Made Me Even Stronger (Amanda)

Age: 23
Number of pregnancies: 1 pregnancy/birth
Age of child: 18 days

I got pregnant in London during the Olympics last summer. It wasn’t planned, but we were both pretty excited when I came out of the bathroom six weeks later with two positive pregnancy tests.

I was very fortunate to not experience the continual nausea or vomiting throughout my pregnancy that a lot of women experience.
I kept up with my fitness (doubles beach volleyball, Ashtanga yoga, running 5ks, hiking) until I was six months pregnant. I slowed down to gentler yoga and walking, but I was still in good shape. I ate really clean because I knew that every single thing I put into my body would affect my baby, which made me even more disciplined to eat pure, whole foods. I ended up gaining 23-24 pounds by the time I delivered at 41 weeks and 4 days (I’m 5’9″ and weighed 145 lbs pre-pregnancy).

No stretch marks appeared until one month before my due date. I don’t hate them or hate my body because of them, but they’re so friggin’ dark that I wonder if they’ll ever fade.

I gave birth to my beautiful Ember on May 2, 2013 in a birth center in South Florida. I had a short, yet intense five-hour labor at home before driving to the birth center and being told by my midwife that I was fully dilated and ready to push. I couldn’t believe I had gone through all the stages of dilation at home (Ujjayi breathing really helped)! I thought surely as a first-time mom my labor would last at least 12 hours. Upon hearing the great news, I stripped down naked and told the midwife I wanted to push in the bathtub. Fifteen to 20 minutes later, my baby was born. She came out perfect in every way.

I attribute my smooth labor and delivery to staying fit and healthy throughout my pregnancy. I did end up having a second-degree tear on my perineum and I know my vagina will never look the same, but let’s be honest, our babies are worth whatever “damage” happens to our bodies. I lost 20 lbs after giving birth, but I’m not worried about my weight. All of my energy is focused on feeding my baby and fueling my body with enough healthy foods to do so. I know that I will eventually get back into shape once my stitches heal.

I always considered myself a “strong” woman, but now I feel like I’m even stronger. It sounds so cheesy, but I know that if I can push a 7lb 4oz baby out of me without any sort of medical intervention or drugs, I can do anything.

Pictures: At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, 39 weeks pregnant, just after birthing my daughter, my little Ember, my stretch marks two weeks postpartum.

7 thoughts on “Made Me Even Stronger (Amanda)

  • Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Love the pic of you and your daughter in the tub, you are both so beautiful! I also feel stronger after giving birth than I did before. I`m proud of my body`s strength in a new way, and appreciate it more than before.


  • Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    You stretch marks will fade–give it at least a few months though! Mine took 6-9 months to notice any difference and by a year they are mostly skin-tone colored. Your fast and smooth labor is just as easily attributed to your genetics–be careful how you word things–right now it implies that women who have long and/or difficult labors did so because they didn’t stay healthy enough through their pregnancy. Also–your vagina will almost definitely return to some state of ‘normal’–and what it looks like hardly matters. I mean, other than an OBGYN, who else is looking in there? I had a 2nd degree tear with my second, and it healed within a few weeks or month, and a year later I don’t even THINK about it. You and your daughter are gorgeous! Speedy recovery to you!

  • Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Your stretch marks are PERFECT!!! Just enough to know she was there, but not enough to be a real nuisance. They’ll fade and you wont’ even notice them. You have a rockin’ body, mama! :) Congratulations on your water birth. I always wish my babies weren’t posterior and complicated so I could enjoy such a beautiful moment.

  • Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 6:21 am

    If it wasn’t the stretch marks your body doesn’t look like you just gave birth. You inspired me to stay more fit and eat healthier with my next pregnancy. Looking at you I know it’s totally possible. That is such a gorgeous photo of you and your daughter.

  • Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Woman, you look amazing. Congratulations!

  • Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Wow your stomach look like mine, I have stretchmarks just like yours. I was also very active during my pregnancy, gaining 27 lbs gradually but still end up with stretchmarks, they’re dark like yours and I am 2 months pp now. I do hope they fade. My birth lasted 10 mins and it was my first pregnancy too. I walked 2-3 miles everyday till the day I gave birth.

  • Friday, June 7, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I ran five miles two days before my daughter was born and biked 20 miles the day before I went into labor. I was under the delusion that my labor would be fairly short and easy given my fitness level. Yeah, life has a way of not going according to plan. I did manage to deliver my daughter vaginally but only after a long and tortuous 15 hour affair that included a much needed epidural and petocin. Fitness may make you more likely to have an easier labor but it ain’t no guarantee, trust me. Plus, as I like to say, they don’t give gold stars for perfect births anyway (though I do wish mine had been a wee bit easier and less excruciating).
    That aside, you look fabulous! I love the photo of your baby bump and your daughter is so gorgeous (plus I dig the name). Like the other posters have said, those stretchies won’t be anything in a few months. You’ll probably have to be in the right light to even see them. Keep up the good work. You sound like an amazing example for your daughter!!

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