The Others (Anonymous)

Your Age: 36

Number of pregnancies and births: 3 pregnancies. 1 birth, 2 abortions

The age of your children: Son born September of 2008. Abortion in 1997 at eight weeks and in 2009 at four.

I have always had depression and anxiety, I have no memory of a time when they weren’t present; according to my family I was an anxious infant. I began seeing a psychologist at around age six. After much pleading, and at the recommendation of my psychologist, my parents finally agreed to let me take psychiatric medication at seventeen. It was like the world opened up. Suddenly things that had seemed difficult were attainable. I remember being excited to drive to the house of a friend who lived an hour away. Goddamn, that sounds pathetic.

Post medication I wouldn’t describe myself as being ‘fixed’ but I was certainly far more functional. I could hold down a job and was able to live on my own.

When I was twenty-seven my husband and I decided to have a baby and I went off my medication to do so. I thought I’d be okay.

The only reason I didn’t kill myself when I was pregnant was because I knew I would fuck it up, kill my baby, lose my nerve and then have to live with that the rest of my life. I was very aware of the point in my pregnancy when having an abortion would no longer be legal and up until that point there was always the voice in the back of my mind that if I needed to I could still back out. I wanted a baby very much, I wanted this baby very much, but I was catastrophically depressed. I had vivid dreams where I killed myself and/or my child.

And he was my child. From the very first moment I found out I was pregnant I wanted him, I loved him. I wanted him before he was even conceived.

I thought things would be better after I gave birth, but I was wrong. He was a month early. It’s possible he was early because I was so depressed that I was barely able to eat and he wasn’t getting the proper nutrients. Who knows.

I was hospitalized for the first time when he was eight weeks old. After much deliberation, and many conversations with friends, family and health professionals, I signed myself in voluntarily because I wasn’t able to function. I was unable to sleep, even when my son was sleeping, and at the time that I signed myself in I hadn’t slept for approximately two weeks and was starting to hallucinate.

While I was in the hospital I was able to see my son once daily in a cold, brightly lit conference room that was one floor below the psych ward. I brought a small manual breast pump with me to try to keep up my milk supply and pumped several times a day and throughout the night. Because of the medication I was given I had to throw most of it away.

I was released after a week.

When he was twelve weeks old I was readmitted after taking an overdose of a Ativan. I blacked out in the emergency room as they were placing an IV catheter.

My first memory after passing out is standing naked in front of the mirror in the bathroom off my hospital room and seeing my milk swollen breasts covered in the sticky residue from the EKG leads. I was emaciated because I had been fighting to breastfeed in spite of not being able to eat. To be honest I’m not even sure if that memory is true.

I have been hospitalized since then.

But what I want to talk about, what I feel doesn’t get talked about enough, are the pregnancies I chose not to carry to term.

The first time I got pregnant I was seventeen and about a month away from beginning my senior year. I had just started taking medication for my depression and anxiety. My boyfriend (A) and I had been together for about six months and things were great. We had both had prior sexual relationships but we were each other’s first loves. We were pretty careful over all but there was one night where we got carried away. He didn’t ejaculate inside me. Didn’t even get close. But there was penetration without a condom and apparently that was enough.

When my period was late I took a test. The line was very faint but it was there. A and I looked at it and tried to convince ourselves otherwise but there was no denying it. I told my mother and she took me to the doctor. The nurse congratulated me and calculated my due date as I sobbed.

When I went to A’s house after the doctor his first words to me after I told him the home test had been accurate were, “You’re going to have an abortion, right?”

I was always pro-choice. I always had in my mind that if the situation arose I would have an abortion without a second thought. I would tell every new partner that he had a choice: to know or to not know. A was the one who was pro-life and suddenly he didn’t want to discuss it. I wanted to discuss it. I didn’t think I wanted a baby but I loved A and there was a part of me that imagined the three of us together as a family.

It was 1997, RU-486 wasn’t available, and the clinic told me that I would have to wait until I was eight weeks along to have a surgical abortion.

We did end up talking about it, A and I. We did lots of talking in the four weeks between when I found out I was pregnant and my appointment at the clinic. I had been unsure that I ever wanted to have a child but during that four weeks I realized that I did. Someday.

I had made the appointment for a Friday so that I would have the weekend to recover before going back to school. The clinic was 45 minutes away from where we lived and it was to be an all day affair. We arrived in the morning and were shuffled from room to room. I filled out endless amounts of paperwork, took a pregnancy test, had my blood type checked (they screwed it up*), saw a counselor, and had an ultrasound. Between each step we waited in rooms with other women who were either with a partner or friend. No one talked much or made eye contact.

A was in the room with me for the ultrasound. I asked to see it and the technician seemed a little uncomfortable. She left it up on the screen when she stepped out of the room for a moment. We both looked, A and I. The image was still and grainy.**

After hours of waiting and paperwork and testing and talking and somehow even more waiting they led me away from A and into the secure part of the clinic.

They took my vitals, gave me a key on a plastic bungee to put around my wrist like at a public pool and directed me to a bathroom with lockers. I took off my clothes, stowed them in the locker corresponding with my key, put on a hospital gown from the pile on the shelf and went to meet the nurse.

I was taken to a small room and given a sedative.

The nurse was kind, she stroked my forehead and said it would be okay. The doctor introduced himself but all I remember of him is how the powder from his gloves had collected in the creases of his hands which I noticed when he shook mine. I remember looking up at the ceiling and seeing fall leaves through a skylight, but I don’t think that’s right. I don’t think that’s a true memory because I think the room was in the basement. I don’t know if the doctor is a true memory either.

I do know that I felt a pinch deep inside, and in that split second I thought I could still get up and leave and have it not happen. But I didn’t leave and then there was only the gentle hum of the machine.

When it was over the nurse lead me to a room full of reclining chairs set in a half circle facing a television playing an endless loop of aftercare instructions.

Upstairs everyone had been looking at everyone else out of the corners of their eyes. Down here women were looking at each other directly, telling their stories and asking questions. One woman talked about her young daughter and how she couldn’t possibly support another child.

The first time they had me get up to leave I nearly passed out in the bathroom. I tried to wipe the blood off but it just seemed like there was more where it came from no matter what I did. I started to get dizzy and then went for help soaking the tops of my socks in blood as I shuffled down the hall to the nurse’s station.

The second time I got up I felt much better and was able to get cleaned and dressed quickly. I met with a nurse about aftercare and birth control and then was brought out of the secure area. A was waiting for me on the front steps of the clinic smoking a cigarette. He drove us back to my mom’s house and we watched the movies we’d rented earlier in the week.

A and I were together for a little over a year all told. Approximately six months before and six months after the pregnancy, maybe a little more or less in either direction. He broke up with me and it was all the more painful because I had pictured having a child with him someday. We stayed in touch for a few years, he went into the marines and I went to college, and somewhere we lost touch.

There were times when I thought what if. Absolutely. I would sit in the tiny little one bedroom apartment that I loved in the shitty part of town and wonder for a moment where on earth I’d fit a child into my life. The answer was always no where.

Regret isn’t the word. Ambivalent relief is closer.

Eleven years after my first abortion, while I was pregnant with my son, A got back in touch through a mutual friend. He apologized for ‘making’ me have the abortion and for leaving. He said he thought we could have made it work and that he had made a mistake. We’ve been in touch regularly in the past eight years and our interactions are always positive. He has a four year old son with an ex girlfriend and his current girlfriend has two children. He’s a great guy and I value the relationship that we have.

The third time I found out I was pregnant my son was a year old. I had planned to get an IUD or Essure when he was six weeks old but that had been derailed by my experience with postpartum depression and previously undiagnosed bipolar disorder. I had actually made an appointment with an OBGYN (my son was delivered by a midwife) for birth control but got lost on the way there and then my son began to cry because he was hungry. I had a panic attack and went home. I begged my husband to get a vasectomy but he would just say that I was going to change my mind and want another baby someday.

We used condoms, although clearly not compliantly, and I took Plan B on two occasions when a condom slipped.

I’m not sure when exactly I got pregnant but I took a test two days before my son’s first birthday. I said to my husband, “Fuck, this thing says I’m pregnant.” It was four in the morning when I took the test and as soon as the nearest clinic opened I called to make an appointment.

It was 2009 and RU-486 was available so I was able to make an appointment for the next day instead of having to wait until I was farther along.

My husband refused to go with me to the clinic because he was angry with me. He wanted me to continue the pregnancy in spite of the danger to my health. Our roommate drove me instead.

Even though it happened more recently the second time is less memorable than the first. I know I filled out paperwork, had a physical and blood work, but not much sticks out. This time there wasn’t much to see on the ultrasound, just the amniotic sac, since I was only about four weeks along. I asked for a printout of the ultrasound and it’s in a box along with the things I saved from my son’s first birthday. This time when they offered me RhoGam I declined. I told them that if it were just a case of bad timing I would continue the pregnancy, but it wasn’t just bad timing, I can never have another child.

I met with a counselor and it turned out that she had worked at the clinic I had gone to the first time during the time I had gone there. It was twelve years later and we were halfway across the country from where we’d been but here we were.

I cried as I talked to her and she commented that I seemed really angry. I hadn’t realized that I was until she pointed it out. I was angry at myself for not having been more careful – I still don’t know where we screwed up – and I was very angry at my husband for not listening to me when I told him I didn’t want and couldn’t have any more children.

They gave me the mifepristone to swallow there at the clinic and the misoprostol to take home with me to insert into my vagina the next day. They also gave me a prescription for Vicodan before sending me home.

