Some things change, others stay the same & that’s OK. (Marissa)

C-Section Mama, Married 6years to my BFF

I was 23 when I got pregnant. Being a very short and active young adult, I’ve always been a wild one at heart. My favorite joy is dancing. I love to just turn the music on and have fun! That was me before pregnancy.

Now I’m 24. I’ve had my first baby. I’m 3 months postpartum and I still don’t feel like that girl again yet. Somehow she’s me – but somehow she’s somebody else. Anyone feel that way? I know many have, but I have never in my life struggled to feel myself. I’ve always felt confident in my own skin. Sometimes I felt too skinny or non-curvy but… when I had my son… I suddenly felt foreign. I feel my tummy and it’s foreign. I feel my boobs – they feel foreign.

It’s okay to sometimes feel like things are different. They are different. We can’t hold ourselves to the old us because all through life we will change and morph into new women. I realized that this must be what it feels like to look in the mirror at 60, or try to run or when your metabolism just wasn’t like it once was and now you eat one piece of pizza and blow up. It all hit me. Is this real life? It may sound so silly and vain but seriously some people simply haven’t gotten there yet. Instead of me feeling like I need to catch up with others or feel sad that I’m not the same and other women get to feel hot … I just need to give myself a firm swat on the buns and say “listen up lady – you are a boss babe, the woman you were is still there but she has grown, she is strong, she understands life in a new way, she went through tough labor, she stayed in the hospital 5 days, she woke up all night and she cried, she wanted to be her old self but she also wanted to snuggle her baby with all her love, she birthed a new life, she is a mother, she is loved, she is valued and she is special beyond belief. Don’t you dare discount that. You are learning big things, and your mind and experience have went through something many women have not had the privilege of, and the challenge of.” Life is an experience and a gift. May we always remember that motherhood is nitty gritty, deep and emotional but ever so rewarding and we mature in massive ways.

To be honest… I still don’t feel like me. In some ways it’s coming around but in some ways I feel as though some parts of me will always stay. I will always feel my stretch marks and go “whoaaa that’s intense”. I will also think “hehe omg it’s so soft and cuddly”!

Let us give ourselves time, relax, live healthy and stay strong. ? You can do it ladies. We are the mama family.

Update here!

Beauty Comes From Within (Aimee)

2 pregnancies 1 birth
Age of child: 5month

We have all heard the phrases beauty comes from with in and beauty is in the eye of the beholder but such phrases come up short and feel shallow when we are talking about ourselves, our body image. I have struggled with certain aspects of my body like most of the women on this site, but I have been blessed with the opportunities to overcome/look past/accept the parts of me that aren’t perfect. Not to drag on here but in high school my friends were all much smaller and prettier than me, which I was well aware of and so were all the boys who would befriend me in hopes of me putting in a good word for them. But to be honest I loved that I had so many guy friends that I could go to for advice or to talk to for an honest opinion. I loved that my friends were so pretty and I admired them. Sometimes I would get down on myself that I had crooked teeth or that at 16 my thighs had dark thick stretch marks, but luckily I had these guy friends that I could talk to about it and you know they always would tell me the same thing …that it doesn’t matter that I was an awesome person and fun and if someone was so superficial as to not want to be with me because of what I saw as flaws then it was their loss and to not worry about. And you know I took this to heart and I found ways to love myself. Before I got pregnant I was working out 2 hours a day 4-5 days a week, I was in no way ripped but I loved my body and had so much energy. When we didn’t get pregnant right away I thought it might be due to the stress I was putting on my body by exercising so I decided to stop until I got pregnant with the intention that I would go back to light exercises once it happened. That never happened I slept through my first trimester, second trimester was amazing and I started doing occasional hikes and walks but nothing crazy and I had gained 10 maybe 15 pounds by this point didn’t look pregnant and had no stretch marks. Then the third trimester hit and I gained 40-45 pound!(that’s 40 pounds in 3 months my Dr was shocked) My stomach erupted in stretch marks (they didn’t hit until I was 8 months along) and my whole body felt swollen and sluggish. My heart was always beating very hard and I had a hard time catching my breath if I did too much. So I became obsessed with looking for pictures of women in a similar situation, I saved every possible exercise regime, I drooled over post pregnancy flat bellys, and I researched every possible remedy for stretch mark reduction. Then I had my beautiful boy via c section (planned) he was 9lbs 1oz and then in the first month I had dropped 30lbs. I felt great about the prospect of getting my body back. But that went out the window with the struggles of breastfeeding. It was very important to me to breastfeed and I put all of my time and energy into making sure we developed a good breastfeeding relationship. Which led to my now exclusively left side breastfed body. There are times that I’m embarrassed at the fact that one breast is at least 2 times the size of the other. I sometimes try to hide it when we are going out with our friends. But for the most part when I see it I’m proud. I’m proud that I am able to sustain a healthy happy boy only needing one breast to do the job. I’m proud because it shows my dedication as a mom and that I’m not superficial I can go out in public with my body the way it is. I have stretch marks, a slightly saggy stomach, lopsided breasts, and my hair is falling out faster than its growing back in but I’m a devoted mother, a caring wife, a fun loving friend, an understanding sister and a forgiving daughter. I do love myself and though my old clothes don’t look as good on me, when I see myself naked in the mirror I think I’m beautiful. We go through many stages in life and some are better than others but we will continue to change throughout our lives and our mindset is what’s going to affect whether those future changes are positive or not.

