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).

Won’t let my husband see me naked. (Anonymous)

I am 24 years old, I have 2 beautiful little girls – a 2 year old and a 6 month old, and I love them with all my heart and soul. However, I am so disgusted and ashamed of my body that I won’t let my husband see me naked. I gained 40 pounds with both pregnancies and lost all the weight plus some 2 months after each. What I am left with is horrible rippling stretch marks, loose dough like stomach skin, saggy breasts and a flat tush! I have always had insecurities, especially about my face – pretty has never been a word I have ever described myself with, and now that my body is ruined too, I just feel so ashamed. My husband calls me beautiful, and I know he’s lying since he watches porn and has always been very critical of other women’s bodies. When we do have sex and I’m not covered, i can’t enjoy it. My doctor told me there is nothing I can do about my skin. So now I need to find a way to cope with my body as it is. It is to the point where I can’t concentrate or have fun with my children because all I think about is how ugly my tummy has become.

Struggling to Accept My Body (Anonymous)

I have had two beautiful children, an 8 year old and 4 year old. I’m 34 now and I feel like since my second child and since hitting my 30’s my body is much different then it used to be. My breasts are much less full and perky and my stomach will never be as flat and tight as it once was. I look back on the body I used to have and am envious and wish I had appreciated it more back then!

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a point where I feel that comfortable with my body but I appreciate how it carried and delivered my babies.

Daily Struggle (Anonymous)

I’m 28 years old and just had my second child. My first is 7 years old and my most recent is almost 6 weeks old. After my first child I was involved in a few unhealthy relationships. In both of these, I was abused both mentally and physically. Part of the mental abuse included tearing down my self image and pointing out all of my flaws that I was told men would be disgusted with…my stretch marks and sagging breasts with large areola. Now that I’ve had my second child my body has changed again for the worst and all of those damaging statements flooded back to haunt me. This combined with my husband enjoying looking at other females has me fighting a daily battle with myself. I currently struggle with eating. I was 120 before my second pregnancy and gained 55 pounds. I’m currently at 140 but can’t eat. I try to stay positive with this website and positive quotes regarding self esteem and image but then I see my body in the mirror and I break down again. I see all of my flaws and new ones. My areola has gotten even larger and darker. My breasts sag even more and have lost more volume and breastfeeding. My stomach has even more stretch marks and is now longer flat like it was 10 mo this ago. My thighs have doubled in size. I have a tire around my entire midsection.

Most times I can’t even look at myself or others in the eye because I’m so ashamed. I wish more than anything I could be happy and love myself. But with the media/society along with previous men who have told me I’m not beautiful remind me of reality. This daily battle has affected my marriage and I’m afraid my girls will grow to see it. I tell them daily that they are beautiful in hopes that they never have to endure this emotional pain. I have often times turned to his website to help me knowing that there are other women out there who have had children and look beautiful in my eyes. You all truly are but I still can’t see it in myself. I have a consultation for surgery at 6 months post partum to make changes. Even that decision I am torn with. For now I will continue to try to win this fight although it is slowing beating me down.


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.

25 yrs old, 4 years pp mother of 2! (Anonymous)

Where has the time gone!? This is not my first submission, i did another back in april 2012 titled 21 with 2 babies. I am now 25 and 4 years pp! Can’t believe my youngest will be 4 on oct 31st!

Ok, but back to the beginning. I’ve had 2 pregnancies and 2 births. I was 19 when i gave birth to my 1st (he is now 5 and in kindergarten), and 21 when i gave birth to my 2nd. Both amazingly handsome little boys and they are 19 months apart. I have been happily married to the love of my life for going on 7 years. My husband is super loving and tries his hardest to make me feel beautiful, but its hard for me. I am currently at my pre pregnancy weight, that’s not what gets me upset. Its my boobs :( after breastfeeding both my boys, one for 9 months the other for a year, they sure took a beating! I went from a C cup to a DD while nursing, now I’m maybe a B. And they are definitely not as happy as they used to be. I feel fine in clothing, but its a different story when the clothing comes off. You ladies are amazing for sharing your stories and pictures, each and everyone of you are beautiful! God bless!

Updated here.

I Used to Be a Model! (Anonymous)

I use to be a model!!!

I just turned 22. This is me 7 months post postpartum. I use to be a size 2-4, I loved my body, I worked hard at it, and I was so happy with what it had become. During my pregnancy I gained 100lbs!!! I have since lost 30 and plan on losing the rest. The biggest problem for me is my boobs. They use to be a nice B now I wear a DDD and it’s way too small (it’s the biggest size at the store) I HATE their size, I feel like I am all boob. I use to be able to run around without a bra! I hate bras. I hate how they hang down and cover my waist. The second picture I am lifting my arm up and it puts my boob in the place where it should be, and you can see my waist. I REALLY hope they shrink once I am done breastfeeding, but I am letting my son self wean. I wonder, will they shrink as the number of feeds decreases? Or will nothing happen until I am not breastfeeding at all anymore? I am against birth control for religious reasons, I haven’t gotten my period back, but I will probably get pregnant as soon as I start ovulation again, this means I might not have time to get my body back in shape, and maybe my boobs will grow again from another pregnancy and never shrink!? (Yikes!). I hate also that I can’t wear the clothes I love. Like many of the girls on this site, my husband also cheats on me with online porn. I am hoping once I can look like that again the infidelity will stop. I hate too because he is jacking off to women just because of their bodies, their bodies are enough to be deserving of his sexual attention. It disappointment me that the standard for who deserves it fo him is as low as who has the right body, I would be less upset if he jacked off to pictures of a girl he knew because he liked her as a person. I don’t even want a perfect body, I just want a decent one, I would switch bodies with almost any girl who has posted on here in an instant (they all look better then mine) and would probably be happy. I have thought about a breast and body lift after being done losing weight but it’s against my values and I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed more kiddos. I also developed a crush on a guy (my relationship with my husband has been in the pits, because I don’t feel like a desirable woman anymore, just a mom, and a house cleaner) and he called me fat and stopped talking to me over it. I use to have men wrapped around my fingers, so this really hurt. I wanted to go back to school, and take birth control in order to escape being a mom and be more like a maiden and I was hoping that would make my husband more attracted to me, I am really so sad about this transition to being a mom, it makes me feel like I am now completely undesirable to anyone. But I know he will not stay with me, because our faith calls to us having more traditional role where I stay home and have lots of kids. And I am not willing to leave him for this because I want my child to have a Dad, that’s more important to me then myself. It’s also why I still breastfeed (my child is more important than me) even though I know stopping would probably help my boobs shrink back.

Deep Breath (Angie)

Reposted here from the Mid Drift Movement Facebook page with Angie’s permission. Photo posted with Jade’s permission.

Deep Breath. Here it is. As many of you may have followed along we recently brought the mindblowingly talented Jade Beall here from Jade Beall Photography. She did mini shoots of mamas and I had the joy of meeting them all prior and helping everyone get comfortable before stepping behind the lens. I heard their reasons for doing the shoot and marveled at their bravery. I told them all they were lovely and I meant it with all my being.

My shoot with Jade was the day before the mamas came. We had come right from an event that morning where so many of you told us how important this movement is to you. I had had the privilege of getting to know Jade over the past few days and felt at ease. And my friends, the shoot was not as terrifying as I had anticipated for me. I didn’t hesitate and I went for it all fully nude (I’ll save those for elsewhere viewings) because I was thinking of all the hiding we do everyday. All of the mamas who think they are the only ones that look the way they do, that certainly no one has as many stretches, sags or bumps as they do. I left with my head held high feeling fuller of beauty than I had in a long time.

Then three weeks later the photos arrived in my inbox.

I thought I was ready, that I was confident. It was clear quite quickly I was not. Clicking through these images that I know show me as I am, I was overcome with emotions I had not expected. Shock. Sadness and Embarrassment. Not for my appearance, but for my reaction to seeing myself. And I wept staring at my screen. Mike sat next to me not entirely sure what to do that could ease the sting. I told him that the me I was seeing was not the me I have in my head. For whatever reason it just didn’t quite resonate.

I had to take a few days to let it all settle with me and then I took another look last night. This time I tried, really tried, to look at them with an open heart and see the real me. Of course the images were the same but this time I saw other things. I saw the sparkle in my eye as I held my head with pride. I saw the breasts that have fed and sustained all four of my children. I saw the stretched to its limits belly that grew these stupendous beings. And I felt a little bit of pride. Do I love every bit of my body? Absolutely not, but I am trying and it is happening slowly but surely.

And I knew I needed to share some of them. Especially when after our news story has been shared I have seen some of the comments. And they are not all that pretty. ( I broke the cardinal rule of never read the comments). I know that as we continue in this journey there will be more negativity and people asking me to “please cover it up” or lamenting that I am just “another fat woman looking for an excuse to not work out”. I know these people don’t know my story and furthermore, I know they don’t care. What I do know is that they are the people that fuel my fire to keep going. They are proof positive that indeed our society’s ideals need to be challenged and need to be questioned. So I will keep pushing forward asking you to join me.

The photo I chose was taken near the end of my shoot when we brought my youngest son in with me. He was less than thrilled especially when he saw that mama was in her undies and that there was not only Jade, but we had our film crew there too. Yup. I had it filmed for our documentary so that others may see that sometimes you have to close your eyes and jump without being certain of what will catch you. And I will continue to encourage you to do the same.

Love and strength to all you brave mamas as you too fuel my flame.

PS, we cannot continue to do this without your support so if this moves you in any way and you can contribute $5, $10 or whatever you can it would be ever so appreciated. Our Go Fund me link is here.