On my son’s first birthday I inserted the misoprostol tablets, took a Vicodan, and waited. It didn’t hurt much. The bleeding picked up considerably in the middle of the night and when I sat down on the toilet there was so much blood pouring out so quickly that it sounded like I was urinating. I had planned on trying to look for it so that I could see it but I just didn’t have the energy to turn on the lights, let alone fish around in the toilet for a tiny lump of flesh.

The second time was much easier. I knew what it was like to have an abortion and I knew what it was like to have a child. The choice was pretty clear. The pill felt much less invasive as well since I was able to be in my own home. I didn’t experience much discomfort, the Vicodan made me feel relaxed and I mostly slept.

I would say that both of my abortion experiences were pretty positive given the circumstances. I didn’t have much pain either time, nor do I have regrets. I feel bad for A that he ultimately wasn’t happy, I feel bad for my husband, who wanted more children, and for my son who wanted siblings, but for myself I feel thankful that abortion was an option available to me.

I’ve started talking about my abortions more frequently and openly in the hopes that if I put a real live human face on it I might be able to change some minds. I’d found myself getting irritated that there are so many high profile women who are willing to say they’re pro choice and yet so few have come forward with their own stories, but then I realized I was doing a much smaller version of the same thing. Arguing in hypotheticals isn’t as effective as using particulars. If I can sit down with my pro life friends and tell them about my experiences maybe next time they go to vote they’ll think of me, an actual woman they know and like, and vote differently. It’s important that we keep abortion safe, legal, affordable, and accessible because, as we’ve learned over and over, making it illegal doesn’t stop it.

So I’ve started talking, and I hope more women do to.


“I find myself beautiful now” (Anonymous)

Number of pregnancies/births: 4/3
Age: 23
How far postpartum: Kids are 5,3,2

I’ve posted to this site 2 or 3 times now, and I am choosing to do so again because once again I have a new perspective. I felt for a long time, until recently actually that my self worth was based on my body. Not just the way I look naked, but also with clothes on. I felt that if clothes didn’t fit properly or if I had to go up a size then my life experiences were not as fun. They weren’t as fun because I was distracted with myself. I used to look at pictures during my last pregnancy and say “oh god, I was so big”. I look back now and look at how big I was smiling or how my other 2 girls kissed my belly. I felt that stretch marks and extra weight was something to be ashamed of, something to hide from the person who has seen my body in the most intimate ways. I’ve said in the past that my husband had viewed porn a lot and yes it did bother me, partly because I felt betrayed but mostly because I was jealous of the way he was attracted to those women. I have a new outlook on that, among other reasons he was viewing porn so often because I wasn’t showing him what he needed/wanted to see. My husband has told me many times that I am beautiful, pretty, sexy and whatever else you could say to give a compliment. I didn’t believe that until I was able to see the beauty myself. Somewhere along the lines I realized that stretch marks are not ugly, extra weight can be lost or not because I like my new curves. I do not look like a model by any means but I am happier than I ever have been and more comfortable with my body than I ever have been. I wanted a tattoo on my stomach to cover stretch marks but I didn’t go through with it because I wanted to look at them a little longer, I panicked when I knew they would no longer be visible. My body is forever changed in that way and that is because I chose to have children. I want to be able to look down when I’m in my 50’s and remember my days being pregnant and my daughters’ births into this world. I have stretch marks like crazy on my breasts and that really used to bother me but now I just look at them as memories. I breastfed each daughter for 1 year and those marks remind me of the long nights cuddled up with the girls next to me or that I was the only one that had that bond with them. When I was 16 I got pregnant and was forced into an abortion and I was left with one tiny stretchmark on the left breast in the middle of my cleavage and I would be so sad if I couldn’t see that mark anymore. I am grateful to my body for producing such beautiful children and supporting me all along the way of the many changes. I find myself beautiful now because I am used to the new me and I have adjusted and I wouldn’t think less of anyone else for looking the way I do. Love yourself first and foremost and everything else will fall into place.

21 and Heartbroken (Anonymous)

I found out I was pregnant just before Christmas, after a few weeks of morning sickness and painful cramps. But I unfortunately made the decision to have a termination due to many different factors in my life and haven’t told anybody about it apart from my boyfriend. We’ve been together now for over two and a half years and he’s been so supportive with everything. I can talk to Him about anything but I feel embarrassed, guilty and very selfish about what I’ve done and have started to fall into a sort of depression. My older sister found out she was expecting a few weeks before I did and seeing her go through this experience when I could have been as well is killing me. I know it’s my own fault but it was the right decision for us both at the time. I just want my angel to know that I am so sorry for everything that has happened I know that doesn’t make up for what I have done, but I will love you forever.

