Number of pregnancies & births: Four
Ages of children: 9, 6, 3, and almost 5 months
B&W photo taken four month post-partum after fourth child
Beach photo taken 11 months post-partum after first child
I guess you could say I was proud of my body after the birth of my first child. I bounced back fairly quickly despite the severe case of PUPPPs and my fresh stretch marks. It only took a year before I was able to confidently wear a bikini and actually go out in public. With each subsequent pregnancy, I got more stretch marks, contracted PUPPPs two more times, and during my last pregnancy, I had severe diastasis recti. And with each pregnancy, I became more and more uncomfortable with my shape. I thought that I needed to be able to fit back into that bikini I proudly wore after my first son was born. I thought that I needed to be able to wear my pre-pregnancy jeans. In fact, I have a pile of jeans of varying sizes in my closet that still don’t fit, yet I hang on to them anyway. Perhaps I’m fooling myself into believing that I’m going to slim back down. Is it possible to be proud of a body that birthed four babies? I’m proud of what my body did. My body was able to labor and deliver four healthy children and nurse them all without complications. Who wouldn’t be proud of that? But in this culture where celebrity mothers emerge months after birth looking radiant and toned, I can’t help but feel uncomfortable when I look in the mirror at nine-year-old stretch marks, scars, and an abdomen that sags over even my largest pair of pre-pregnancy pants.