Shape of Me: Take Two (Mom)

Age : 28
Number of pregnancies : 2

I am a mom of two beautiful and I mean beautiful children. Not just saying that because I am mom ! My son was born ten years ago and two years or so after that, I completed an entry into this forum with photos. It was the scariest thing I had ever done. It was the first time anyone saw me naked, and in the light. It was the first time I shared my insecurities with what might as well have been the entire world. It was a freeing experience and though it did not resolve my body image issues, it did bring about a sense of adventure and a step into the unknown. It also allowed me to relate with hundreds of women and hopefully provide understanding with other women. Their comments truly made me smile. Their feedback was appreciated and it never left me, their words of positivity and wisdom.

I had my son at the young and impressionable age of 18. Back then media was worse than it is now. I was devastated to see the impact pregnancy and childbirth had on my body. I was a single parent , no visitation, nothing. Previous to that pregnancy I struggled with a major and almost deadly eating disorder. I was very small, underdeveloped. When I became pregnant I made the brave and selfless decision to devote every day to growing and making that little being as healthy as possible. For the first time, I ate and enjoyed meals. I gained a whopping 100 lbs. considering I was less than 100 prior to pregnancy, I gained a healthy weight and then a pregnancy weight. My son was born weighing in at 10.2.. I had major stitching, was hospitalized myself.

The years that followed were emotional not just with having a baby, but having a new and not improved (in my eyes) body, new relationships, new experiences at school. As my body shrunk back, I was left with thousands of stretch marks from arms to legs.. Deep and dark, lifeless breasts and a shredded stomach (not in a good way). I wore girdles , push up bras, I fake tanned, cream tanned, ran … I dedicated every ounce of my time to my body and what I thought could repair it, and my self esteem. I had relationships that failed, friendships that suffered and a lack of parenting found that I’ll never get back. I was receiving media messages that I could not filter. I had to be beautiful , I couldn’t afford it. What was I to do? My efforts in my own eyes were fruitless. Small improvements were made. Days were good, and then so low. I took photos of myself , I compared, I cried. I had sex with the lights off. I knew all the ways to conceal imperfections in moments that are meant to let go, be vulnerable. I had never been. I moved around , squirmed, sucked, tucked , rolled and mainly bent over for any intimate relationship. Imagining revealing my imperfections was mortifying. Imagining being abandoned for it was devastating, a nightmare.

Years later, I met my husband. This was after countless failed relationships. We met on a whim. An absolutely breath taking and handsome man. More than I could have imagined and a glowing loving personality that could not be beat. We fell in love. We made promises to help me become vulnerable. He was gentle and amazing and over the past four years of our marriage I have opened up more than I could have imagined. A man who loves me as I am. A year ago I had my daughter. The most beautiful creature I have ever seen, wild and gorgeous. My body minimally changed as I kept up my fitness in pregnancy and did yoga religiously (a huge passion of mine), but most of all I was grounded and loving and calm throughout my pregnancy. After having her I continued my fitness (which is much more to maintain my shape than for health) on a regular basis.

You know, I love my life, I love my husband but we live with more than just our children. We live with this angry other person in the room. Someone who tells me I am hideous and not good enough for my husband. That he deserves a woman with the perfect body, not me , used and destroyed …. I look back at my first pregnancy and I would do anything to go back and have more self restraint about food and knowledge about exercise. I ask why did this happen to me? Why did I get this body? Why do I work so hard to fix it all for nothing ? I see women in social media and the news and I cannot believe they have been so blessed with breasts and bodies and smiles and how were they dealt such an amazing hand ? I know I’ve read some stories here and then looked at the pictures and wondered , “what’s wrong with her !? She’s gorgeous!!” , but this is my personal fight and I try not to judge.

Body dysmorphic disorder is real. We don’t always see ourselves the way we are, or the way others do. I don’t have any answers. I have lots of questions and lots to learn. I feel always at the beginning of my body journey and nowhere near the end. I’m only here to bare all again and share and show and expose myself because it’s a tiny piece of my healing that I wish to share with you. I don’t wish you all to be cured in one day, I just hope like me, that you find small ways when and if you can on some days and moments in time to really be in the moment, as who you are , as you are feeling the wind or maybe the sun or maybe just observing what’s happening around you and that not every moment is spent with focus on what you are missing or what you want. Sometimes we have so much and we don’t notice until we stop time. All the best to you.

Who’s This Person? (Anonymous)

I’m 32 years old and 11 months postpartum from my second child (4th pregnancy), my oldest is 3. I don’t know how much weight I gained during my pregnancy but I know I ate far too much. McDonalds, chips, just writing it down disgusted me. I tried training and being nice with myself but it’s hard. I know my body went through a lot in short time so I tried to take easy but it’s hard. No matter what I do the weight won’t come off. Oh well, I have two kids who love my tummy!!!

I don’t know what happened to my breast but they’re completelly different sizes now and I think it’s the thing i’m most self conscious about. I always had small boobs but nw they’re sagging, and weirdly shaped. It’s hard looking in the mirror and not recognize the person who’s starting back at you.

I think all the women here are beautiful but I’m still looking for the beauty in myself.