I was just in need of some support or advice

Mother of Twins, I feel so Alone (Linzy)

Hi…i am a mother of twins. Boy girl…love your site. I am a combat veteran and have severe ptsd but along with battle scars are my almost year old twin scars and im seriously trying to gain perspective on this whole body image thing…i love my children but hate myself im freaking out. I started visiting your site when i found out i was pregnant…it really keeps me in check on some days where i feel alone and afraid of my thoughts and feelings esp on being a mother.

I dont have pics before but here im 11 months pp.

My name is Linzy and im 27

Had 1 abortion 2 miscarriages.
All prior to the twins.

Still on my way to accepting myself. (Melanie)

Age: 28
2 pregnancies, 1 birth
my son is 16 month old

When I met the father of my child I was 26 and we both knew instantly that THIS IS IT! We were what we’re always looking for and one month after we became a couple I became pregnant. It was no accident, but we should have thought about it more carefully. We were so desperately in love, we thought being a “real” family is the best we could do. From my todays point of view I’m sad that we didn’t think about it for some more time. From the very beginning we were “three”, and I sometimes wish I could have him just for myself. Just hanging out with him, going out, getting to know him, etc. But what to do.

That was also the reason why I had a really hard time to accept there was some”thing” inside of me. For the first half of the pregnancy I just felt like an incubator for some kind of aggressive alien, that wants to eat me from the inside. When we got to know the gender of the child and then FINALLY found a boys name it was somehow easier to accept – this “thing” inside became a “someone” with a name.
My husband-to-be is amazing, alltime caring and supporting and very understanding. He beared all my doubts and hopelessness, trying to be the best partner one can be. This year we will marry and it just took so much time because I want to have some champagne at my own wedding, and you know I couldn’t so far. :)

We had to wait pretty long for the little man to come, he was 10 days late when we decided to induce labour. It took almost an entire day, without any painkillers etc., all natural. I gave birth to a four kilo boy.

Today this boy is almost 16 months old, very active and healthy, with a strong will. It took some time for me to be able to accept and love this child, due to some problems with postpartum depression and other things. He was and still is very lively and I think everyone has to get used to the fact not to be able to go on living his own life the way he did before. I still struggle with that every day, but there are more and more moments every day when I’m so proud of this charming little troll or when I think how nice it is to have this family. Yeah, maybe I’m just a spoiled brat. The first six months I had to carry him all day, or lie down on the couch next to him. All day! I almost went crazy. He couldn’t sleep alone, started screaming instantly when I just got up to go to the toilet. Honestly? I’m so happy that this phase is over now. I’m about to get my old self back, and that feels so good.

When the boy was about six months old I accidently became pregant again. That was a shock for us. We actually want a second child – but not like this. I wouldn’t have managed. I was about to emigrate to my boyfriends home country, my son was the most exhausting thing in the world, there was absolutely no time for a second child. It wasn’t an easy decision, but in the end I had an abortion. I’m so sorry for this little one, maybe it was the girl we would wanna have, but I still think it was the best decision for all of us. I don’t want to be too overstrained to give my boyfriend the love he deserves and to ruin our relationship with that. You see, I’m no supermommy and whatever I do I will never be, I can just give my best. I have no idea how those “mothers of seven” manage to be able to breathe in their daily life. But well, everyone is different I guess. I have to find my own way to deal with that.

My boyfriend still loves my body, though I don’t really know why. It was also not perfect before and I don’t mind the stretch marks I have now (tits, thighs, belly). There are three to four kilo I just don’t manage to lose, though I was also not happy with my weight before my child. But what really annoys me is my tits. They also weren’t big or well-shaped before, but now they are just small, sagging bags, they look shriveled and poor. The only good thing: they were always very milk-productive (I never had any problems with nursing) and my wonderful body gave me nipples before my son was born, I didn’t have any in the past. :)

I still can’t really accept my body so far, but I also couldn’t before, and I know I have to do something about it. I’m aware of the fact that I look like a normal woman, but that’s such a taboo, no one ever talks about that. So this site is great and it will hopefully help me and others. I KNOW that my body is amazing, I grew a child inside, gave birth to it, nursed it. Female bodies are perfect and wonderful!

1 + 2 my body in the past (23 and 25 years old) both taken by myself, just so you know
3 – 6 situation today
7 21st week
8 35th week
9 birthday of my son
10 I had such monster tits in the beginning!
11 our little dude today!

(I’m sorry if I sometimes don’t express myself in a super correct way, I’m no native speaker.)

