We Believe Survivors


TW: Sexual Violence

These past two weeks have been awful for so many survivors of sexual violence. To not only hear these triggering things being spoken of so often in the media, but to hear them being denied and erased, and to hear these survivors, particularly Dr. Ford, absolutely torn apart both in the media and in congress.

To have an abuser refuse to acknowledge an abuse (which is, of course, the most common patten) is deeply damaging. To have an entire nation refuse to acknowledge a specific instance as well as an entire culture of abuses can be traumatizing – and I am not using hyperbole when I say that.

I listened to as much as I could of the hearing in DC today and, even though I am not personally triggered by this subject, I could only handle so much. I have so much respect for Dr. Ford for sitting through that as bravely as she did. She is truly a beacon of strength. She is a American hero. I believe her.

And I want you, my readers, to know that I also believe you. No questions asked. I believe you. I know that the statistics of false rape reports are fewer than 2%. I know that it is hard to come forward because of fears of not being believed, or because of fears of retaliation from your abuser and/or their community. I know that most rapes are never reported and I know that 36 years makes no difference whatsoever in terms of legitimacy of your claim, or in terms of your trauma and healing. I don’t need explanations. I believe you.

Friends, please make sure you are registered to vote and get out there come November and help take this country back from those who would harm us. Women’s health is very much on the line right now and we must take that more seriously than ever. Every vote counts, but we need to get out there and make our voices heard. We’ve seen the direction this country is headed in – let’s take it back!

So much love to you all.

Frumpy and Angry! (Anonymous)

Im 22 and have a 3 year old daughter… she wasn’t at all planned.. but my ex wasn’t a very nice person either, I do not regret her she I my world! See this relationship was horrible I was like a possession not a equal human being, I was treat like dirt hit and often made to do sexual things I did not want to.. I never had money to spend on my self such as new clothes or a hair cut..not even a chocolate bar!! As all my money went on his habbit..I suffered from severe depression before I fell pregnant I hated the world I hated myself.. I hated people that I thought should automatically know something was going on..but how can someone know when you put on a fake smile and hide the pain and suffering… Any how. I used to be a fit and healthy looking woman, but since having my daughter doctors have told me im in the “overweight” side of things..I hate hate hate my stomach. .I constantly cover it up even in the bath.. it didn’t help when my ex would state how ugly and manky I looked and how I should cover up! Even though I split up with him over 2 years ago he still mamages to make me hate myslef..im with the perfect man I’ve been with him for nearly 2 years he’s beautiful to me and always tells me im beautiful. .I still well up inside.. I’ve never been vein and never would be.. I find it so hard to think that I am “ok” or “pretty”… I think im also scared of messing things up in “being a mum” I love my daughter deeply I don’t know what I would do if she was taken from me! Im not the most feminit looking woman but I do want to feel pretty! I love getting my rockabilly look on for certain occasions I love feeling pretty..but on most days I feel hideous and depressed. .I don’t know wether this is because of what I went through for 5 years feeling worthless and inadequate but I do!… I guess what I trully want is to be able to love my self or atleast have some self-esteem and confidence!!

I also want to know..if anyone has gone a diet and felt any better after there goals?!

The Gift I Took for Granted (Anonymous)

When I was 12 I feel in love with a man, M. He was 18 and did not even know I was alive. But as I grew he finally took notice. When I was 15 he ask me on a date I was over the moon. While on this date his ex shows up and they ended up leaving together. That night changed my life forever. I met my husband who is 3 years older than me. J waited till I was 17 to ask me out and the night after I finished high school we made love for my first time. As a joke I told him he had to marry me and with a straight face said he had every plan to. We moved in together and for 6 weeks it was amazing. Then on 4/14/2000 my entire world crashed. A friend of his from high school knocked on our door and asked me out for lunch. I called J and ask if it was fine. Now I realize the tone of his voice it was not. But I was so tired of being home alone. After lunch S brought me back home and would not leave. I walked in the kitchen to get the phone which he breaks. I keep telling him please do not hurt J. He laughs and next thing I know I am naked laying on our sofa. As he rapes me I watch TV with Rosie O’Donnell with Tom Cruise. When he is done he laughs again and says “If you get pregnant it is not mine.” spits on me and leaves. S calls J at work and tells him that I just cheated on him. J throws me out of our apartment because I can not tell him what happened. I spend the night on the streets barefooted and in just shorts and a tiny shirt. J calls my parents the next day and they come get me. After few months my mom makes me go to the DR. and there on the ultrasound screen is a baby. A big baby. My mom takes me to J at his job and I hand him a photo of the baby. ” Happy Father’s Day.” Turning and walk away. C our son will never know. J is his father no matter what. Today J and C are at the hunting lease and me and our daughter O who is 22 months younger than C watch TV. My family has been though a lot. The loss of another baby between C&O. The loss of O’s twin. Ovarian Cancer. C falling out of a tree and almost dying. J and I almost divorcing because the hate and pain. But I am so lucky to be a Mother to 2 amazing children.

