I’ve had three different body experiences and it took until the third for me to legit love the skin I’m in. My body before children and both of my pregnancies to clarify those experiences. I was originally going to make this post about me, but I know I am not the only one who has gone through these changes, so I made a post asking if there were any mothers willing to share their truths. I wanted to know two things:
1. How did you feel about your body before and after having your kid(s)?
2. Were you looking for body reassurance from your child(rens) father after given birth?
Here were the responses I received (I WROTE EVERY RESPONSE THE WAY THEY WERE SENT TO ME AND ASKED EVERYONE TO PROOFREAD SO THAT NO ONE COULD SAY WORDS WERE CHANGED)….
- “So, I don’t have many full body pictures post baby because I’m still not comfortable in my new body. My daughter is 6 months old, I still feel like I’m not good enough. I’m trying to, but it’s hard. My greatest gift was having her though. I was a cool 158 lbs before I got pregnant. I went all the way up to 223 lbs when giving birth and the weight won’t go away. I’m doing what I can but I’m a single mom so my time is limited to myself. On top of being in the military and then giving me only a short amount of time to lose all my weight, it’s a lot of stress and that only makes it harder. But I’ll never say I wish I didn’t have her because I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.”
- “My daughters father left when she was 5 days old. He means no more to me than a stray on the street. I have to appreciate me. My favorite quote will always be, “If you don’t love yourself, how the hell you gone love somebody else?” – Ru Paul”
1. “When I found out I was pregnant that I was pregnant I thought that I was going to ne thick with nice size boobs after I had the baby. But that didn’t happen lls, I was still tiny and no boobs as if I didn’t have a baby. I had stretch marks before I was pregnant, but I have a lot more now.”
2. “Hell nah cause he ain’t in her life anyway.”
1. “I felt fine about myself only thing I didn’t like was my weight gain. Oh and I did want more appreciation only people I heard “you’re doing a great job” from was the doctors. No one else around me made me feel like I was doing a good job as a parent.”
2. “I was not looking for him to appreciate my body more cause no matter how much I told him I felt fat and didn’t look good he always told me that I was fine the way I am. If I wanted to change my body then I can if not he’s fine with the way I am. And I honestly didn’t care too much either cause if I was happy with myself then he should be too.”
- “Well before I got pregnant I thought my body was just okay you know nothing special. I didn’t think I was skinny but I didn’t think I was fat either then during my pregnancy I HATED my body even though everyone told me I carried well and looked great I felt like absolute crap. Then, after my pregnancy I still had a gut which I hate and still do, but I’m slowly trying to work on it to get my body to where I want it.”
- 2. “But during my pregnancy I don’t know if it was the hormones, but I did look to Joseph to make me feel better about myself especially since he knew how I felt about myself and how I used to cry all the time, but now he’s seen how it took a toll on me cause after Kaiden my self-esteem reached an all time low but now I go to the gym like twice a week and I’m losing weight and even before lost the weight he always reassured me how beautiful I looked.”
- “Being pregnant in the beginning of course I assumed because I was “small & fit” that I will just get a lil belly & snap right back “ I’m good. But, of course, in my last trimester I started noticing that I had dark brown stretch marks that look like a tree from my belly button on up.. thought it was pretty cool at first. After birth I felt my belly looked disgusting. Wasn’t really comfortable with my body like that, but exercising & overtime my stretch marks got lighter & I’m just overall proud of myself.”
- “I had postpartum & was definitely looking for some uplifting so I wanted to feel like I was still beautiful to him. I wanted to feel like things haven’t changed because I am not the same woman anymore & he didn’t properly understand what I was going through & felt like I was being dramatic. He understood later & apologized.”
Ashely (who is a mother of two),
- “I liked my body all the way down to the stretch marks. I was amazed if anything cause that’s pretty fantastic of what a woman body can and could do. It just took me a little longer to enjoy my second pregnancy.”
