I’ve struggled with my body most of my life, going back and forth between “I hate how I look” and “I’m so glad I have a functioning, healthy body.” Much of middle school and high school was marked with not eating enough and exercising too much. I was 5’7″ and weighing in around 102lbs for a while. I think it’s safe to say, I was not healthy. I could go days without eating a significant meal, and spent a lot of time dodging events with food. And in all honesty, my unhealthy eating stemmed from stress and body image combined. My parents had divorced, and everything I had known was just kind of… unknown. I can totally be the person that stress eats, but when I’m really stressed, I just physically can’t eat. I’m more than happy to say those days are long behind me. Give me a Chipotle bowl, and I’ll devour the entire thing. With chips.
It wasn’t until late high school that I really said “screw it” and learned to live a healthier life. Mostly healthy food, the occasional pizza and Taco Bell trip, a healthy amount of exercise. I’ve lived that life, contently, for 10+ years now. I’ve never had the urge to not eat, and I’ve been mostly happy with my body.
Until having a baby.
I was happy to be pregnant, considering Ryan and I had been off of birth control for nearly a year and a half before Lucas came around. I didn’t show much at all until around 5 months, which is likely somewhat due to my intense morning sickness for the first 5 months. I didn’t get a SINGLE stretch mark until 2 weeks before delivery. I really thought I was in the clear. HA. No.
So my post-baby body was extra-terrestrial to me, especially in those first few weeks after L&D. I still looked very much pregnant, and my stretch marks made me cry more than once.
The stress of having a baby kicked my brain into all-out stress mode. I barely ate. I gained 37lbs with Lucas, and lost all of it plus a little within a few short weeks. My fridge was filled with meals people had made for us, that I just had no interest in (other than the amazing scones that my grandma makes, which I could eat every meal of every day.)
After my hormones settled down I was able to get back into a healthy eating schedule. (You have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of your baby.)
Even after all of this- losing the weight, feeling less hormonal, I still had some major body concerns. I fit into my old jeans, but not in the way I used to. My stretch marks had faded into almost nothing, thanks to Bio Oil, but they were still there. It took me months to get to the point of being comfortable again (and feeling attractive again!) It only happened with the help of a few sites: 4th Trimester Bodies & Love your Lines (You can find both on Instagram!) Both promote acceptance in a way that is so freeing and beautiful. I’d strongly recommend finding and following them.
I am BLESSED to have carried this tiny human to full term, and to have given birth to a healthy, amazing little boy. My stretch marks and my new body I wear proudly now. It took time and adjustment. But oh man guys, do you know how many people would love to be able to carry a baby? To have a healthy baby? It’s not something that should be taken for granted ever. So many would be thrilled to have a few stretch marks make a home on their abdomen.
So I look at my little boy sleeping now, and I can’t even tell you how much the stretch marks and new body size don’t matter. He and I are both healthy.