First of all, I would just like to say that I love this website, and I have visited it nearly everyday since I found it. It is truly amazing the giant gap between the body images we are fed in the media and the REALITY of what healthy women really look like. But of course, being aware of the problem and overcoming the problem are two very different things, and the latter takes an immense amount of work to accomplish. I think I am getting there, but I know I have a long way to go. Some days are better than others. So, here is my story…
I became pregnant with my first child three months shy of my 20th birthday. I was in a horrible relationship, but didn’t realize it yet. My pregnancy was complicated by preeclampsia, due to stress, and depression. The father of the baby, whom I was living with, was (is still) an alcoholic and drug addict. I didn’t know about the drugs then, but I did know that he rarely came home at night. I stayed up worrying many nights. When he did come back, he would often threaten to leave me, occasionally packing all of his stuff in the car. He screamed a lot, and called me names. I was in a constant state of anxiety, and I felt like I was going crazy. He didn’t want to touch me all through the pregnancy. One night, he brought home this girl- a mutual “friend” of ours- and had sex with her in our bed while I was home.
My daughter was born in March. Her father was there, physically, but not mentally or emotionally. I spent the first month after my baby was born with a family member, and then we moved back to where her father was from. The abuse got worse, and turned physical. I honestly can’t remember him holding his daughter at all. Ever. I mean, I’m sure it happened a few times, but for the most part I was a single mom (with financial support). I breastfed my daughter for over a year. After a few months though, she only wanted to nurse on one side. I know it is pretty common for something like that to happen, but in my situation, it was unbearable. I was teased by her father and even his mother for my “lopsidedness”. I won’t drag you all through the next two years, but eventually I got sick of it all and got smart. Just after my daughter’s second birthday, I moved back home, got a job and moved on with my life.
Fast forward four years. I’m happily married and have a son now too. Sometimes I sit back and wonder how I got from 2007 to today. Luck? It seems so very far away, and yet it really wasn’t all that long ago. I still suffer from depression and now I have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and get panic attacks. I birthed my son at a birth center without any pain medication. He was a robust nine pounds even. I felt fantastic (okay, maybe not fantastic)- but pretty damn good after the delivery. It was so much better than having an epidural, even though my labor was hard. My husband is a freaking angel. He is the most supportive, loving, amazing person I have ever met. He has put up with my “crazies” for the last three years like a champ.
Last year I had a breast augmentation to try to fix my uneven breasts. I am really happy with the result- although I do have days that I wish I could have been happy the way I was. I think my doctor did an amazing job, and I think they look and feel very natural. My husband was perfectly happy with me before, but he was very supportive of my decision too.
I had lost a lot of the weight I gained with my son, but I’ve recently gained some of it back. I’m not sure if it my diet, or the fact that I stopped hormonal birth control. We aren’t trying for another baby, and use condoms, but I just wanted to see what my cycle (and emotional state) would be like off of birth control. I had been on some form or another for almost ten years. I’m really unhappy about my weight right now. I was (a tiny) 120 before my daughter’s birth, gained 65 pounds during that pregnancy, and got down to 130 pounds about two years postpartum. The second time around, I think I gained about 40 pounds, got down to 135 and now I’m about 141 or so. I can’t fit into any of my old pants- even the things I was wearing 1 year postpartum, and it is really frustrating. I’m doing an ab class three times a week, but not much else. My diet is pretty sucky right now too. I am thinking about going vegetarian again- that’s what I did last year to get down to 135. I have an old scar on my belly- it’s not from a cesarean, but very similar to one like that- so I have that kind of skin/fat overhang thing there too, which I hate!
There is a lot more to my story of course… I’m just working on being able to talk about and share it all. Thank you for reading this. If there is one thing I’d wish for, it would be for everyone to be a little bit kinder to themselves and each other. Everyone has a story- some of them are like mine. Some stories are worse, and some are better. But everyone carries something around with them.
The first five photos are of me today, and the last one is when I was about 34 weeks pregnant with #2.
Number of pregnancies and births: 4 pregnancies, 2 births
The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 6 & 2, 2 years postpartum