at 5’6″ sounds pretty close to perfect to me! If they’d only left you alone at that age, just think…you may not have had body image problems. Goodness!

  • Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 6:58 am

    I agree with Kate – excellent post. And your body is, no question, beautiful. What gorgeous skin.

  • Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 8:04 am

    Do you mind if I say I find your post-partum belly sexy? And I am a heterosexual woman!You are beautiful!

  • Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 9:47 am

    Love the Henna Tattoo.My friend does Henna tattooing for a living. Its very neat :-) She gave me friend a HUGE tattoo on her 9 mo. pregnant belly as well. A big pea-cock! lol it was really cool!You look just fine! and I cant believe thats a body of someone in their 40’s! you got a lot to be proud of. Ive met 20 year olds that dont look half that good!

  • Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 10:01 am

    “it’s the only time I feel allowed to love the size of my belly”You said it. I think this site is allowing many of us to love ourselves just the way we are.

  • Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    I am appalled that people considered you fat at 125 and 5′ 6″. I am 125 myself and 5′ 4″, and I often get teased (good-naturedly), for being skinny! I am so sorry that such bad weight issues were forced upon you, but I rejoice that you have overcome them! I think your postpartum belly is beautiful, it makes me want to nuzzle it and curl up on it! :)

  • Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    You have amazing skin, and– I hope this doesn’t sound weird of me to say– your breasts are so perky! You have a gorgeous body– don’t ever doubt that.

  • Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 6:27 pm

    i think the pregnancy picture is fabulous! your fourth baby and you can’t even tell – you looked great. I credit you for having that many pregnancies. Even now you look great.

  • Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 10:19 pm

    Beautiful woman, beautiful.

  • Friday, September 15, 2006 at 3:57 am

    You’re so lovely! :-)And I LOVE the henna tattoo! What a marvelous idea.

  • Monday, September 18, 2006 at 4:23 pm

    You truly look great! I love the womanly shape. As from someone who has suffered numerous eating disorders and has never been skinny enough I hope one day I can be where you are.

  • Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 10:45 pm

    Amen to the end of dieting! Four babies, wow. You look great! The other commenters are right, your skin looks fabulous as well. :-)

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