- “Really didn’t matter because at those points in my life I kept them for me. So, appreciate me for what carrying your kids for 9 months? That sounds like I did it for him. It’s like I had them cause I wanted a piece of love that grew to be a whole fruit tree. It’s fruitful when you have kids. Like it’s a big reward of love and happiness that can’t no one take from me.”
- “I thought my body definitely didn’t look the same after I had my son. I was a lot smaller than I was before I got pregnant so that made me feel very uncomfortable and weird.”
- “No because me and him aren’t together”
- “So, before I got pregnant I was very insecure about my body. I thought of myself as average and I really wanted and perfect curves. When I got pregnant, I didn’t really start to get big until I was about 7 months and then I literally got huge so fast! I tried not to think too much of the weight I was gaining because I aimed to “snap back” after I had the baby. As you can see I haven’t returned to my pre baby body, but I am starting to embrace my mommy body.”
- “Things didn’t go as planned with my baby’s dad, and I honestly just stopped caring about my image for a bit. But then I started getting depressed. I would reminisce on my old pics and get mad at myself for being hard on myself back then, and even madder at myself that I haven’t lost the baby weight. I slowly did start to get more active and it helped my self-esteem. Now I am still trying to tone up, but more so just to work on being healthy. I have realized that if I feel good on the inside and when I really love myself, then what’s on the inside will reflect on the outside.”
KhyZaina (Me, who has two kids),
1. With my first child I didn’t have an issue with my weight beforehand, but I did after. I got up to 165 lbs and the most I’d ever weighed before was 125-130 lbs. I was sweating everywhere all the time, I disliked my body but I never talked about it much. With my second I’ve been between 145-150 lbs since having her and I absolutely love my body now.
2. I was definitely looking for my husband (he was my boyfriend with my first) to speak on his appreciation of my body with my first. I had read all this stuff about how a man respects and loves you more after carrying children for him….BULLSHIT. With my second he’s been away in the service, but I didn’t look for appreciation at all this time.
The hardest thing for me to do was love me and stop expecting love and appreciation after having my first child. Apparently, I suffered from postpartum depression, per my husband, but that’s not something any mother wants to own. You carry a child for months then have them and your depression varies from constant crying, not wanting to touch your child, not being excited, or worse. But I do remember nights when my baby would cry so much I’d cry with her. It’s still that way till this day when my kids cry and even though I’m soothing them both, one of them isn’t satisfied. However, my second child changed me completely, the whole process to be exact.
Both of my pregnancies were high risk and I had morning sickness, but my second was so bad I had to get a Zofran pump. If you’ve ever seen anyone take insulin it’s close to that, but with a machine that inserts an anti-nausea medicine for you. The overall process – being pregnant, the environment I was in until the end of my pregnancy, being depressed and wishing it was over, having my child and not getting the help I should’ve gotten once I got home – took a really bad toll on me. So much happened between giving birth and being home that first 10 days that I made up in my mind looking for recognition and appreciation from anyone wasn’t going to get me to where I wanted or needed to be. Being as though I already wasn’t getting much rest I started to take matters into my own hands.
I waited until my six weeks were up and my stitches were gone to renew myself. Since June 5, 2018, which is close to when my six weeks were up, I began to work out and I’ve worked out every day since then. Why? Because my body won’t be what I want it to be unless I put in the work to get it there. All I want to do is tone my body because I love every roll, curve, stretch mark, and even the spots of skin discoloration. My confidence has boosted because of me and I’ll continue to boost it.
You’ll hear everything about losing weight and regaining yourself after giving birth except the fact that it’s more of a mental thing. People will fill your head up with all these positive things to look forward to, but no one is playing that waiting game with you. Waiting for your hair to grow back, waiting for your mind to get right, waiting to come up out of that depression, etc. No one’s trying to regain sleep with you, (if nursing) find something you like to eat but is also good for baby, find time for yourself even if it’s just to shower, and watching your weight fluctuate just to name a few. You’ll continue hearing time limits of when you should have yourself together, head to toe, which is the problem especially if you base your healing off of what’s supposed to be.
