*Edited: This article was written in 2014.*
I wanted to share something I constantly find myself reading. It’s such a great reminder for me. I always forget that the reason my body is no longer pristine, is the little girl running around at my feet.
I have dark pools under my eyes. A valley where my belly button once was. Hips with a new amplitude that my teenage self wouldn’t recognize. I have lines mapped across the mountains of stretched skin left over on my midsection. Lightening bolts on my sides proving I once was too small to contain all of the love that filled me. Lines indicating that my daughter once lived inside of me. Do you realize the significance in that? Every limb, finger, toe…her heart, even, developed near the very place my own heart beats inside of my chest. Those mountains of skin are all I have left to prove that we were once one and not two. How can I be ashamed of that? -We Seek Joy
The first time I read this, I cried and cried. I was 3 months postpartum and completely down in the dumps. I hated my body. I couldn’t look in the mirror. During my pregnancy with Brooklynn, I didn’t get a single stretch mark until 35 weeks. And then they quickly piled on, to where I didn’t recognize my stomach. Pre-pregnancy, my body was my pride. But not anymore.
When I gave birth, I was 153 pounds.
I had gained 35 pounds, which was normal for a healthy pregnancy. When I got home from the hospital, I weighed myself and I was 150 pounds. How do you give birth to a 7lb 10oz baby and only lose three pounds?? But apparently that was common and especially common in my family. My mom told me that after my first brother, she went home and weighed herself and weighed exactly the same. I started losing the weight kinda quickly (thank you, breastfeeding), but once I got down to 130 pounds, it was impossible to lose another ounce.
And at three months postpartum, the darndest thing happened. People started noticing. I would hear little things like “when are you going to start working out?” Or “wow, you look so…different.” The hardest part about those comments were that they came from people I loved. And being a new mom, finding the time to “go to the gym” was especially hard, but I had been exercising.
One night I got into bed, Anthony and Brooklynn were already asleep. I got a notification on my phone from an app called Ask.fm. It’s an app where you can anonymously ask people questions. I had downloaded the app a couple months prior, because I thought it could be fun, but at this point I had completely forgotten about it. The first message I got seemed sort of harmless, so I answered honestly. I was 130 pounds at that point, 12 pounds heavier than before I got pregnant. Then the messages got worse.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I went to the bathroom and cried. I couldn’t understand how someone could go out of their way to make me feel like shit. First time moms struggle with a million things every single day, and then they look in the mirror and see that they aren’t who they once were.
Who could be so cruel to point that out?
Well little did I know, the reason I couldn’t lose those extra pounds was that I was pregnant again and didn’t know it yet.
If I’ve learned anything from pregnancy after pregnancy and being a mama… It’s that yes, our bodies are different, but that’s the beauty of motherhood. You go from that tight little high school body to the body of a woman.
Anthony took this photo the day after I got those messages. My little three month old baby and the marks she gave me. With the tiniest little human growing inside of me. I love this picture because it is so honest. It’s the truth. That’s what having a baby does to you. I wouldn’t trade a single stretch mark for my babies.
Never let anyone bully you because of the way you look.
If you want to change it, change it.
If you love your body the way it is, then keep on loving it.
Nobody’s opinion matters, but your own.
And spoiler alert, but your babies love you no matter your shape or size.