Sunday, March 16, 2014

My 4th Trimester Body

I think the female body is beautifully and wonderfully made. I honor my body. I'm so proud of what it has endured.

At the age of (almost) 21, I have enjoyed my first pregnancy, given birth in a painful ten hour labor after a totally regretted and unnecessary induction, been given an episiotomy and stitches, did not heal properly postpartum and underwent a dilation and curettage surgery to correct the infections that set in.

In pregnancy, I gained 30 pounds and over a few months postpartum I lost all of it. This doesn't mean that I look the same.

I have about a hundred stretch marks that give my belly, breasts, and thighs a different look and texture.

I have skin on my tummy that hasn't tightened back up.

I went from a B to a DD. And...I was introduced to gravity.

I BREASTFED MY SON FOR OVER 12 MONTHS! (I'm so incredibly proud of this accomplishment.)

I co-slept with my baby attached to my boob every night so that we could all get some sleep and he could get what he needed 24/7.

I carry my son every day. He was once a bitty baby; an almost 8-pounder. Now he weighs 25 pounds.
I'm a small woman (120 lbs, 5'3''), so while carrying him in his carseat or now on my hip...most of the time with a purse, diaper bag, and 5 grocery sacks draped here and there...I am overwhelmed. But my body pulls through for me every time. I've never dropped him.

I've been sicker in the past year and three months than I have in a long time before that. I've contracted stomach bugs, colds, flu's, and sinus infections. I've been in the ER once (which ended in surgery and an extended stay) and to Urgent Care twice to have an IV due to dehydration. I have had numerous painful cervical biopsies. The anxiety and depression I've lived with for years are threatening to take over.

But my body hasn't failed me yet. I push through. I prevail. I overcome.

For these reasons, I support The 4th Trimester Bodies Project, which promotes female body confidence in our "4th trimesters" (which may be a few months, or a lifetime). These are a few of my favorites from the project. Each woman has a story, which can be read on the page's Gallery. Oh and by the way, I'm going to pose for them one day.

Ashley
Gabriella

Jenny
Rachel
Sarah
Amy
                     
I once looked in a mirror at my not so flat tummy, my stretch marks, the dark circles under my eyes, and thought...I am ugly. I am ruined. I didn't overcome that mentality by getting skinnier, by rubbing on oils and creams (that don't work, btw), or by covering my tired eyes with make up. I did these things...but they were not what changed me.

What changed me was reading raw, honest testimonials by mothers about their own struggles and their eventual body confidence. I was strengthened by the pictures of their tummies. I overcame because I didn't feel so alone. I received compliments on how well I was doing, how good I looked, and how much I was helping Roman by breastfeeding.

I love myself.

I love my body.

My husband loves me and my body.

My son is here, thriving, and vibrant because my body underwent change.

I could cry, I'm so excited to tell you ladies just how beautiful you are as well!

Take off your shirt, stand in front of the mirror, and say out loud, "I am beautiful. I love my body. My body is strong." Cry a little. Smile a lot. Love yourself and build yourself up.

Breastfeed in public. Change clothes in front of your girl friends without fear. Show off for your husband. Let your baby squish your tummy and tell him about how he used to live in there. He will look at you funny, and you will reminisce on those nights when he kicked and hiccuped...and you dreamed of what he would become.

My body is beautifully and wonderfully made, so to prove it. I will show it to you.


On the left is me at 18 on the beach in Italy. I got pregnant a few weeks before turning 19.


This is me 9 months pregnant with Roman.


Us, just a day or so postpartum. Notice I still look 6 months pregnant.


And this is me 15 months postpartum. My 4th trimester body. 

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