Stretch Marks and All (limiwa)

Age: 27
Pregnancies: 3 (miscarried 2nd pregnancy at 10 weeks)
Births: 2
Children: boy 8 years, girl 3 years

I just found this site a few weeks ago, and have found such comfort in the stories and pictures I have read and seen so far. Every woman has a story to tell, each as important and resonant as the last.
This is mine.

My body image issues started around the time I turned 15. It was then that a long buried secret had come to the surface of my life. For a time during my adolescent years, my uncle (by marriage) had molested and sexually assaulted me. Although the abuse had finally stopped, the shameful memory of it remained. During a time when my body was changing rapidly, the truth of the past at last came out. When I looked in the mirror I saw only an object that a man would lust after, it terrified and disgusted me. There was nothing wrong with my body at that time. I was at an ideal weight and had a nice figure, but still I hated it. My butt was too big, my boobs too small…etc, etc. I think in reality what I hated more than the actual appearance of my body was what my body had been through, what it now represented to me. It was like his fingerprints were all over me. I wavered constantly between feeling good about myself and feeling very, very low.

Not long after my “confession” my parents separated and later divorced. With an absentee father and a depressed mother, I found solace in a close male friend who later became my boyfriend. Little wonder that I became pregnant at age 18 by the same boy. I married that boy two weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Despite the ups and downs of those first few years together, it has certainly been a blessing in disguise. We just celebrated out 9th wedding anniversary and our relationship has never been better. He is a wonderful husband and father who is still my very best friend.

During my first pregnancy I was so clueless as to what it took to grow a healthy baby. I ate pretty much whatever I wanted, both good food and not so good food. I did exercise during the 2nd and part of the 3rd trimester, which helped to control my weight gain a little. I slathered on the cocoa butter religiously – to no avail. Before getting pregnant I weighed 125lbs (I’m 5’5”). Just hours before giving birth I weighed in at 168. My pregnancy went smoothly, as did my 16 hour labor and vaginal delivery. (With no drugs! Yikes! Now THAT was painful.) I never looked in the mirror or weighed myself the entire time I was preggo, however, I still felt enormous and I didn’t entirely enjoy being pregnant. It was quite a shock to see this red, floppy tummy at the hospital after giving birth.

When I came home I knew there was no way I would fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes, but I wanted to try it, just to see…I couldn’t even get my jeans past my knees! A week postpartum I weighed 150lbs and felt so terribly fat. After that I made myself stop thinking about it (I’m quite good at putting things out of my mind when I want to), and tried my best to focus on this new precious baby boy in my life. It was always there though, this nagging thought in the back of my mind telling me, “You’re ugly now. You’re all used up. And you hated yourself before! What are you going to do now?” It was (and still is sometimes) this scary, unsettling feeling. The only perk was the boobs! Lol. I finally had the chest I’d always wanted, but unfortunately nothing else remained of the body I used to have. Stretch marks covered my belly, my hips, and the tops of my thighs, angry and red. My butt and thighs had ballooned and I had no waist to speak of.