I know my body will continue to change and that there are others out there who have gone through more dramatic changes than I have but I challenge you to be proactive and to find at least one thing you love about yourself and one thing you love about your body (I have great shoulders that I think are very sensual). Look at your new body as a reflection of the past you’ve lived and embrace the changes as they continue to appear. I’m posting my pre, pregnant, and post body because I researched like crazy when I was pregnant trying to find people with a similar body type. I don’t do any special diet and as for exercise I walk about a mile at least once a week (this only started happening a couple weeks ago).

My New Body (Melissa C)

My son will be 10 weeks old in a couple days and I’m at a loss for words because I can’t believe it has flown by so fast. I feel like it was just yesterday he was born. It was my first pregnancy so I was eager to follow all the guidelines to being pregnant including eating healthier than I normally would, taking my vitamins every day and taking care of myself as best I could. The one thing I had no control over was the rapidly increasing amount of stretch marks that started to cover my body slowly taking it over. I was never really in love with my body to begin with. I’ve been self conscious about myself and my weight since I was in middle school. My weight always fluctuated throughout the years and it seems like I was always on a diet trying to lose weight. I loved being pregnant and being able to feel my baby move around inside me. Knowing that he was depending on me to grow him, care for him, and protect him made me feel important. But the way my body was changing and getting bigger made me hate myself even more. I hated the way my stomach was covered in stretch marks. I would never take a belly picture without a shirt on. I tried everything to prevent them- from Palmers cocoa butter, Palmers tummy butter, Palmers oil, organic coconut oil, and exfoliating consistently and nothing worked. And I never thought back then that it could get any worse, until now. The loose, saggy, wrinkly skin that hangs down from my stomach makes me feel so depressed. I know it was worth it because I get to be the mom to a beautiful little boy that loves me so much. At the same time though, I don’t feel happy with myself. I can’t imagine ever feeling beautiful again. I’m jealous of the girls that think they’re fat but take for granted their flawless skin. I would love to be that girl again. You can always lose weight if you you aren’t happy with your size, but you can never get rid of the deep marks scattered over your skin. If there was a clean unmarked area of skin on my body it is now tagged with the marks of having a child. They’re literally everywhere. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a bikini, or any bathing suit for that matter. I am just trying to accept the fact that this comes with having my son and there is nothing I can do about it now so why waste my energy focusing on it? I wish I could be truly happy with myself and finally love myself, stretch marks and all.

Age: 24
# of pregnancies: 1
Age of child: 10 weeks

My postpartum body is horrible, and I have a lot of insecurities!!! (K. Evans)

Well for starters I have a lot on my plate. I’m a single mom, I work, and go to school. I just turned 20 last December, and this was my first pregnancy. I love my son to death I wouldn’t trade him for anything, I just regret having him at a young age. I feel like a bad mom sometimes because I get so down about my postpartum body, and it worries me so much I lose focus on what’s important. I’m 3 months pp and I thought I would be at least almost back to normal but I’m not. My stomach is very wrinkly and covered with stretchmarks as well as my sides, thighs, hips, even my calves. I don’t even want to date in the future because of it…its just that awful. The only thing that cheers me up about it is my son because he was well worth it. I just wish it wasn’t so bad ?

The first picture is me before pregnancy, the last two are me 3 months pp….

Terrible self image, despite healing well. 1st baby. (Anonymous)

1 child, 5 months PP

I am 23 and gave birth to my gorgeous baby girl 5 months ago. I love her more than life itself but have struggled with the effect on my body- softer stomach and saggier boobs :( I was lucky to only get very small stretchmarks underneath my belly button and they are now barely noticeable. My baby girls delivery was natural and the pregnancy was fine although I developed antenatal depression in my 3rd trimester and spent most of the pregnancy worrying excessively about my babies health. I didnt really gain much weight during the pregnancy, I went up a dress size and seemed to retain alot of water, the excess weight seemed to drop off post birth however I feel my posture is utterly horrendous from looking after a baby and carrying one for 9 months and despite recovering well body wise my self image is in tatters, I feel fat and ugly all the time even when done up (this never occured before) and my face has been ravaged by sleep deprivation- I have that ‘mumsy’ look now that tbh I always hated. My boobs seem to have shrunk even though I only breastfed for a few weeks. I feel guilty even feeling bad about myself post birth as many women have it a lot worse than me.. It doesnt help that sometimes my vagina feels ‘numb’ during sex aswell! Nightmare. I enjoy dancing and exercise and am hoping to incorporate it more in order to feel like ‘me’ again and maybe tone up a bit, I am just always so tired and busy these days! I am in a bit of a rush here anyway but just thought I’d post my story. Hugs to everyone going through similar feelings :)

1. me when I had the time and energy to put make up on- and a good nights sleep! age 21
2. me age 22 26 weeks pregnant with my baby :)
3. me pre baby age 21
4. 5 months post partum- wouldnt even show my knackered face now!

Am I Still Beautiful? (Anonymous)

I am 39 years old, wanting to accept my changing body, 3 pregnancies (3P/2B), both birth were vaginal, My “normal size”, 160cm, 55 kg (110lbs). Breast 32B,

I was 37 at the time I was pregnant with my second baby, I did gain a lot of weight and when I was 39 weeks I weighted nearly 76kg (150lbs), and I am only 160cm, 5 ft 3 in – I did look like an elephant, but somehow I liked my body, I was adored by my hubby and he was regularly taking pictures of my growing body.

Disaster came after I gave a birth … 5 months postpartum I still looked like I was pregnant, (First 11 pictures), stretch marks on my belly was the worst, my breasts got saggy and my nipples changed shape. My hips and legs look like I was 20 years older that I am, WHAT TO DO !

~Age: 39
~Number of pregnancies and births:3/2
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 12/2, I am 2 years PP

Twin Mom (Anonymous)

25 years old
First and only pregnancy
Fraternal twin boys born at 38 weeks via csection 5 lbs 1 oz and 5 lbs 12 oz

I wanted to share my “story”. I am just a real mom. I didn’t let myself go when I got pregnant and I tried to do “all the right things” for the most part. I am not a clean eater or extreme athlete. I highly respect the women who are dedicated enough to live that lifestyle and I hope someday I can be that dedicated! If I had been then I probably would look better postpartum twins than I do. Oh well, can’t change it now! :) For the most part I think genetics, in my case, did just get the best of me. I look almost identical to my mom after her kiddos. I see photos of women who had twins and look perfect with not a stretch mark or pinch of extra skin and it can be quite discouraging that that is not what I look like. I just want to share with other “moms to be” my “story” and how things turned out for me.

Pre-pregnancy weight 118 lbs. 5’6″ size 34D boobs. Active. Runner. Always had a pretty good body even when I didn’t work out or “try”. In the before pictures I was in the best shape of my life. I had done 3 months of the program “Brazil Butt Lift” and ran 4-5 miles 4-5 days a week.

I continued to run for the first few months of my pregnancy. I watched what I ate most of the time, but if I wanted to eat something I ate it. I gained 43 lbs when I walked back for my csection. I drank a lot of water!! I used cocoa butter and bio-oil religiously. It did not prevent my stretch marks. They look almost identical to my mothers.

I have diastasis recti. I went to physical therapy for it and it helped dramatically but I still struggle with it. It has not completely closed and at this point I don’t believe it will. I wish I was able to work out more than I have been able to. It is very hard for me to find the time, but that is not excuse. Of course I was upset with some aspects of my postpartum body, but overall I don’t think that I look too bad. My husband tells me all the time that he is more attracted to me than ever. I believe him because he wants me more now than ever. :) I frequently have people tell me that I look Amazing for having twins and they envy me. Of course, they don’t see me naked. I look pretty good in clothing! Ha! :) I am most happy that I didn’t develop an obvious tummy in clothing and my boobs are still there. (although not the same, slightly smaller and saggy) Again, my husband still loves them. He does say they are more “squishy” now than before, when they were firm.

I breastfed my twins until they were a year old. I was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans and that at 3 months postpartum but everything wasn’t back to “normal” until around 9 months pp. When I neared the point to wean the boys I was starting to waist away and only weighed about 117 lbs. After I had them weaned I gained back some weight and now I am sitting around 125 lbs. Not too far from my pre-pregnancy weight of 118 lbs. I wear all my old clothes. My csection scar is amazingly tiny and barely there. Looks much better than my stretch marks. The stretch marks didn’t really start until around 30 weeks.

