Ok, here goes nothing. This is typical not a topic that most people talk about or at least not in the way that I am. This will most likely be one of those posts that may end up being controversial, but nonetheless, it needs to be done. For my sake and any other woman who feel like this but doesn’t express it for fear of backlash. What I’m referring to is being uncomfortable in your body and finding it not as attractive as it used to be. When you’re pregnant, people tend to comment on whether or not you’re all belly or your weight gain. All I’ve gotten throughout my pregnancy is “You’re all belly!”, meanwhile in my head all I can think about is “Yeah, tell that to my scale”… Deep down, I know they’re not being mean spirited, they’re just trying to be nice. I’ve gained about 40 pounds since December and its something that I’ve battling with myself every day.
I check my wrists to see if I could still wrap my fingers around them, weigh myself everyday (I was seeing a nutritionist during my weight loss journey and this was part of the health plan) and I look myself in the mirror just to see if I notice any changes. So its safe to say that the way I look at my body is a little off these days.
But lets back though….
I’ve struggled with my body image, especially during puberty. In my class, I was the first to develop and to notice huge body changes. This followed me through high school and well into college. I would dress myself in a way that would hide the imperfections and accentuate the things that I actually loved about my body. It also didn’t help that my diet was horrible. I would eat a lot of junk food, drink soda or ice tea and water was not non existent in my body. There did come a time, where I had to make drastic changes in my diet. I moved in with my then boyfriend (now husband) and I had to make the decision of keeping my horrible dietary habits and having health issues that a normal 20 something wouldn’t have or change my habits completely and become a gym rat (it wasn’t until the second round of test that I took this decision seriously). I started going to the gym 4-5 times a week, eating clean and only having water! I lost about 37 pounds in about 9-10 months. I felt amazing! For the first time in my entire life, I felt confident in my own body! The best day for me, was when we had our wedding ceremony. I never felt more beautiful than in that moment. I was proud of my achievement.
And then I got pregnant…
I thank God for being able to create life and that this little person, who I’ve yet to meet, has become such a huge part of my life. I honestly don’t want this post to come off as ungrateful or pretentious, because I’ll never be able to put into words how lucky I am. However, it is perfectly normal to be happy and excited about your baby, but also frustrated by the aspects and intricacies of pregnancy. The first the trimester, there was very minimal change. I was ok with the slight weight gain as I was able to maintain my exercise routine. The second trimester became challenging. My belly was getting bigger, my breathing was more erratic and my food choices were becoming less healthy. At this point my skin was fine. No new stretch marks (I have older ones from puberty) and I was putting coco butter from Shop Rite (not the best, but it was better than nothing at all). Then I hit 30 weeks. To me, it was a sign of relief as it meant that I had only 10 more weeks to go and she would be home with us.
I am unable to maintain a regular gym routine. On most days, I’m just too tired to go. The other days, I just don’t feel like going and if I do go, I’m out breathe within 5 minutes of doing a Zumba set (of which I used to kill before being pregnant). I have no clothes that fit and literally wear the same pieces to work every week. I was becoming comfortable with the idea of weighing more than what I used to before my weight loss. But then, to my horror, I saw something that sent me to the edge. Stretch Marks. And not those light and barely noticeable ones. No. Its those big, red, purple, looking like I got mauled by lion type of stretch marks. I cried for about ten minutes and then put it out of my mind because I could not see them. So it wasn’t an issue. Fast forward to two weeks ago, said stretch marks have migrated and are in my face… constantly (they’re located on the belly).
I kid you not, I spent an entire hour crying because they have gotten worse. My fear was a reality. This is where I started feeling like utter crap about my body. I didn’t see what I was used to and that sadden me. My husband has been supportive and has stated that he doesn’t care about the stretch marks or how they look. And even though I know he is being genuine about it, for me, its more about how I perceive myself and how society tends to look at them. We’ve all heard these sayings at least once in our lives; “Those are your trigger stripes”or “They’re your battle scars!”, but honestly when people have directed these saying to me, I’ve found them utterly repulsive. To me its a crock of bologna. Personally, I find it annoying and it negates the your feelings on how you feel about them (those saying does empower certain women and that’s great. But that’s just not the case with me). And top it top it all off, I had a random woman patronize about my distain for my stretch marks. “Better to have them come from a baby then to have them come from no baby” as she crouched down to my eye level. Unnecessary and rude. I was in no fighting mood that day so I just decided to give her a dirty look and say “bless your heart ma‘am”.
That day, I went to Target and bought belly butter cream and oil from Burt Bee’s . I’ve been applying these twice a day and it has helped make them less noticeable. I look at them now and I’m not as shocked or upset as I was earlier this week, but I still don’t want them. I never did. I tend to avoid looking at myself without anything covering my belly for the sake of the baby. She doesn’t deserve to have a crying, vain and selfish mother. And if at any point in time I start to feel down or upset, I quickly find something else to occupy my mind. My husband picks up on this, touches my belly and says ” You’re beautiful”. He sees my pregnant my body the way I should be looking at it. So I now have challenged myself to look at my body the way that he does. So far, I think I am on the right path.
Before weight loss:
After weight loss: