At 30 years old I’ve had another little one. I’m 18 months post partum with my 5th child. My hypothyroid is now under control with natural herbs and diet. I learned to love my body along the way and corrected my diastasis recti. What helped me get fit was learning to love who I was first. State of mind is everything and when you can’t see beauty in your body after creating life. It can reek havoc on you mentally, emotionally and physically. Once I learned to love everything about my body even though it was considered “perfect” I started getting healthier in every way. Most importantly emotionally and mentally. Physically was just a bonus to learning to love myself.
I’m currently 24. I have had two pregnancies and have two beautiful boys 1 year and 20 days apart both delivered vaginally. I will be 3 months postpartum in 11 days. I am writing this post because I am working hard to become comfortable in my own skin again and want to love my new body. In college I had so much confidence in crop tops, short shorts, bikinis etc…. Again, I am 24 years old so if this sounds immature I apologize. I love fashion, I love wearing things to compliment my figure and my midriff used to be my favorite part of my body. My first son left me stretch mark free, well on my stomach only, I developed a couple on my hips and some deep in my upper inner thigh area (yes I cried, my husband said that he didn’t care, yada yada all the things men say to comfort you.) My thoughts on his response…. No matter how vain it sounds I thought, “well at-least my stomach is OK.” Well then came my second baby boy and now I feel ruined. I am still young and I’d like to dress in all of the things I felt able to wear before, well a bit more conservative of course out of respect for my husband and children, but I am scared that strangers, yes people I owe nothing to, will stare…. Ugh this sounds so stupid…
I am about 30 lbs overweight now and just got the “okay” to resume exercise. I have diastasis recti so my pouch didn’t go down as fast as it did after my first pregnancy but I am working on closing the gap through physical therapy. I am eager to get toned again, but now I fear that weight loss may enhance the appearance of my stretch marks that, in person, look like deep horizontal tears in my abdomen area (although exfoliation has evened the texture out a bit), plus the light discoloration (which I’m not sure if it will fade into my skin color because as an African American woman I found my belly looks darker for a while after birth), and may reveal sagging skin, which I’m not 100% sure if I have any, but the ab separation is about 3 fingers wide so that may contribute to sagging. Also, my belly button looks soooooo weird to me now, but that’s not a major issue for me, it seems to be shifting back to place lately… I’m probably hallucinating.
Anyway, I remember as a child, my mother showed me her stretch marks and said that her body was ruined, so that replays in my head, plus one of the first questions she asked when I was pregnant with my first was if I had developed any, which I hadn’t on my stomach. I find myself, in between bathroom breaks and nap-time for my babies in the mirror obsessively checking them as if they’re just going to disappear all of a sudden. I am exfoliating like crazy in the shower trying to fade them as fast as possible…. I’m considering a spray tan, yes I know I have dark skin already but I’ve read it could even out your skin tone and disguise scars regardless… I look at clothing online and automatically feel like I’ll never be able to wear what I like again without looking stupid. I have decided to get a tubal ligation because I honestly do not think I can handle anymore changes to my appearance. I know that beauty comes from within, but to me when you feel good about the outside, your self esteem is boosted… But maybe that’s just me. I know I have a long way to go and I will not allow myself to regret my amazing boys. But am I ruined? Can I still dress as a 24 year old? Is my body now disgusting? I need to know. Will it get better? Please help me ladies, I know it is all in my head, but I can’t seem to break free from this mentality.
~Number of pregnancies and births: 5p/4b
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 8, 6, 5, 3
My youngest turned 3 this week. The last time I submitted to SOAM she was a month old and my world had been rocked. I want to thank everyone for their kind words at that time. They meant very much to me.
On our first trip to the cancer hospital we were told my husband had on average 24 months to live. He died 24 months later, 5 days before his 35th birthday. I have been an only parent (on paper) for almost a year now. The cancer itself was nothing like in the movies – there were trips to the hospital and ambulances and a deathbed, but I had cried most of my tears the first 6 months after his diagnosis. That is when I had to come to terms with the fact that my life would be different than I’d thought. I have so many friends now going through divorces and marriages and infertility…. I don’t know that many people’s lives go according to plan.
For the two years he lived, I coped. I was caring for the kids and my husband, and I had nothing left to give myself. I enrolled in a program to get my teaching degree, which I continue to work on part-time. I felt like I had no time for health or for fitness, so I just existed. I don’t know that I was depressed, I never went to the doctor…. I was on autopilot and going through the motions until something got better. And as horrible as it may sound, things got better after my husband died. I was able to think about me again. However, I didn’t come to that realization until January of 2017 when I went to put on some pajama pants that had always fit and found they were much too tight. In February I joined a gym, and I continue to go every day. The kids go to child-minding and I get some me time.