Isabelle, I love you! (Anonymous)

Number of pregnancies 4 (2) miscarriages (2)abortions

Please don’t judge me I have made mistakes just as any human being in the world ! I am 22 years old I was 17 when I had my first pregnancy I lived with my bf we were both in nursing school in Mexico and very happy for the little boy that was coming I miscarried on my 18th birthday of may 2008 was 3 months. I was grieving so much that I wanted to replace that baby I got pregnant in august and in October that year I came back to los Angeles to have my baby here the doctors couldn’t find a heartbeat so they performed a d&e. I was deveatated and became greatly depressed . I started to just focused on my school and a few months later of the following year I started a relationship with my childhood neighbor we dated for 1 year and a half and that’s when I became pregnant again I was so happy I was finally gonna have a baby , unil I told him I was pregnant he changed completely …I found out he had cheated on me all along with 10 other girls and I had contracted chlamydia from him I was devestated once again he told me he wanted nothing to do with me or the baby and he wasn’t gonna help me that if I had the baby he was gonnamake my life miserable . I was petrified !! I cried everyday throughout my whole pregnancy I had no ones support my dad was against me having a baby at all at this young age . So I in January 2011 I was 17 weeks pregnant I had my first abortion. And I never saw him again ! I became even more depressed started drinking so much even started doing drugs . Later that year I started working in a convalescent home as a nurse assistant with the elderly and I found peace and happiness there I felt better being around them and taking care of them . In march 2012 I met what I believed was my soul mate . In April the following month I was pregnant again with a little girl that I named Isabelle I was extremely happy I would finally have a baby in my arms what I always dreamed of being a wife and a mother . The happiness didn’t last long me and isabelles father were living together …I found out he had been hiding from me that he was still legally married. I contacted the wife by looking through his phone and of course she said she too was pregnant . He changed completely with me I couldn’t trust him again everyday with him and his mother was a living hell for me . Arguing everyday until I couldn’t take it anymore I was 3 months pregnant when we got seperated . I felt lonely scared with no jib no one to help me but him but it was too late he said he didnt wanna be with me anymore he even started saying that my baby was not his it broke my heart . He prefered his family to our daughter and I . I begged him to work things out between us he said it was too late that he was going back to his wife . I was confused I felt betrayed I felt like trash I thought why bring this little girl into the world only to suffer how would I explain this to her when she got older ? So with my heart shattered into a million pieces I went to planned parenthood I was 20 weeks …it took me that long to decide if I wanted to do it or not. On Sept 5 of 2012 they stopped isabelles heart on Sep 6 they put me to sleep and took her out that day I felt like I died with her . I will never be the same again . I miss her so much . I regret so much I have nightmares about it.I cry everyday . I tried hurting my self . No one understands what I feel all this guilt I feel ! I would do anything to have her back in my belly kicking me waking me up at night’s . Her kicks were the most beautiful ..memorable moments of my life . I have started going to church I confessed and god knows I regret it . I only hope he grants me the wish of being a mother if not all I want is to be with isabellee and my other babies …what has happened to me is a living hell and I don’t wish it upon anyone . Thank u for reading .

Second Chance (Aly)

22 yrs old.,
2 pregnancies, 1 birth.,
Five month old daughter, pp.,
My story may be everywhere, sorry.,

I sit here having a good day which consists of me not thinking much of how I look. Mostly, I do have good days where when I do think of myself I envision my pre-pregnancy body. Bad days are where I think so negatively of myself that all I think about is wanting a tummy tuck. Why? A simpler solution to a fixable problem. I am five months postpartum, and not the same as I was before.

My story: I became pregnant when I was 18, but didn’t have the baby. I had an abortion for personal reasons that I have dealt with. It put me in a depression as life started to go bad for me. My relationship was failing, and I couldn’t cope with the loss of my baby very well. It is a decision I made on my part with the father. At the time I had thought that it was the only option for me. Now I bounce back and forth guessing if it was or wasn’t. I know I had a living, breathing, heart beating child inside of me. That was in 2008, it really messed with me too. I’m at terms with myself with what I have done. I forgave myself, but it is always a constant. I mention this because it is part of my story. The abortion was the cherry on top of everything.

My relationship:
My relationship started to fail, and it is because I wasn’t taking care of myself much. I mean I went out, had friends. When alone, I wasn’t happy. If I couldn’t be happy with myself, I couldn’t make my boyfriend happy. We were living together, but then things changed so I moved out. During the first year of battling my depression with the abortion we constantly fought, and I was blind. He didn’t want me because I couldn’t do much for me. I tried, but I was just going down. I had a job which I shortly got fired from. Bad, right? That isn’t it when I was working I had been living in the suburbs, but than moved back to the city. I ended up moving in with some people in a studio apartment. I slept on the floor, then afterwards… he broke up with me. After four years of being together it had been a bad break up, which I still never understood completely. But that is another story… which leads me to the fact that we had still been seeing each other even though we had broken up. After the break up, I still lived with the people for a while. The good thing is I had gotten myself into school because it is around the time the economy was still at a low point where I couldn’t get a job. It turned out to be a good thing because I would go out, and enjoy myself. I kept up a 4.0 GPA which dropped a little because towards the end I had some issues. I lost my grandmother, the people I lived with were drug addicts (which I am proud to say I never touched that stuff) and I slept on the floor. I struggled during this time. I started to drink a bit more, lost weight because living with drug addicts there is hardly any food. Towards the middle of school I moved back in to my ex boyfriend’s moms house where we were living together. He moved out, and I ended up graduating.