By the time my son was 6 months old the stretch marks had faded and most of the weight had come off. I decided that a serious exercise program was in order to tone my squishy body back up. Three months into it and I had lost the last 10lbs, bringing me to within 5lbs of my pre-baby weight. Although I was back around my “normal” body size, things didn’t look the same. The texture of my skin is forever damaged, never again to be smooth and seamless. My boobs are like empty, saggy sacks. A scar that runs the length of my stomach from a previous surgery at age 12, was also stretched. The pressure of the extra weigh gave my some spider veins and cellulite. I managed to get my body back though (for the most part), and feel a measure of confidence and acceptance, at least clothed. I could never regret the birth of my children no matter what the damage to my body :)

Nearly 5 years after having my son, I gave birth to my daughter. This time around I was smarter with what and how much I ate, and even exercised up until a few days before giving birth. Instead of the 40+ pounds I put on with my son, I gained a mere 25. Through out the pregnancy I felt glowing and lovely (Me! Imagine!). It was easier this time to appreciate my body for the wonderful thing it was doing rather than loathing it for getting bigger. Knowing my body better this time around, I decided to have the baby at home. It was an amazing experience! The atmosphere was calm, all my family was able to be there and I felt relaxed. After only 6 hours on intense labor and 10 minutes of pushing (thank goodness for all those tummy exercises!), out came my beautiful baby girl.

Surprisingly, my body bounced back even faster the second time. By the time my daughter was 4 months old I was back in my regular jeans. She is now 3 ½ years old and I’m actually 10lbs lighter than before I got pregnant with her. The only thing I can chock it up to is good nutrition, regular exercise and natural whole food supplements, which has helped my body to be in balance.

Still, I struggle at times. I’m sure many women, after looking over my photos, will roll their eyes and cluck to themselves, “Oh, please…”. And for the most part you’d be right. I realize that things could be so much worse (Can’t they always be?) and I should just be grateful for a healthy, functioning body that gave me two amazing kiddos and managed to come out of it okay. Only when I look at my super skinny friends who’ve also had kids (granted only one child each), who hardly have a single stretch mark to speak of, I feel a little robbed, cheated of a nice body at such a young age. Of course, no one else sees it this way, especially my husband who has always thought the world of me. He sees a goddess, and I only wish I could see myself through his eyes. It’s those past feelings that linger, the ones that tell me I’m shameful and worthless, a constant mental roadblock I fight to overcome. I may be able to ignore it for a time, then I’ll get a glimpse of myself in the mirror at the wrong time of the month and the negative feelings come rushing in on me.

Interestingly, I can look the pictures of all you lovely women and think to myself, “Aww, that’s not so bad, she looks great!” But it’s harder to be objective with myself. Having a daughter now, I’m so afraid of passing along these body hang ups to her. I don’t want her to ever criticize her body the way I find myself doing of mine. I want her to feel strong, beautiful and confidant. Although I don’t ever put myself down in front of her or my son, it’s still a near constant mental dialogue.

It has been, and probably will continue to be for some time, a battle to love myself 100%. I have my good days where I can wear something and feel extremely sexy, and other days I would rather be almost anyone else but me. The journey seems never ending, but I am determined to make progress, to take care of myself, to treat my body — stretch marks and all — as a vessel worthy of respect and awe whether or not I actually believe it yet.

Thank you for reading, I know it was long!

**The 1st two pictures are recent ones of me – don’t let the push-up bra fool you! ;)
The others are more close ups of my stretch marks (sorry for the low quality, these were taken with a camera phone)
It’s not really clear in the pictures, but I do have stretch marks all along my hips running down to the tops of my thighs, plus ones below my belly button. Yes, they’ve faded, but they’re fairly deep and thick so the long cracks of them remain. They look far worse in the flesh!

Just Me (Anonymous)

I’ve been pregnant twice and have a fantastic “5 and 3/4 year old” daughter. I’m 38, 5’2″, and 140 pounds, which puts me right at the beginning of the overweight BMI category [per World Health Organization]. With my ribcage measuring at 30″ and bust at 39″, my bra size is a preposterous 30-I, or 32-H, or 34-G. How much do breasts weigh anyway?

Alongside many survivors of child sexual abuse and neglect I have struggled with disordered eating, body dysmorphia, toxic self-criticism and suicide attempts. I recently realized that perhaps one of the reasons I feel so shocked and dismayed when I catch an unexpected glance of myself in the mirror is that I am looking out with the eyes of a child and looking back as a media-hazed critic aware of the most minute of flaws.

