It’s a Fair Trade (Anonymous)

~ Age: 27
~Number of pregnancies and births: 3 pregnancies, 2 births
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 2 year old and 6 month old

I love my life! I have an amazing, supportive husband and two adorable little boys who I get to spend everyday with as a stay-at-home-mom. We live in a quaint home in a peaceful neighborhood with family close by. It’s wonderful that they can share with us the joys of raising our children.

It’s been a lot of ups and downs in our mere 3.5 years of marriage, including losing our first pregnancy; a missed miscarriage confirmed at 10 weeks. It was a difficult three weeks as we waited for my body to pass the pregnancy naturally but in that time my husband and I grew very close and became certain in our decision to start a family. Fortunately, following the miscarriage, I was very lucky to have two complication free pregnancies (although physically they weren’t easy to get through) and relatively easy and uneventful vaginal deliveries. The crowning moment of my life was when the doctor told me to look down and to take my youngest son by the armpits. I pulled him from me, up to my chest and we met for the first time. I said “Hi baby” and his gaze, while I’m sure quite fuzzy, managed to meet incrediby intensely with mine. In that moment I knew the world and our family was complete.

I read and hear about other women’s stories and journeys into motherhood and I feel so blessed that I have been able to escape many of their difficulties. Yet, there is still a pain I am living with. It’s like a nagging that plagues my mind every second of every day. A nagging that I’m not good enough, not perfect enough. I’m not the wife or mother or housekeeper that I should be. I should be better with money, better with my diet, better about reading to my kids, the list goes on and on. Part of this little voice has always been there in the back of my head, the other part is a little monster that has risen out of PPD and D-MER.

Most people are knowledgeable about post-partum depression, but not with D-MER, so I will explain. D-MER, short for Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex, refers to mood swings created from the drop in dopamine that triggers a milk letdown while breastfeeding. What this means is that every time my son latches on, I get an intense feeling of panic, dread, guilt, frustration, annoyance, etc. The feelings change and are never the same from episode to episode. I have found that these negative feelings that ebb and flow many times throughout the day, along with PPD and sleep deprivation make it very hard to maintain a strong sense of self. I battle my demons with positive thoughts and some help from an antidepressant. I don’t win every battle but so far I am winning the war. Breastfeeding is very important to me and I didn’t want to stop because of this stupid thing called D-MER, so I keep fighting and try to keep winning. I have always had good self esteem and a healthy body image but the physical and emotional toll of bringing my babies into the world and nourishing them has made the negative voices creep in. ‘I’m not good enough. If I was skinnier and fitter then maybe I will be good enough’.

Most days I’m pretty certain that I will get a tummy tuck and a boob lift when we can save the money for it. On my better days I can look past the sagging skin and simply accept that this is the new me. In the mean time I’m trying to lose weight and get in shape. I ran my first 5k a few weeks ago!! Ok, well, I walked half of it. But never in my life did I think I would complete a 5K and I did it just 5 months after having my second baby in less then 2 years!

Currently I weigh 167 lbs. I started both my pregnancies at 174 lbs and got up to 194 lbs with my first and 202 lbs with my second. My current goal weight is 155. I could get down to 135 which is where I was in college, but who am I kidding, I’d rather be a little pudgy and get to enjoy all the tasty food life has to offer then be skinny and have to miss out, lol!

At the end of the day, I’m not thrilled with my body but I have so much in my life to be thankful for so I choose not to stress about it. I have an openhearted and inquisitive toddler who bring so much fun into my life and my 6 month old is a ball of smiles and laughs. I have a husband who is my soul mate and who loves me even at my worst. Those are the only things that really matter in this world. If I have to put up with a little sagging skin for all of that, I’ll call it a fair trade :)

I’m hoping that by sharing my far from perfect body it will help other women feel more comfortable with theirs.

Picture 1: Nursing
Picture 2: What happens when I pull the sag out :(
Picture 3: Side view
Picture 4: The hips that gave me easy deliveries
Picture 5: You can see I just fed on my left side, lol

Updated here.