Now: We did get back together after much talking, and a year of not being together. I had left the state a couple times to go be with family during the holidays. He proposed so we got engaged, than got our own place, and then tada I became pregnant. We wanted this pregnancy, which I am forever so thankful for. I was 115 lbs before pregnancy, and came out weighing 167 lbs in the end. Tragic for me. I went from having this tiny hour glass figure to this much fuller hour glass figure. I don’t regret my pregnancy, but I could’ve taken better measures to not gain so much weight. The part I am grateful for I had a wonderful, problem free pregnancy. I had a 15 hr induction. My epidurial did fail me towards the end so it became a natural birth. Those induced contractions are no joke! I gave birth to a beautiful little girl 7 lbs, 15 0z, 19 inchs. The apple of my eye, the blessing from god, my second chance. My high school sweetheart, the same guy married me. He is now my husband, and I love him for all that he does for us. But the main issue I have? My body I beat myself up so bad about when I am having a bad day… I stay at home with our daughter. Which I don’t mind because I love watching her grow into this beautiful child. I can’t find one favorite part of her that I like the most because all of her is beautiful. I just have my days where I feel so down that I hate my body, and want to give up. Yes, give up and just go get a job so I don’t have to think. When I look at her, and play with her it is when I really forget everything. Her smile brings the warmth back to me, and makes me forget. It is just hard to accept the fact that my body will no longer be the same., I just want to be at a good place with myself where I can shrug while looking at someone with a smile. Women were made to create, and carry life… yet we can’t deal with our self image. I have stretch marks everywhere, and the funny thing? I don’t mind them at all. My grandmother has them, my mother has them, and I in a way had been prepared for these stripes. I earned them, I’m proud of them. It is just my protruding tummy that makes me look six months pregnant. Thankfully my husband, and I have started a diet together. We will diet together with exercise, we motivate each other which I am forever grateful for. I can’t do certain things, or go to a crazy workout because I am breastfeeding too. A bond I forever cherish, <3. I just wish I was comfortable with myself. I hate thinking negatively, or feeling so down. I just hope with some patience with a positive outlook I can be okay with myself. Once I am okay with myself I can then become comfortable with gaining more confidence... I like my stripes. I just feel like sharing my story for myself, and to show the truth of motherhood... and what we deal with. I'm lucky to have a daughter who has love for me in her beautiful eyes, and a husband who accepts me. They keep me grounded. Three pictures are: Front view with stripes, side view with stripes, and side view when sucked in. I hope with the dieting, and exercise it will improve some. :) [gallery]

The fat I hate, not the stripes. (Aly)

22 yrs old.
2 pregnancies, 1 birth.
Five month old daughter, pp.

My story may be everywhere, sorry.

I was pregnant before at 18, but never kept the baby. My personal choices led me to having an abortion. I am willing to share my reasons why, but if asked through email. I’m not ready to publicly announce why nor am I proud for what I have done. I battled depression, and so much more before I got to where I am at today. I just wanted to share that I was pregnant before, and to be honest with my choices.

I was 21 when I found out I was pregnant the second time, same guy. We have been together since we were 16. In April/2011 I found out I was pregnant with my little angel. I cried with joy never thinking I could get pregnant again. After the abortion I had a small fear that I may have ruined my chances of being pregnant again. Beside the point I had a wonderful pregnancy, nothing medically wrong with us. I did gain my warrior marks which I expected. My maternal grandmother, and mother have stretch marks so I knew I would get them. Funny thing is I’m actually okay with these marks. They will fade, and there are creams to help diminish them some. Bad thing, I gained more than the recommend amount of weight yet it never worried my doctors. I weighed 115 pregnancy, and before birth I weighed 167. On December 8, 2011 I gave birth to my beautiful daughter…. My greatest joy in life.

Five months later, I weigh 143-45 lbs. I hate it with a passion. I do, and can’t really sit down to talk to anyone about this. I tell my mother, or express it to my husband…. I do it with light humor to hide my hurt. I look five months pregnant, and try to do the right thing. Exercise, walk, drink water, and I’m also breastfeeding too. I have a wider girth, and haven’t worn jeans since I was 20 wks pregnant. I tried on jeans one time when I was three months pp, most emotional day of my life. I wanted to cry because I couldn’t fit a certain size. It has been pajama bottoms, and sweats for me. Another thing I hate is down there. My daughter turned her head when she was crowning, and ripped the left side of my upper vaginal area. So my clitoris… Or I mean the small lips whatever they are called part of the clit is forever seperated in half on the left side. I hate when my husband touches me there because I know it is ripped so there is another confidence downer for me. I sag, look pregnant, and have a ripped clit.

