being a mom
Anonymous Mom: I’m Finally Done Hating My Post-Baby Body
I can distinctly remember the first time that I felt fat. Up until that point, I was a confident middle schooler and didnâ€™t think too much about how I looked. That all changed with a simple trip to the grocery store with my mother. As I twisted to fasten my seat belt, she smiled and reached over to pinch a fold of skin that had doubled over the belt and said the words Iâ€™ll never forget. â€œGetting a bit of stomach on you, are you?â€ She then laughed and backed out of the driveway like nothing had happened, but I spent the rest of the car ride wondering if I was fat and if I should go on a diet. I was thirteen, 5â€™2â€, and 110 pounds.
From that point on, I was bombarded with images and comments that told me I wasnâ€™t good enough, just like every other teenaged girl in the last few decades. These came from both my peers and the media. It certainly didnâ€™t help that I didnâ€™t have a date to any of my high school dances (though I wonder now if thatâ€™s because I had the good Christian girl image, so there was no hope of getting me to a hotel after). But by far, the most damaging messages came from my mom, who was constantly berating her own appearance. Pairing that with the fact that sheâ€™d told me all my life how much I resembled her, I figured that if she thought she wasnâ€™t pretty, I obviously wasnâ€™t either.
My husband has tried for the last seven years to undo what the first eighteen did to me. He is one of the most supportive, encouraging, patient people I know, but no matter how many times he tells me Iâ€™m beautiful, I just canâ€™t believe it. Becoming pregnant didnâ€™t help. Even though I didnâ€™t show until my fifth month and barely looked like I was in the third trimester when I was due, I felt like a whale. I gained about 35 pounds, and absolutely hated every single one of them. I managed to fend off stretch marks until week 36, but then cried for a half hour when I discovered the first ones spreading across my abdomen. I knew deep down that my body was doing an amazing thing and that these side effects would be worth the little person Iâ€™d soon get to meet, but I just hated the way I looked.