After a flux throughout early adulthood stabilizing my health and weight I arrived pre-pregnancy at 115 pounds quite consciously, still aware of the imperfections of pendulous breasts and compulsively squeezing into jeans that were a size too small, even though I was smaller than most Americans. I breastfed for 2.5 years and happily, sanely, got down to 125 pounds at 3 years postpartum. Then I started taking a beta-blocker medication to reduce PTSD symptoms and my weight went straight up to 140+. I’ve tried for a year balancing calories in and out after quitting the meds to get the weight to drop, but it really isn’t going anywhere despite my ongoing concerted effort! My best hope is to keep it from going up since I’m teetering on the edge of overweight and my mother is obese with diabetes.

I have searched the web for photographs of actual women my age and size in their “natural” state to help me get a grip on body image anxieties, but I’m sure to no surprise, found very VERY few, even though my body type seems to be pretty common. I did find a lot of porn, some celebrations of anorexia, airbrushed and photo-shopped celebrities, and this website. I also found an energetic youTube video from a 18 years younger woman who is my size and happy as a clam, since she just lost 30 pounds to get there.

For my photograph, I choose to use a pose and location that signified feeling good in my body, which I think should be a true and heavily weighted measure of health. I also wanted to include as many of my body parts as possible, to wander away from the fragmented dissociation that is typical with body dysmorphia and celebrate all of the parts that make me. I also wanted to include my face/head, especially after viewing many youTube documentations of weightloss that cut the subject off at the neck. Ironically, as I watched those headless weigh-ins and self-assessments, my appreciation for each woman was unbounded. If I could feel limitless love for the body of a headless stranger, no matter her size, couldn’t I feel it for myself?

Pregnancy changes: My feet increased by 1/2 a size. My hips spread out and added several inches in that area. My breast cup has increased several sizes. If I gain weight now, it is likely to go into my lovely mummy tummy.

I am very happy to participate in this website and hope that many more women do, so that finding reflective non-sexualized images is not a struggle for others. My husband wants to know, is there a “Shape of a Father” website?

10 Years Isn’t Always Enough (Christine-Y)

age – 24
2 pregnancies, 2 births
4 1/2 years, and 2 years.

Well, I guess it starts with middle school. My ex-stepfather was an older man who was very manipulative. He mental abused my mom, and treated my brother & I worse. My mom would work 2 jobs, & he would gamble her money at the race track. She even caught him there cheating on her once but she took him back. I promised myself that I would never let any guy treat me like that. He started lying to my mom, telling her how we lazy we had been, while he worked scrubbing the house on his hands and knees. The first time I stood up for myself, he didn’t say anything. My mom left for work the next morning a little after 5 am, he pulled me out of bed by my hair, and told me if I ever tried to discredit him again, I wouldn’t have a mom to “tattle” to anymore.

A few months later I started high school, (my brother & mom would get home 2-3 hours after me) he started molesting me. He would corner me in the kitchen, & one day he tried to take my shirt off, so I locked myself in the bathroom. I told my friend about it, & she said if I didn’t tell an adult, she would. I told my school counselor. The policeman that showed up at home just “happened” to be my step-dad’s nephew. He told my mom I was looking for attention, that I was lying, and that once I was over the death of my step-dad’s dad, I would stop lying and behave better. I kept my mouth shut for 2 years after that – he should me the gun he would put to her head if I said anything again. My counselor didn’t follow up even one time.

I stopped caring about my grades & began to plan my suicide. The night I had hand-picked, I couldn’t find the bullets. 1 week later, my little brother did, and for a few months, he didn’t try to touch me. When my Mom started to wake back up, he started to say I needed new clothes, everything was too baggy. I was a size 5-7, 112 pounds, 5 feet 8 inches but wore a black hoodie year-round (in California) & size 9 jeans to hide myself. He picked up where he left off, & one day told me he wanted to hear me scream, because no one would believe a filthy little liar like me. I was talking to a grief counselor at school, when I mentioned the abuse was still happening. By that evening, my mom had him escorted out of her house, & was in contact with a divorce lawyer. I got to move back home in time to graduate, & started going steady with the man I am married to today.