Never, never have I ever had to wear a girdle. Now I do, and its so depressing. Like wow, really? I wear a girdle to give the illusion that I lost SOME of my belly. Even then it still doesn’t work making me look pregnant still, but holds me in place. I blew up, and I hate it. I battle with the thought of this. I wish I had a tummy tuck I can deal with a scar. I try… I have the privilege of staying at home with my daughter to raise her… She helps me forget everything when she smiles at me. It just takes a toll on me.. everyone tells me I will get skinnier a bit in time. I hear them, but don’t take their words in stride. This hurts me… I struggle with raising my daughter while my husband works, try to care for my house, dog, and husband. At times I fail at all of those things. Where is there time for myself? I recently started exercising a bit more with the husband. I’m motivated to do that because we do it together. I’m trying. We will see, but right now I’m so down on myself it sucks. Makes me want to break down, and cry. I went from being a petite 115 lbs, five foot lady to a wide all around fatness. Yes, I went there. I’m serious too, I’m FAT! Yet I’m content with my stretch marks. I just miss the bikini days… And my confidence. If I don’t have any confidence how can I better myself at everything else? Once in a while I feel apathetic except towards my daughter. I have a real smile every morning when I wake up to see her smiling up at me with her innocent eyes. Maybe someday I will regain back at least a little confidence to push forward with more… For now I’m at a hate relationship with myself….

First picture – Pre-pregnancy,Second: Two days before induction, I was 40 wks., Third: Five months pp front view, Fourth: Side view, Fifth: How it looks when I suck my tummy in. It’s so sad… but I want to share because I can be me without wondering what someone else may say… and I don’t have to use humor.

She Was Worth it All (Amanda)

Age: 22

Number of pregnancies: 3
Number of births: 2
Age of children: 14 months

I was 16 years old the first time I got pregnant, and I was petrified. I didn’t know what to do, or who to turn to, and my boyfriend made it quite clear that abortion was the only logical choice. He told me having a baby would ruin our lives, and that our families would be so disappointed in us. I knew he was right, I knew I was too young, and I knew my parents would be devastated, so I did it. Part of what drove me to my decision was fear because I had no one to talk to, but a big part was him, if he couldn’t support me in keeping our baby, I just didn’t feel as though I could do it. I was 11 weeks and 4 days the day of my procedure, on August 3, 2006, and my due date was February 18, 2007.

Two years later after my boyfriend and I had just moved into our first place together, I found out I was pregnant again. We were both working, supporting ourselves 100% financially, but that didn’t make it any less terrifying. When I told him he was extremely upset and pushed for abortion, again. But I told him no, I just couldn’t put myself through that a second time, there was no way, so I told him if he didn’t like my decision he could leave. The next thing I knew he was packing up all of his stuff, and then he left.

Once he left I questioned whether or not I should really go through with having a baby, because at that point in time I thought for sure I’d be doing it alone. After a few weeks of living with his mom though, she managed to talk some sense into him, and he came back home. Things were still not easy between us though, he was angry and distant, and I was scared, and because of everything going on between us only a few people knew until I was about 18 weeks. At that point in my pregnancy he finally decided to come around, and even started showing some excitement, but then everything took a turn for the worst.

At our 20 week ultrasound on October 9, 2008, we were told that our baby did not have a heart beat, and that because of the position the baby was laying in, they couldn’t tell us the sex, either. I was heartbroken, and my world felt like it came crashing down. I didn’t know what to do with myself, I didn’t know what there was left to live for. Two days later I was induced into labor, and after 8 hours I delivered my baby by myself because no one made it into my room in time. When the nurse finally came, she told us it was a little boy, and she cut his cord, wrapped him up, and handed him to us. We got to hold him for 12 hours before we had to let them take him away, and that was truly the hardest part, just watching that nurse walk out of the room with him, knowing we’d never see him again. We named him Liam, and he was born on October 12, 2008, at 20 weeks and 2 days, weighing 10oz and measuring 7.5in long.

16 months later I found out that once again, I was pregnant. I really wanted to be excited this time, but right away I started having a lot of spotting and cramping. I went to the ER twice, and both times they told me it was a threatened miscarriage, so I expected the worst. I was heartbroken all over again, and it felt like I would never get to have a baby. But despite all the spotting, my little baby held on, and we later found out via ultrasound that I had partial placenta previa and a subchorionic hemorrhage which was the cause of all the problems. They both resolved by themselves though, and in the end I was able to have my natural birth that I’d always wanted. My little Amelia was born on November 17, 2010, at 40 weeks and 1 day, weighing 8lbs 3oz and measuring 21in long. She is my everything. (We picked the name Amelia Mae because it has Liam’s name in the middle of it).

