When the idea of getting pregnant was at concept stage, I didn’t really think too much about the affect it would have on my body. Sure I’d have a few stretch marks – but cocoa butter will sort that out… right?
I think to a certain extent it’s not something women talk too much about, to women without children anyway.
I was in no way prepared for the difference, I was in no way prepared for a c section either, but I guess life’s just like that.
I am now 15 months post birth from my second child and nearly 2.5 stone down in weight. Actually, if you want to look at the weight I reached just before I gave birth I’m nearly 4 stone down from there. And, I have finally had to to admit my body will never, ever be the same and let’s be truthful about this not in a good way either.
I’m not here to be negative and I love the posts from women who embrace the change in themselves and the ‘tiger stripes’, they’re absolutely fantastic. Would I change my life for the world? No, my children are the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. But my body, has born the brunt of growing them.
I look at my husband at the moment and he the fittest he has ever been. After putting on weight after giving up smoking before our first child was born, he has now lost all of that weight. He runs or cycles almost daily and has a rigorous pull-up/chin-up routine to build his upper body strength. Quite frankly at 38, he looks fantastic and has the start of a six (maybe a 4) pack. In fairness, it is a physique born of dedication and a complete diet change. He deserves it.
But, if I were to have the time to workout as much as he does (which I don’t), my body will never be that good.
Let’s talk about the changes. I guess the worst is my stomach. After bearing a 10 and an 11lb baby (no those aren’t typos), it’s pretty riddled with stretch marks which are fortunately slowly fading. But as my stomach shrank back down after birth and as I continue to lose weight my skin has lost some of its elasticity. Which means particularly around my belly button, I have loose, saggy areas, that look a bit like a deflated balloon. After two c-sections, for which I have separate scars because my first was so ragged due to its emergency nature the surgeon couldn’t reuse it for my second one, I also have an overhang. It is getting smaller as I loose weight, but from a lot of reading I have done I will probably never loose this, particularly as I have loose skin, without surgery. I can cope with the scars they don’t really phase me, but I hate the overhang. I also seem to store more weight on my stomach, I am a total apple in shape, but as my legs are getting slimmer I do think sometimes that I look like I’m pregnant.
Finally, my boobs, after breastfeeding two babies nearly for 11 months each they have lost some of their buoyancy. I am ok with them getting a bit smaller because they were pretty enormous to start with. At the height of my breastfeeding I moved into H territory so it is a relief for them to be a bit smaller, but they are sadly less bouncy and full than they were before and desperately need an under wire bra to give them a lift.
None of these things can be changed my exercising more or losing weight, they can be made to look better and I am most definitely working on that, but if I want to take them back to their pre-pregnancy look I would need to have surgery, which I am not prepared to do. I know what the pain of a c-section is like, why would I put myself through that voluntarily for a tummy tuck?
This is what I am slowly coming to terms with, this is my body, you only get one and this is what it will look like – give or take weight loss and gain for the rest of my life. For bringing two amazing children into this world, my body has paid the price. It was not a price I realised I was going to pay, but it is one I pay with love for them. It makes me feel insecure at times, but I no longer hate it, it is what it is. I doubt even if I won the lottery I would have the surgery to correct it. Do I have moments on envy that my husband doesn’t have to worry about these body insecurities and how drastically his body has changed since we were married? Of course. When I talk to him he tells me it doesn’t matter. I wonder if I will ever be brave enough to wear a bikini again, at the moment the answer is hell no, but maybe this will change.
As much as I love the posts of the women embracing the changes in their body, and I love them I really do. I also think it’s ok to admit you’re overwhelmed by the changes too. That the changes take some getting used to and can really take you by surprise.