The Body My Children Gave Me (Kelly)

Age: 27
Number of children: 4, going on 5
Ages of children: 9, 7, 4 and 2, with the next one due in March

When I got pregnant with my oldest son, I was 5 foot 2, 93 lbs, and thought my body was perfect. After he was born, I lost the weight pretty quickly. My whole family has great metabolism. After having 6 children, my Grandmother maintained a small frame, and weighed approximately 110 lbs before cancer took over and took her from us (she was less than 80 lbs at the time of her death). My mom was the same way, weighing just 100 lbs after 3 children. After my first 3 children (all boys) were born, I also maintained a weight of around 100 lbs.

After my 4th child was born, my only daughter, I had dropped all but 15 lbs, and was happy. I realized that 93 lbs was far too skinny for my height, so I wasn’t worried about losing the rest. I was a size 5. I had stretch marks, of course, but I was proud of those. I had sagging breasts, but I breastfed one of my children, and was fine with those. Victoria’s Secret helps me out there. Then I decided that I didn’t want to worry about having more children, so I was put on a certain birth control. I was on it for a year, and during that year I was misdiagnosed as having post partum psychosis (an unfortunate side effect of the birth control), and I had gained 40 lbs. I grew to hate how I looked. I had a stomach that made me look 6 months pregnant. I wore baggy clothes, and the rare occasions that I started to feel good about myself and wore something not quite as baggy, someone would inevitably ask me if I was pregnant. One of those questions came when I was sitting at a bar, with a beer in front of me and a shot in my hand. I cried myself to sleep that night. My best friend and I decided to turn my garage into a gym and motivate each other to get in shape and stay in shape. While working on that, I found out that I am pregnant again.

I am currently 12 weeks pregnant with what will be my last child. I look like I am 6 months pregnant. I have started wearing clothes that show off my stomach again, clothes that are more form fitting, and yet, I still hate how my body looks. My thighs are rubbing together, they never did that before the last 2 years. My butt is lumpy. My c-section scars are hidden, but very much there to me. I have love handles on my lower back. I have fat rolls that stick out over the side of my bra. My breasts have grown 2 cup sizes, and now that I am pregnant again, I know they will grow more. I hate everything about how I look.

Then I look in the mirror. I smile as I look at my stretch marks, because for every mark, I have a story about my children. I look at my scars, and I know, that I have 2 beautiful children who were born via cesarean because their cords were wrapped around their necks, and I know that my scars are beautiful. I look at my thighs, and I know those are the thighs of a woman who has carried 4 children to term, and is carrying a 5th. I look at my love handles, my stomach, my breasts, and I am happy. I am happy to see that because of my body, 4 amazing children came into this world, all happy and healthy. And I know that soon, a 5th child will arrive.

I know that when this one is born, I just might go back to hating how I look. And I hope that if I do, I can start to go to the gym. I hope that going to the gym won’t make me think I will get back to my old figure, but maybe it will help me to see that no one is perfect. No one is perfectly happy with themselves, and maybe, just maybe, I can finally be satisfied with the body my children gave me.

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