I started just by taking classes at the gym; I was able to hide myself in a corner until I gained some confidence. In July I did my first Spartan (obstacle course) race with some friends and I finally had a training goal; this mother wants to be able to pull herself over an 8 ft high plywood wall. It’s not a typical goal, but it’s mine. I’m gaining muscle all over my body. I am in the best emotional and mental and physical health of my life. After surviving my husband’s illness, I know that I am strong on the inside. Now I am working to make my outside reflect that.
I love myself, and I am unstoppable.
The pictures I’m including are me in April 2017 and me in October 2017 and are the result of proper nutrition and exercise. I’m also including a picture of my belly when I do a plank because that’s also how I look.
This is my 3rd time submitting my story, and a lot has changed in the last 5.5 years!
I had my first son at 19 (now 7) a natural hospital birth, no complications. He was 6lbs 14oz and i breast fed him for 9 months.
I got pregnant with my second son when my oldest was only 10 months old, i was 21 when i gave birth to him. Another all natural hospital birth, he was 7lbs 14oz and i breast fed him for 1 year, he is now 5.
My husband and i were done having children, or so we thought. July 31st 2016, i found out we were expecting once more. We were excited and scared, we have our hands full with our 7 and 5 year old boys. But we welcomed the challenge! Instantly this pregnancy was different, i was sick and crampy, so i had an ultrasound done at 7 weeks. The baby had implanted to low and had an abnormal gestational sac, we were given a 50/50 chance of it surviving. So again at 9 weeks we went back, and to our amazement the sac was normal and the baby was growing upward! So i was cleared to have my dream delivery, at a birthing center!
Everything went smoothly the next few months, i was sick all of the time, but hey, that can happen when you’re pregnant! Then came our 22 week anatomy scan. It was our 3rd son! He looked great, measured perfect, but i had partial placenta previa, which meant my placenta had grown in the lower part of my uterus and was touching my cervix. The dr. Said it was such a mild case he was not concerned, and was certain it would migrate upward as my uterus grew.
Again smooth sailing until my follow up 28 week ultrasound. My partial placenta previa was now a complete placenta previa and i could no longer have a vaginal delivery. I was put on bed rest and told to look forward to having a csection at 37 weeks. So my placenta went from touching my cervix to completely covering it, i was absolutely devastated!
Before i had time to even find a regular ob (5 days later), because i could no longer go to the birthing center, i woke up to bleeding and off to the er we went. They were able to stop the bleeding and give my 2 rounds of steroids for the baby. After a 2 day stay in the hospital we went home on even stricter bedrest.
Then at 30 weeks i was woken up to the sensation of my water breaking, only to discover it was not water at all, it was blood, and i was bleeding out right there in my bed. We drove 10 min to our closest er, where i was airlifted to a hospital with a level 3 nicu. As if i wasn’t scared enough They lost the babies heartbeat in the helicopter and i feared the worst. Once we landed they were able to find his heart beat, faint, but there.
They rushed me up to L&D to discover not only was i loosing a massive amount of blood and clots, i was contracting every 3 minutes. So they made the decision to do an emergency csection.
My little boy was born at 30 weeks weighing 3lbs 7oz and 16.5 ” long, he is our little fighter!
He spent 8 long heart breaking weeks in the nicu. Talk about a Rollercoaster, he was up and Down for the first few weeks.
We are now 3 months post partum, and i am so blessed he and I both lived, the drs and nurses told us we were very close to not making it.
So now i carry a scar as a reminder of what we went through. I’m not happy with my stomach, but I’m trying very hard to take it easy on myself. I have good and bad days, i didn’t realize how difficult the recovery from a csection would be.
God has blessed me with 3 Amazing little boys, so i will try and carry this body with pride!
1st picture: 29 weeks prego (the last picture i was able to get pregnant)
2nd and 3rd picture: 3 days post partum
Pictures 4-7: now, 3 months post partum, including my scar
A few years ago, in 2009, I submitted a picture and piece about the liberation of my breasts. As a mom of three at the time I was trying hard to liberate myself from body hatred, while learning to love my changed body.
Now, two more kids later, for a total of five kids breastfed for 3+ years each, my breasts are still the love vessels they always have been. Whether my nipples are laying down looking tired or up and ready for the cold (or something else), they’ve supplied sustenance for life and they continue to hold the potential for pleasure. Although they look way different than before kids, they’re still part of me and my almost forty one year old sensual body.
Reclaiming my body after directly creating, birthing and nurturing five lives with it for fifteen years plus is an interesting process and I’m not always sure what to expect along the way. During one birth I injured my pelvic muscles, resulting in the need for physical therapy to repair and strengthen my sacred pelvic bowl. My belly is now squishy and soft, as I continue to gradually support and strengthen the muscle underneath. My skin is stretched and wrinkles when I pull in my tummy. My breast’s perky days are done, instead traded in for breasts which are soft and stretched, shifting into little puddles on my chest when I lay down. All of this fluctuates depending on the position of my body, levels of activity, rest, nutritional intake and hydration.
Overall, my body has changed and grown, changed some more and now that I’m complete with my child bearing I’m very grateful for all it has provided and continues to provide for me and my family. My body is my tree of life and more than anything, love is what it needs, and so love is what I am learning to give it – soft squishy breasts, stretch marked belly and all.
Wow. Just wow.
I was scrolling through my bookmarks and stumbled across a post I made on this site that I haven’t thought about for years – titled ‘I can’t stand to look in the mirror.’ (July 2010)
The title alone was like a slap in the face.
I actually cannot believe that the sad, lonely person who wrote that 8 years ago was ME.
How much has changed in those few short years!?
My 18 month old and newborn are now 8 and 6, I have kicked my lousy husband to the curb and am no longer suffering from depression. I got a great new job, moved cities – and am seizing LIFE at every opportunity.
Am I now 100% happy with my body? Of course not. I still dislike my hips, I still have wobbly bits – but the difference is now my focus is on fitness, and trying to better myself rather than on ‘getting my pre baby body back.’ I train about 5 times a week and eat clean (well most of the time!)
I am writing this post today, to tell every one of you GORGEOUS mumma’s out there that you CAN do it. Whatever your goal is!
Want to wear a bikini this summer? Buy one, get a spray tan and ROCK it! Want to be able to run 5k? Start with daily walks and then increase over time.
Happiness is a choice, and our children DESERVE to see their mums happy and confident!
If you are feeling like I was feeling 7 years ago, remember – things can only go UP from this point.
First photo is from my previous post – 3 months pp. unhappy, hating my body. Other 2 pics are today, much more comfortable with myself both physically and mentally.
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!
Number of pregnancies and births: 4?
The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 9, 5, 3, 9 months?
I’d first like to say, I am 9 months post partum with my 4th pregnancy. I carried a friends baby for her this time as she couldn’t. So I only have 3 children that I take care of not 4. I got pregnant when I was 18 and my body seemed to bounce back pretty well. I assume this is because I was very young when I had her. I then had my other 2 children at 22 and 24 and gained some extra weight (10lb) I couldn’t get rid of. I thought I was done having babies after that but at 27, my friend was having such a struggle getting pregnant so I did something crazy and offered my body as the baby carrier for her child. I wouldn’t take it back for anything but it really did a number on my body this time plus an extra 20lbs on top of that ten. I am now 30 some pounds overweight. I discovered a month ago that I have diastasis recti. I’m sure a lot of moms are familiar with this term but for those that aren’t its when your tummy muscles are open instead of closed like normal. So my organs are pretty much left hanging out without the muscles to hold them back causing a mommy tummy that’s pretty obvious. I was hopeful when I learned I could correct this without surgery. I’m in the process right now of correcting it and have made some great improvements in just a month with exercises alone.
Unfortunately, I have also discovered that I have hypothyroidism, which has made it almost impossible to lose any of the baby weight I have gained over the past ten years of baby making. My initial goal was to lose 30lbs after this pregnancy but I can’t even lose one. Literally. I’m really struggling with this and praying I will figure it out. My goals aren’t unrealistic and I’m not trying to look perfect either but it’s really discouraging when you can’t even lose 1lb and you do everything right. I eat very healthy and over the past 9 months, I have worked out until I can’t work out anymore. I’ve worked my butt off for nothing it seems. I’m not scared to watch what I eat or to work out so that I can lose weight either. It’s been very hard to deal with not just physically but emotionally and mentally too. I use to have my good and bad days with my self esteem because of how my body looks and how society says beauty should look. One important thing I’ve learned from it all and that I’d like to share with women who are struggling with self esteem or body issues after having a baby is this:
I don’t have the cute body anymore. Most people would look at me and say my body isn’t very attractive. I have stretch marks. I have a mommy tummy and my thighs don’t have that perfect little gap between them that so many women nowadays are after. (I probably never will either lol) I carry extra weight practically everywhere and have some interestingly shaped boobs now that I’ve had 4 children. Society would say my body is far from beautiful but……. it has done something more beautiful than I could ever make it look. It’s made life and I am so proud of that. Not every woman gets the privilege to carry their children and make something as beautiful as your body did.