I’m sure many have heard that nursing helps with weight lose, but it didn’t do a single thing for me besides give me cramps. I’ve heard other moms say the same and the only change they got was the difference in their breast once done nursing completely, and the same happened for me.
I’m not saying it should take you five years to “snap back” in every aspect – not putting a time limit on your process however when it’s been years, women do begin to blame their children for their bodies and everything else being out of whack. I’ve even witnessed it on numerous occasions. But I am saying you should take your time and do what makes you comfortable in order to put your pieces back together. You’re not going to be the same because not only was your body a home for someone, but you’re now responsible for a life other than your own. There will be days where you want to be left alone and, on those days, DON’T FEEL BAD. Hell, I have two kids and want a break every second of every day, but I can’t get one. Try to find a balance for you, others, and your kid(s) so that you can relieve some stress if you don’t have the option of “me time” at all.
I know many had expectations for themselves as a whole, not just the body expectations, and that was the issue to begin with. When pregnant you have no control over any part of your body except your hair and that’s if you switch it up. You literally have to wait until your baby is born and your six-week post checkup to get a feel of your new body, the new you, and for some longer. You might like what you see, you might not, but the beauty of it is its proof. The proof that you had the heart to give the world another human no matter how unprepared you feel or felt you were. The one thing we, as mothers, don’t do is motivate each other. Yet, we can sit and judge each other by the type of parents we are and what we allow our children to and not to do. Especially some older women because they live to overstep and tell you what should work for you and your kid(s) because it worked for them and theirs. Some go so far as to tell your parents what they should do with your child because you won’t do it, which I don’t get because they’re the grandparents not the parents. And while I’m on the subject, SHOUT OUT TO ALL THE GRANDPARENTS WHO DO NOT OVERSTEP AND HELP WHEN ASKED.
As a woman you already have insecurities and stresses you may not want to admit, but when you become a mother you’re playing a totally different ball game. If those insecurities and stresses haven’t died down, they’ll only get worse. When you get to a point where all you can do is think negatively of yourself, cry, and seek isolation then it’s time to open up (get help). Why? Because if you keep trying to handle everything on your own, you’re going to become depressed and that is not something that’s an easy fix. Find someone you can trust or even someone you don’t know, which may sound crazy to some, but ONLY A MOTHER CAN UNDERSTAND A MOTHER. Being a mother is stressful and it’s a job in itself that you get little to no appreciation for.
If I’ve learned anything since becoming a mother it’s that you cannot do it on your own. Before some start saying how they’ve been doing it for years, let me explain. You can raise all the kids you want, with all the money, and whatever else you have, but you will lose yourself if you don’t take a break. People have this way of guilting mothers for things such as partying, standing up for themselves and/or their child(ren), taking a vacation without the kid(s), etc. So, here’s my message to those people…. BEING A MOTHER DOES NOT STOP YOU FROM BEING A HUMAN AND ENJOYING LIFE. YOU ARE NOT A MOTHER, SO YOU DON’T KNOW THE STRESS OF BEING ONE. Once you become a parent people have this mindset of, “You were grown enough to have a kid, be grown enough to make every other decision”, and that’s fucked up. People are allowed to be upset when we don’t accept their overstepping, but a mother can’t be upset that these same people can’t ever help her?
Mommy, take your time and know that if no one appreciates you, you have to. Stop allowing the opinions of others, who don’t even have kids, to stop you from taking a break so that you can catch your breath. Your body, your mind, your mindset, all of that will get better if you take care of you. Don’t let anybody tell you how to be a mother to your kids and don’t let anybody compare you to any other mother, good or bad. You are you for a reason so know that you are worthy and keep doing the best you can.
THANK YOU TO THE MOMS WHO PARTICIPATED IN MY POST. YOU ALL ARE BEAUTIFUL, BODIES INCLUDED.