I can’t imagine life without him here. I still have panic attacks, and I wake up crying, screaming, or just plain scared. There are days where I can’t be touched, and a cupboard door slamming still gives me flashbacks.
We got married a year after high school ( I was 18), 3,000 miles away from my family, and had our first son shortly after I turned 19. I started out at 125 (the most I had EVER weighed) and ended up at 180 by the time he was born, stretchmarks from my breasts to my calves). I was miserable, my hip ( I had a bone graft @ 12) was hurting constantly, & my back (which I hurt while hand-digging a pool, not to mention hand-mixing the cement at 13) never stopped. I hated myself after JJ was born because I couldn’t get him to latch, & had to stop before he was 5 weeks old. I went from a 32B to a 38 DD trying to nurse him. I was so depressed over it, I stopped letting my husband look at me because I felt like a horrible, hideous failure. After 1 1/2 years, I still couldn’t loose the weight ( I was 160 pounds), but we wanted 1 more. With Daniel, I was sick from day one. I lost 32 pounds the first 6 months, & was medicated to help with the nausea. My boss told me it was my fault I got knocked up, so deal with it. My sciatic nerve kept me in constant pain from the end of my 2nd trimester on. I ended up at 162 pounds. When Daniel was born, I tried again to nurse, & even got compliments from WIC on how well I handled the techniques, but he wouldn’t latch either (inverted nipples). I cried for weeks afterword, because he wouldn’t nurse, but I couldn’t pump like I needed either. I was working 60+hours a week (6 days) with 25+ hours of commuting. I would cringe when he would put his arm around me at night, because he would touch my fat tummy. Daniel is 2 years old now, and I am (slightly) more comfortable. I still weigh 156, and I know what it is going to take for a healthy 3rd pregnancy (we are trying & hoping for a girl), and I know there will be pain ahead, but I know that my babies love me, I love them, & as often as my Husband sings “One Hot Mama” to me, he must mean it.

It’s been a long 10 years since my troubles started, but the next 10 will be better. I have a man that calls me beautiful everyday, and two boys that love their mommy. The only way it gets better than this is a house with 2 toilets…;)

Picture 1, 3 – me, 12/09/2010
Picture 2 – my Handsome Boys

5 Weeks Postpartum and I No Longer Believe in Genetic Destiny (Kat)

Age: 21
Number of pregnancies/births: 2 pregnancies/1 birth
Age of baby/how far postpartum: 5 weeks

I was born short and fat, and stayed that way for my entire childhood and teen years. I started middle school at 4’10” and 160lbs. Both of my parents, as well as most of my family in general, are overweight, my mother having hypothyroidism. Weight was always a sensitive issue for me. Growing up seeing my mother complain about she looked and how much she weighed, it made it hard for me. And then when I started middle school it went further downhill, as I was the awkward fat girl that was pushed around and teased for her weight.

By my sophomore year of high school, I had developed anorexia in a desperate attempt to be accepted by my peers. I managed to get down to 125 pounds at 5’2″ but I still felt fat, and being a size 6/8 was too big in my opinion. When I would confide in my family or my doctors about my weight issues, they all stated that I was genetically predisposed to be fat, and that it was going to get worse if I ever had a baby. But even with all of my fears and anxieties over how I looked, I still wanted to be a mother more than anything else in my life.

My views on sexuality were very warped due to being molested by my father as a child and preteen, and being raped by a close friend when I was just barely 13. But I grew up believing that even if someone tries to take your virginity from you physically, it is not gone until you agree to give it away. This is where my first experience with my now husband came in.

We had first met as teenagers, I was 15 and he was 16. We were at his place of work, he was a referee for paintball(I went quite often with the guys I knew from being in band). We ended up being friends for a while, and then being the teenagers we were, our friendship led to sex. Unfortunately, we lost contact shortly after due to my getting a new phone and us going to different schools. But we were reconnected later when I moved out of my parents house and he came with a mutual friend to help me move my larger boxes and furniture. We ended up moving in together about a month after I had fully moved into the apartment myself. We were married shortly after this, and about 6 months after we got married I got pregnant with our little boy.