During my pregnancy with my daughter I didn’t get a single stretch mark until I hit 37 weeks, when she very noticeably dropped. I wanted to cry when I first saw them, but they’ve faded a lot since having her, so I don’t mind them as much now. Luckily none of them were too deep, and most of them were below my belly button.

The first picture below is from when I was actually in labor, I wanted to get one last belly shot lol. The other two are from today, at 14 months post partum

Thanks for letting me share.

My Angel (Shanna)

Age: 32
3 pregnancies, 2 Cesareans, 1 Abortion
Children aged 10 & 8

I had my children in 2001 and 2003. Both of my children are boys and they are the best things that have ever happened to me. I was a single mom for the majority of their lives as their Fathers wanted nothing to do with them. Then after many years and being told I couldn’t get pregnant again, I met the man I always dreamed of! After a short 6 months of dating, I found out I was pregnant.He didn’t want kids of his own. After the abortion, I went through a long period of depression and grief. It is still hard at times, but I am working through it. We are still together, which is nothing short of a miracle. I wrote this letter to my lost one in hopes of easing the pain

My Angel,

I have tried to envision you here with me. I have tried to erase your brief, fleeting memory from my mind, heart and soul. I have tried to forget that you ever existed, that you were part of me. I have tried to make my womb forget you as well. I have tried to ignore you. I have tried to change time, to go back in my mind….. To change the life altering and life ending decision that I made.

You are not the only one who suffered because of my actions. I too have suffered, although my suffering is well deserved. A part of me died the moment you were sucked and scraped out of the safety of my womb.

I torture myself every day with my choice, my inability to correct it, the finality of it all. I both comfort and torture myself playing out your almost was life in my dreams. Were you the Daughter I always dreamed of…..? Would you have been my third Son….? What would you have looked like….? Me or him?

It is difficult for me to know that next month you would be celebrating your 1st Birthday. You would be walking by now, Exploring the world around you. I would be watching you in amazement, proud of all you had accomplished in your first year of life. You would fall asleep in my arms, with your chubby little arms wrapped around me. You would be sleeping peacefully while I smelled your hair and felt blessed to have you in my life. My heart would soar when you said your first word and I would brag to everyone how smart you are. I would shed tears the first time you said mama. My heart would break the first time you got hurt and I would feel helpless when ever you got sick. I would put on a brave face and bite back tears every time you got your shots. I would creep into your room at night and make sure you were still breathing and smile if I accidentally woke you up, then I’d rock you back to sleep. I would sing you lullabies when no one could hear me. I would stare at you in awe for I had created you and that is a miracle. I would have been proud to be your mommy.

All that is nice, I know. But I also know that none of that matters. It doesn’t matter what I would have done… All that matters is what I DID do and that I DIDN’T do the ONE thing that I was supposed to do… And that was to protect you. I can say I am sorry every minute for the rest of my life and it would never be enough. On October 5th, 2009 I found out I was pregnant with you. Immediately, my hand caressed my tummy. You had already started to change my body, my breasts were full and my tummy firm at the bottom where you were, safe in my womb. I had a feeling before that day that I was pregnant, but the impossibility of it pushed it from my mind. As I walked to your Daddy’s home, my mind raced with all the possibilities that you would bring. I didn’t know how everything was going to work out, how I would be able to afford you. But, I knew the most important things… I knew that I already loved you, fiercely. I knew that I wanted you, forever. I knew that you were part of me, my body, my heart and my soul… you were mine. I knew that your big brothers would love you and protect you. I knew that I had done it before, raising your older brothers without any help and not much money. Then why did I do it? I was madly in love with your daddy. On one hand, what I did was selfless…. I wanted to make him happy, no matter how it made me feel. On the other hand, my actions were selfish… I was in love and didn’t want to lose him, regardless of what it meant for you and your life. I don’t believe in Heaven, but if there is one, I know that’s where you will be.. A life cut short, so full of promise, a symbol of hope and love, a miracle from my body.

If I could tell you anything it is this…. I am sorry that I treated you as if you were a parasite, a curse. I am sorry that I chose to not have you but chose to have your big brothers, that is wrong. I am sorry that I will never know you as what you were meant to be; my child. I am sorry that I killed you before you had a chance to live. I loved you from the moment that you were known about. I am sorry that I failed you and had you thrown away in a dumpster. I am sorry that you are my dirty little secret. I am sorry that I cannot say that I did what I thought was best for you.

So, as I sit here every day and mourn you… a nameless, faceless child of mine… I must give you a name and a birthday…. You deserve that, at the very least. If you were a girl, I would have named you Nevaeh. If you were a boy, I would have named you whatever your Daddy chose. I can’t say what because it was never discussed. All I have for a birthday is your due date… June 5th 2010.