My Pregnancy Body Image

When it comes to body image we’ve all had our ups and downs. As a teen, I was a late bloomer. The only thing that developed was my uterus and my height. Aside from that, I was a skinny, awkward, lanky flat chested girl. My hair never grew past my shoulders because back then I didn’t have the resources I have now. My mom waited way too long to get me first bra, mind you I don’t think it would’ve been filled with much. I outgrew clothes as quickly as I got them in my closet. My skin care routine was non existent and so my face was full of acne. My peers on the other hand, were blessed with curves, hair and make up. I was the ugly duckling in my crew.

When I got older and got my first job I was finally able to take some form of control over my appearance but it took years of learning to appreciate what was there. As a young woman, I was often told to cover up my non existent curves lest I be seen as the Jezebel and make the men fall in lust with my body. Those horny depraved minds lusted after anything with legs and it really had nothing to do with what I wore. I was tall, I was pretty without makeup and a friendly attitude to back it until you got on my bad side. Then well…you got the gist.

Unfortunately, due to the people around me and their “overprotective” counsels I developed a very strange idea of what my body looked like. I began to see what they saw and did my best to eliminate any source of sin. As a Christian, I made it my mission to look “modest”. I wore clothes that were way too big for me. It wasn’t uncommon to be told that my skirt was too short or my butt looked too big. For those of you who didn’t know me back then, I was a size 4. Yup a whole single digit, size 4.

Well, I got out of that toxic situation after ten years. But it took me awhile to reset my vision of my physical image and to fully come to love the creation that God made me to be. Once I fully embraced myself, I got pregnant. What should’ve been a beautiful experience became a nightmare from hell.

I literally thought I could love my body no matter its size and it turns out I didn’t. In fact, I’m currently going through my third pregnancy and I’m still fighting this rhetoric. I don’t feel beautiful. I don’t feel sexy and I don’t feel confident showing my body. I feel like that thirteen year old gawky and awkward teenager trying to get through my entire house without crashing into anything. I have no idea how wide I am and my body is so sore all the time. When I try to explain this to people all I hear “You’re not fat, you’re pregnant!” and the truth is I’m both. I am fat and I am pregnant. There’s nothing wrong with being fat, but there’s something wrong with me.

I know I’m not supposed to feel this. I know that my body is a machine that custom built for this and every life that I carry. But I have this belly that I can’t hide. These hips that just protrude out of my side. My butt jingles and I keep seeing pockets of fat deposits on my thighs. I wish it could be as simple as after the baby is born, I could lose the weight but the truth is. Losing weight postpartum is really hard.

When I had my second born, I actually gained weight postpartum. My mom actually commented on my weight and I felt so small. I am trying so hard to love my body for what it is and I can’t even comprehend what is happening or why it’s happening. I am breastfeeding and eating right and yet I can’t lose the weight. It took me 9 months to get this weight and to manage it, and here I am postpartum still feeling like an insecure teenager. I’m supposed to be over this. This body is the same body that carried these children. The same body, my babies cling to when they want to be comforted. This same body provides nurture, care and a haven of safety for my loved ones and yet all I see is the flaws, I have been told to hate.

I don’t know if this is body dysmorphia, but I know I don’t see an accurate picture of myself or maybe I do and that’s why I’m having such a hard time with this. I wish I could say that I love the way I look because the truth is I don’t. I am most comfortable showing my face and my hair because it still looks normal to me. I have a slight double chin but I can hide that with a contour stick. Everything else is just…ugh!

I wish I knew how to fix it. I don’t. I do hope that this sparks a conversation.

To you, who understands how I’m feeling you’re not alone. No matter how we feel, the truth is we are beautiful.

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