23 years old, 1 pregnancy 1 birth, daughter aged 4
I fell pregnant a month after my 18th birthday. It wasn’t planned and came as a total shock, but once the initial shock was over, I was happy. I prepared myself mentally for everything that was to come; except the changes to my body. I developed stretch marks at around 22 weeks. I remember seeing one in the mirror for the first time and thinking ‘Oh no, I’m going to have that scar for life!’ but I wasn’t prepared for the dozens upon dozens of stretch marks to follow. By the time my beautiful girl was born, I was covered. I was so happy and thrilled to be a mother that at first I put them to the back of my mind, but as she got older and time went on the more I focused back on myself. I hated my body. I was over-weight, covered in scars, my breasts had dropped after breast feeding and I felt like an old woman. But I didn’t give in to my negative thoughts. By the time my little girl was one years old, I’d joined a diet club and was exercising more and began to slowly lose my baby weight; that’s when the turning point came. As my friends and family complimented me on how much weight I’d lost and how healthy I was looking, it spurned me on. I didn’t go over the top, but just kept to what I was doing and still enjoyed precious time with my daughter. I accepted that I could lose weight if I tried but would never lose the scars. Once I accepted it I started to love my body again. I’m now 23 with my confidence back. My scars tell a story of the most important journey of my life and make me who I am. For the first time since I had my daughter, I wore a bikini on holiday last year. Yes, I don’t have the beach perfect body, but I’m a young woman, who wants to wear a bikini and why should I let worries of what other people may think stop me? As a woman, the greatest thing you can do is bring life into this world, why be ashamed of the signs that have proven you did just that!