this postpartum body of mine

Okay people. I'm bringing you into the depths of my insecurities. It's not pretty, and it might not make sense to you, but seeing posts like this from some of the amazing blogger mamas I follow gave me immense hope in my time of need so I thought I'd put my thoughts out there.

^^to be completely honest with you all, this is the first photo in over a year that I've looked at and loved. I'm going to showcase it everywhere because I'm just so happy to have a picture of me and Rory that I feel pretty in!

This is my postpartum timeline. I feel sick when I look back at those January and February photos.  I knew that my body would change during pregnancy but I never could have expected the havoc it would wreak on my body. I gained 65 pounds while I was pregnant with Rory boy. I don't know how. I could make excuses all day long. It happened. I could blame it on gestational diabetes, or I could own up to it and say I let myself go, but to be very honest I have no idea what went wrong. Until my 3rd trimester I was gaining weight at a decent pace, and then suddenly I was basically gaining a pound a day.

So I gave birth to a 9 pound 14 oz healthy HEFTY baby boy, who by the way is just a phenomenal little person. And for the record, Andy has told me every single day that I am beautiful so none of my insecurities are because of him. I have so much to be proud of in my life and so many things to be thankful for. I am happy. But for those of you who have struggled with body image as I have, you'll understand that that happiness is always marred by the constant struggle with the way you look.

I'm finally getting to a point where I'm comfortable with myself. It may be because I'm getting somewhere within the vicinity of my pre-pregnancy weight or it may be because I'm so tired of the self conscious hatred -- how every event and every moment has been scarred by how gross I feel and is my belly folding over itself? and do I have a fat face? and do I look slow and stupid and ugly and lazy because I still have 15 lbs to lose?? I've been constantly aching for my once slender body and I'm tired of the guilt and pain and embarrassment.

A few weekends ago I forced myself out of my comfort zone and put on a swimming suit. No swim shorts (because let's be honest any swim shorts I have are still a size too small). It was an old suit, that barely fit my gigantic nursing boobs but DANG IT I was going to the water park and I was going to have a good time. My wobbly thighs were exposed in all their glory. My stretch marks that travel all the way down past my knees, are in my armpits, around my waist, on my thighs were there for all to see. I did it. I was scared and I was self conscious the entire day but I didn't hide myself under an oversized tshirt like I'm always wanting to do. I wore a bathing suit like a normal person and I sat in the kiddy pool and laughed with my baby and had a great time. That was huge for me. I was so proud of myself for doing that. I did it again this weekend in Saint George. I special ordered myself a bikini top that would actually fit, and I paired it with some high waisted bottoms I got earlier. And I really wore it and showcased all of my insecurities. 

I think my hips will always be wider, my butt will always hang lower, and my boobs and belly will be droopy and wrinkled forever. I gained 65 pounds in 9 months. And now it's almost been 8 months since Rory's been born and I've lost over 50 of those pounds. Five zero. How can I be mad at my body when it's gone through such an incredible ordeal? Why does the remaining 15 pounds always have to be on my mind? Will I ever ever ever be strong or brave enough to not care anymore and to just be OKAY with my body regardless of it's imperfections? Maybe even happy with it? 

I felt fat before I even got pregnant. I've been self conscious about my body ever since I can remember. As an 11 year old I always wore a one piece and board shorts to the beach because I was uncomfortable with the way I looked. I don't want to be the mom who sits under the umbrella at the beach in jeans and a sweater hiding from the camera. I want to be out in the waves with my babies splashing in the water, making sandcastles, laying in the sun. I want to be INVOLVED and I feel like I can't really involve myself if I'm caught up in my own head about the way I look. We took Rory once to the park when he was probably 3 months old and obviously he was too little for the slides and stuff but Andy was so excited about being there and all he wanted was for me to take Rory on the playground. I refused. You think I was going to climb up on that pedestal for all to see and watch me squish my awkward body and bend over and kneel and slide and let the other moms gawk at my ugly figure and see my fat face and belly-tire? Hell. No. Andy's probably forgotten all about that but I'm so ashamed of my attitude on that day. I hate that I felt I couldn't say yes to taking my baby down a slide at the park because I was self-conscious about the way I look. That is not who I want to be.

And so while I feel I'm inching closer, taking steps, making effort, I still have ugly days where I can hardly look in the mirror and when I do it's either a brief glare or a steady hateful gaze. Cameras have been my worst fear. I feel overwhelming disappointment every time I see a photo of myself, regardless of how cute the baby is in my arms (and gosh he is adorable). The first thing I see are my fat flaws. Last weekend I went to Target and it was the first time since Rory was born that I tried on clothes and didn't want to burst into tears. I looked at my body objectively, as though I was another person, and I tried on clothes that fit my shape, not the ones that I thought could hide me or that I wished I was able to wear. I was honest about my size and I didn't try to squeeze into what I hoped I would fit into.

Oh what a relief it was. And the relief isn't because I'm taking drastic measures to lose weight. I try to eat whole foods but I always eat too much bread and drink too much milk. I try to go running but it's usually once maybe twice a week and I barely go two miles. So it's not that. It's my attitude. I'm adjusting. I'm becoming familiar with my body now and I want so badly to love it. Fake it till you make it has basically been my life motto. It applies here. I might try to force myself into uncomfortable situations like being in front of a camera rather than behind it, or prancing around a beach in a cute swimsuit. And I'll fake confidence so no one knows what emotional trauma I'm putting myself through. We'll see what happens. I'd love to get over this hurdle one day and be able to focus my energy on something else, like, hah, personality flaws. What a vacation that would be. 

Anyone else feel this way? I tell you it's always a comfort to me when I see that others are struggling with similar things. Tell me your story. 


  1. This whole post is so relevant to my life. I basically wear basketball shorts and my husbands t-shirts all week and then have a meltdown once a week when I have to put on a skirt and semi form-fitting shirt to go to church. I have so many pictures of me and Milo that will never see the light of day thanks to my double chin. And it's totally sad and I hate that I'm so self-conscious about this weight of mine. Good for you for putting on a real swimsuit. I'm rocking the board shorts and a t-shirt this summer. I don't know if my thighs will ever see daylight again.

    I'm sorry to say that I don't have any answers. BUT maybe I will try this fake it til you make it thing and pray for something to change in my mind. Because I am losing confidence that things will change with my body any time soon. Thanks for this post. It makes me feel much better knowing other people feel the same way as me. :)

  2. OH. GIRL. we are in the same boat. we are twins. you get it.

    last week we took jude to a water park and i sucked it up and wore some ACTUAL swim bottoms (high waisted for the win!) and a swim top. no shorts. rachel. that was the first time in all my almost 25 years of living i haven't worn swim shorts. i was scared out of my mind. but cory told me i looked so pretty and he kept telling me he was proud of how brave i was being, because, man alive was i terrified. i jiggled and bounced and awkwardly walked to the kiddie pool but then i stopped caring. i held jude and watched her fall in love with the water and splash and smile up at me with her cute little vampire fang smile, and i didn't care how flabby i looked. it's a constant struggle to come to terms with my new body especially when the one i had before wasn't exactly dynamite. but i'm learning. and as long as i look confident and pretend i think i'm hott stuff, everyone else will too. right? at least we've got these killer mama-jama boobs for everyone to be distracted by. BUT REALLY, WILL THEY EVER GO BACK DOWN TO A NORMAL SIZE?!?!?!

    okay. sorry for the novel. sorry i didn't really answer anything or contribute to the dialogue. i'm just sitting over here crying because i feel you. i get it. and i love you for sharing this. these sweet little pieces of heaven change every single bit of us and i just have to keep reminding myself that the pros outweigh the cons by a billion.

    if you ever want to talk or vent or simultaneously eat ice cream via email conversation while we watch the same episode of trash tv, email me. brissa.christensen@gmail.com because, you get it. so, you basically get me. freaking live in utah already.


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