In the white bikini- Pre-pregnancy 118 lbs 5’6″
In the pink dress- 1 1/2 years postpartum 125 lbs
In the black bra and blue yoga pants- 1 1/2 years postpartum 125 lbs
In the underwear and black sports bra- 16 months postpartum
In the blue tank top side view- 9 months postpartum
Walking back for my csection in the blue striped shirt (38 weeks twin baby bump)
With my little babies- going home at 5 days postpartum

Fascinated by the Changes (Anonymous)

Age: 39 years old

First child.

I am fascinated by the changes to my body (especially my boobs) that pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding are making.

I took these photos as a record for myself but also to share with a young friend of mine who told me ” Oh, you can exercise and get your body back.”

My response to her was “Well, if you think there’s an exercise that will change my boobs back, I think you believe in magic. ;)

I’ve left it late in life to have my first child – I’m 39 – and I feel it’s a little easy to accept my body because I had it good while I was young.

Now I am ageing anyway and at least I have something to show for it – and making another human is quite an achievement! :)

I do worry though that women have unrealistic expectations of what they can control and change about their bodies and I think it’s important to learn how to embrace the mamma body.

In some ways, I disagree that women should even have to show their bodies at all. Why are we always under such scrutiny other than to drive an industry?

But if sharing images of ourselves makes someone else feel less alone in their situation, then it’s worth it!

So here are some photos that I am happy to share.

The first one was taken when I was 28 years old (and long before having children) – proof that I too once had perky boobs. ;)

And the next shot was taken at age 39; 5 weeks postpartum, post C-section, currently breastfeeding.

I’m not sure of my weight but I think I’m about 6kg heavier than I was before getting pregnant (now about 74kg, was 68kg) and about 16kg heavier now than I was 10 years ago when the first shot was taken (was 58kg).

The other photos are of different stages. One old photo is from when I was 28 years old. Then 5 weeks postpartum. Also 5 weeks and 31 weeks pregnant.








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Getting There (Anonymous)

I am a 26 y/o mother of one beautiful girl. I have always been small, but have been self confident of my belly as it had a little flab to it. When I got pregnant, I was 105lbs. I delivered my baby at 37 weeks and 147 lbs. I got stretch marks on my breasts, thighs, and stomach. I hate them. It’s hard to feel sexy with them, but there is nothing I can do so I guess they are here to stay.

I am now 10 months PP and starting to accept my body. My breasts used to be small and firm, but have changed. I am worried what will happen when I wean. I love them when they are full of milk, but after feeding they are deflated. My belly is still there, and still bothering me. I’m down to 105lbs again but am saggy and it bothers me.

26 yo
1 vaginal birth, 10 months PP
Breasts, PP, first child

Bottom to top: before pregnancy, 10 months pp, full breasts (when I like them), 8 months PP (my belly)

“Is she pregnant? …Or just fat?” (Anonymous)

Back in my younger years I had always been pretty chubby, it wasn’t until about 3 or 4 years ago that I lost all the weight, stopped smoking and make it to around 140 lbs. I was not perfect looking by any means, but I did look somewhat fit and healthy overall. I am now currently in my 6th month of pregnancy and am insulted that people constantly make comments about how much I am “letting myself go”, especially at work. People seem to be surprised or taken aback with total disbelief that there’s a baby inside my body. Even my own mother has told me I look fat. She said, “Well you don’t look very big for being six months pregnant. You just look like you eat too much.” I find that this is hurting my self image physically and mentally, and making me want to cry. Cry because I know that my body is changing to support my son, yet I get called fat or over weight and asked, “Baby?! Where are you hiding it?!” I sometimes even get reprimanded by my prenatal nurses about the slightest ounce of weight I put on! I am not a big person (anymore) and I actually eat very healthy and well balanced meals and exercise regularly. What upsets me more is that I love children and would love to have two or even three, but being a first time mother with the experiences I have had so far have turned me off to the idea of having anymore children. It almost seems shameful to be pregnant and gain weight to support the life growing inside my body. I feel that the one size fits all pregnancy plan is not for everyone, because everyone is different. We all carry our children differently and our bodies adapt and support those children differently. Making pregnant women feel ashamed about their bodies or even their pregnancies during a time when it’s okay to put on some weight is not okay. Women should not have to feel badly about themselves when they should be beaming with vitality and joy. /end rant

Below: six weeks (right), six months (left).