I had my first boy at 21 and my second at 26. I’m now 28 and still working at loving my body. It’s pretty much looked exactly this way since my first child. I’m sometimes unhappy with my breasts, uneven and stretched. I struggle with depression and can be really hard on myself at times. However, I celebrate my flaws when I can and that’s why I’m sharing this photo with you! Today I feel okay with the body I live in. We don’t have to be perfect to be amazing!
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.
I’m always struggling with accepting my new body. I know we should not dwell on the negative of child birth when the positive is two beautiful girls now 6 and 5. I’m 30 now but still struggling with insecurities. I would love to be this fit mom but with a full time job getting out late and then coming home to spend time with my girls before bed, I find it hard to go to the gym. Even though my husband tells me he doesn’t care what I look like, It’s hard to accept that this is how my body will look from now on, I just wish I could have the same confidence as all the amazing moms out there, I will get there eventually it’s just taking me a bit longer!
After my first pregnancy, I was very unhappy with my body. I stopped eating healthy and my weight yo-yoed constantly. When my son was 2 years old, I found out I was pregnant again and I cried. I wasn’t ready to add another child to our mess. I was a nervous wreck. I even kept losing weight a few months into my 2nd pregnancy. It got so bad that my nurse practitioner encouraged me to start taking meds to control my anxiety. Then halfway through the pregnancy, I noticed that my navel was sticking out more than the first time around and it was tender to the touch. My OB said it was an umbilical hernia (it wasn’t) and would probably get better after I delivered the baby (it didn’t). The discomfort got worse as the pregnancy went on. When I was in labor, the contraction pain was all in my back because of the muscle damage. Two months postpartum when I got permission to exercise, I began with a workout video called Six Week Six Pack. I lost a few pounds, but my stomach looked even worse. So I exercised harder! Sadly it took a few years for me to learn about Diastasis Recti and realize how much worse I had made things. When I started seeing a physical therapist, she was appalled. For months I was not allowed to lift anything over 5 pounds and absolutely no sit-ups. I’ve been wearing a brace and doing pilates and water aerobics to try and heal the damage I did to my core muscles. It’s exhausting and frustrating, but my stomach actually looks like a stomach again! I probably won’t ever have a six pack, but my kids love my squishy belly.
~Number of pregnancies and births: 2
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 8 and 5
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.
This is me. Your SOAM host. This was a big deal for me to share. I wrote a little bit about it on Instagram:
I created SOAM almost ten years ago and I don’t think I’ve ever felt as naked as I do right now in sharing this photo. And I’m pretty sure I’ve actually posted a topless picture before! I took this picture a few years ago with my big camera. I thought that doing an almost-macro shot of my stretch marks would help me to see them in a new light. I thought if I could make them into art, I’d find them more beautiful. But when I loaded the photos onto my computer and looked at them, I was shocked. They were so much scarier up close than I’d expected, so much more violent. So I hid the photos away instead of sharing them. After all these years of work on my body image and I’m still struggling. It’s really hard work to love yourself! And yet, almost five years after I hid away this picture, I’m ready to share it. My stretch marks are some of the most intense I’ve ever seen (and you know I’ve seen a lot over the years!) but that’s okay. My stretch marks aren’t my soul. My stretch marks are part of my story. My biography written into my skin. And this chapter is about how I became a mother to two amazing human beings. And that is kind of beautiful.
I have got a ton of really lovely responses. I shouldn’t be surprised, of course. I mean, I’ve known how wonderful this community is for years now. But it still feels a little extra naked for me to share this because I can’t just be anonymous here. And so I’ve been just uplifted by you guys once again. Here are some of the comments I’ve received:
“Seriously as I scrolled by I didn’t notice the poster and I thought it was an art website I follow. I stopped because it was so beautiful- looks like sculptural trees. Truly beautiful.” – Kristina M. B.
“love this so much. I see in this image the strength and fragility it takes to carry and birth a baby. The human body and mothering spirit is truly an amazing thing!” – Lauren B.
“I see an incredible amount of stretch and give that is needed to become an entity that can bear, birth and mold another spiritual being into existence. NOTHING to be ashamed of. Beautiful.” – Amber D.
“Its beautiful to see how our skin is so strong yet so delicate” – Bernadette L.
And a couple that I found really powerful:
“They *are* violent, and a testament to the incredible strength of a woman’s body to create and house new human life. Pregnancy and birth have degrees of violence to them that we do a disservice to ourselves by denying.” – Leah M.
“Oh, honey. Even if your stretch marks were your soul, they would not be something to be ashamed of. They would still show your beauty.” – Heidi S.-P.
And, honestly, she’s so right. I think I was trying to say that they are not my entire aspect, they are not all of me, in and out. They are but one facet of who I am, and they are absolutely important enough to be my soul, aren’t they? My children are parts of my soul and they’ve written on me in love so that no matter how they grow, they will also still always be within reach of my touch.
I had stretch marks and was overweight before kids, and i was learning to love them. When I found myself pregnant with my son my body changed all over again and at 19 I was trying ti learn to love my new body and the little body inside. I gained a lot of weight due to stress eating. My little man was born 7lbs 9oz in 2013. Hes 2 now. In November of 2014 i found out the fertility gods had given me another unexpected gift. My body hadnt rebounded yet from the first when my 10lb 4oz little girl came along my body was scarred, stretched, and pretty wrecked up. I needed ten more perineal stitches after her natural birth, to go with brothers episiotomy stitches, but thats okay! My scars aren’t all visable to the world, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. But even though I felt like my body was ruined, my babies didn’t. My son enjoys tracing the “booboos” on my tummy and my little girl often snuggles into my extra skin & fat.
They love me and someday i will too.
My name is princess I’ll be 22 in January and I am pretty proud of what my body made!
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.