My pregnancy was an eventful one to say the least. I ended up in the hospital for 3 weeks due to severe bleeding caused by a horrible flair of my ulcerative colitis(which is like crohn’s but only in the colon and lower intestines). I was so scared I was going to lose the baby because of how much blood I had lost. But little guy was still healthy as ever, and my body seemed to give him what he needed before me, so while I suffered my baby was still safe. I ended up losing 15 pounds in the hospital even though I was eating 6 times a day, and the nurses panicked over this, but I was still able to walk so my doctors said not to worry.

But by the end of the pregnancy I had gone from 135 pounds to 180, and I gave birth by scheduled c-section to my 6lb 9oz son, Demetri at 39 weeks. Due to the infusions I have to have for my colitis, I am not able to breast feed, so I lost that experience, but have had no problems at all bonding with my baby and he is now 88% in height and 55% in weight, the exact opposite of me when I was his age.

I weighed 168 Pounds leaving the hospital on the 4th day. I was riddled with stretchmarks and figured, since I had a c-section, I was doomed to have a belly apron of extra skin for the rest of my life, and that I was going to stay as large as I was that day forever as well, taking after the rest of the women in my family. My doctors wrapped me in a compression belly band right after I was stitched up after the surgery, and having heard wonderful success stories about them I decided to wear it all the time until I was were I wanted to be with my postpartum body. So far the stretchmarks are less than half of what they were the day I gave birth, and the belly flap is nowhere to be seen. I give all of the credit for this to the belly band. I am currently down to 145 pounds at 5 weeks pp, have been able to fit my pre-prego jeans since week 3 with them fully buttoned and zipped, and I have been given the ok since week 4 to do light to moderate exercise when I feel good enough for it(which is at least every other day).

I have been doing flirty girl fitness(the dance aerobics ones) and belly dancing for almost 2 weeks now, and the results from it are mind blowing to me. I grew up with such a huge fear of being like everyone else in my family after giving birth, and now I have my little miracle and my body is getting into better shape than it has ever been before. I feel like the universe has granted the three biggest wishes I ever had, to be a mommy, to have a wonderful husband(who is very much a partner in life as well as a companion), and to have the body that I want instead of the body everyone else said I would have. I am currently finishing up in college and am looking to work as a dancer(no, not a stripper) to help bring in some money as I finish up my degree in education and psychology. I would like to be either become a marriage counselor or a sex therapist, as I have a deep rooted connection to the issues that come with a bad/troubled relationship(my parents) and the damage caused by sexual trauma and confusion due to the past. I feel like I have been given what I wanted and need, so I want to do the same for those who haven’t yet.

first 3 are my progression pictures so far, 4th one is my gorgeous little boy, and the 5th one is Demetri and his wonderful daddy :)

Updated here.

Loving What Is (Anonymous)

I am a sexual abuse victim. I lost a baby at 16 weeks when I was only 16 years old. I have had many years of self loathing. I can still here the ridiculing comments that were made about my body. I was ugly,dirty,the defect. When I saw what other women looked like

I drew this illusion that I was in fact the defective one. How is one to heal from something like this? When I became pregnant the second time I gained 80 pounds and was 218 and stretched my skin out everywhere. It took me a year but I lost most of that weight only to become pregnant shortly after. With my third child I gained 45 pounds plus the 20 that I still hadn’t lost. Again this took my another year but I lost the weight and got back down under my pre- pregnancy weight of 140. By this time I felt like I was completely ruined. Whose body was this? It is not mine? I hated myself completely. Then I found myself pregnant again for the fourth time. This time I only gained 35 pounds. I lost it quickly. I now run 2 miles everyday. I am doing this for me and me only. It has taken a long time and I am still working on it but I am now comfortable with my body. I can look in the mirror and say “Wow you are amazing,beautiful and you have given birth to three beautiful children.”

I remember that I am not this body. This is not who I am. I am the spirit that lives inside. I can shine through this body and make it radiate with energy. I am the woman that sings to my children , I am the girl that runs out in the rain and plays, I am me and I have to except that . Love yourself. You are what is important.

Number of pregnancies and births : 4
Ages of children: 8,5,2

The aftermath of sexual violence + the beginning of healing, part 2 (Anonymous)

About a year ago, six weeks after giving birth to my son, I posted my first entry.

It’s been a tough and fun year and yet again my body has changed a lot. I am still breastfeeding and that has helped me lose all my pregnancy weight, without any effort on my part. That was quite unexpected – I thought I’d really have to struggle to reach my pre-pregnancy weight. My breasts are softer and saggier than before the pregnancy and one is quite a bit larger than the other because my son prefers to feed from that side. When I lean forward, my stomach looks like it belongs to an old woman, with all the wrinkles and the lose skin (that doesn’t show in the pictures here, because I am standing straight). After the birth I thought that the skin on my stomach would “recover”, but I have now realized that it won’t. I tell myself that that simply comes with having a baby and it doesn’t bother me too much, but I am embarrassed when my husband sees it.

Sometimes my negative thoughts take over. Sometimes I still see my body as belonging to the rapists. Sometimes, when my son presses his sweet face against mine, I wonder if he would still love me if he knew that I have been raped by four men. And I wonder if I am worthy to be his mother – can someone as damaged as me be the mother of someone as pure, innocent and wonderful as my little boy? I try to console myself with the knowledge that even though I am far from pure, at least my love for him is. And I remind myself of the great things my body was able to do during childbirth and I remind myself that my breasts have nurished and are still nurishing this healthy and happy boy and I am thankful for that. It helps, because the negative thoughts don’t take over anymore as they used to before we had our son. My hope is that one day I will feel completely worthy as a mother, a woman, a person.

The pictures show my body one year post-partum.

Teen Learning to Love Her Body (Faith)

I was 14 years old and dateing this 16 year old guy. we were going out for about 2 months, and he invited me over to his house while his parents where away. i was kinda sketchy about it, but i trusted him, so i decited to go to his house. while we where in his basement, he asked if i wanted to have sex. I told him that i’m not ready yet, and he just kept on asking me. he promised he would use a condom. he finaly got me to, and he got ontop of me. after about a minute, it didnt feel right. i could then tell he wasnt wearing one. i tried pushing him off of me, but then he started to get aggressive and held me down. i told him to get off of me, and he said that if i didnt let him finish, he would tell my dad i was sneaking out with him and doing drugs (which i smoked pot once before that. and i DID end up getting caught anyway.) so i was in shock, and about 10 minutes later, he got off me. i was disgusted, and just left. i called him up the next day and told him im breaking up with him. i was afraid to tell anyone of what had happened.
a month past, and my period was late. i started getting morning sickness. i was going out with another boy when i found out i was pregnant. he was the first person i told, and he said that if i didnt get an abortion, he would break up with me because he didnt want to be embarassed by having a “fat” girlfriend. he was my only friend at the time. my dad never spent time with me, and my mom had passed away about 3 years before that. my brother was moved out of the house, and i was a lone.
the day after halloween, i sat my dad down and told him i was pregnant. he went out and got a test, and i took it it came up “pregnant”. at that point, reality hit me. i was going to have a baby. i was going to have an abortion. i thought i would do it before i started to show. that night, i realized im resposible for 2 people now. i fell in love with the baby.
i told my boyfriend im leaving him before he left me, and i was going to give birth to this child. so he was gone. a long time friend came around, and we started talking a lot. his name was dustin. i finaly told him about 2 weeks later that i was pregnant. he was in shock. i had told him what happened, and he was there for me. (and now were dating (: )
i decited i needed to give my baby up for adoption. i wanted to keep him, but i wanted him to have a dad and a mom that will be there all the time for him. me and my dad found a couple through an agency. loriston and lisa where their names, and they were the perfect couple i have ever seen. we met up with them. they were so nice. i chose them.
i went into the 20 week ultrasound, and guess what? ITS A BOY!!. i was so excited. the family was also excited.
on june 18th at 7:11 i gave birth to a healthy 9lb 10 oz baby. we named him Torren Dwane Reed.
this is me at 40 weeks 3 days (a day before being induced. june 17th, 2009) :


this is me now at 15 years old (1 week 1 day post pardum):


the mom gave me a teddy bear from build-a-bear workshop that if you squeeze his chest, you can feel a pulse of a heart. they also gave one to Torren.
i love the adoptive family.

Updated here.