All throughout my life I have been small, short and very skinny. On my wedding day I weighed a tiny 86 pounds at the age of 23. In sixth grade I stopped growing at 4 feet ¾ inches tall. I was too small. I hated it! Size 0 pants would fall off of me, XS shirts hung off my bony frame. To make it clear, I did NOT have an eating disorder. I ate lots of food and loved it. I was picky, but what I did eat should have packed on the weight. Because of high school dance, I became very fit. My body was tone and what curves I did have were firm. I started liking my body, yet still too shy to show it off.
In the above picture I was on my honeymoon. I was 86 pounds, just under 5 feet tall and 23 years old. I look like a 12 year old… Yet, this is what magazines say is "true beauty". Like all women, I see models/other women and instantly start comparing. Even when I was 23 and "truly beautiful", my self-esteem was low, I found flaws: my middle fingers are slightly bent, my nose, a chipped tooth with a crooked smile and large moles on my arm and back. Like I said, even when we look good, we whine about the little things.
On my 24th birthday I was 6 months pregnant and weighed more than I ever have, 102 pounds! And the weight kept on coming. The last time I weighed myself before I gave birth to my son I was 122 pounds. I know right, most women just turned their nose up at me. You instantly hate me. But when you do the math, I gained 36 pounds during my first pregnancy. That's higher then the recommended weight gain for a healthy mother during pregnancy.
At this point in my life I was feeling joy, excitement, a little scared and FAT! Even with the reassurance from my husband “You’re so sexy!” “I love you more and more every day.” even with the simple love looks he gave me, I didn’t feel sexy at all. I had major swollen ankles, my face was chubby and my skin was stretched so tight it felt like my belly was going to rip open any second. And, surprisingly no stretch marks… yet.
After I had my son it took about 6 weeks to look normal. I didn’t get down to my pre pregnancy weight but in my mind, that was a good thing. But I will say that I felt very unattractive. When Michael was 4 months old I found out baby number 2 was on the way. There went my chance of toning up my body.
Above I'm with my 1 year old son and a very round belly. This was only a few days before my daughter was born. And still, no stretch marks... When my daughter was born she weighed 8 pounds 2 ounces. My doctor said because of my small size, me having an 8 pound baby is like an average size women having a 10 pound baby. Wow!
After I had Emily it took a long time for me to feel even a little comfortable with my body. Hearing about and seeing what celebrity had a baby but because of her personal trainer and endless flow of cash she looks better than ever, made me feel very insecure. Having 2 kids 12 months apart gave me no time for, well, me. I let my body go…
Only a few weeks after Emily's first birthday I found out (yet again) we were pregnant... After a miserable third trimester, I gave birth to a 9 pound baby boy! HOLY COW! Yes, little me carried a 9 pound child. No wonder I could barely move the last 3 weeks! And yes, this time I ended up with stretch marks. On my hips, butt, thighs, and a little on my belly. Now I hated my body! Not only is my skin stretched out, but now I have stretch marks too! I thought my body would never be beautiful again.
Here I am today, 28 years old with my 16 year old sister Rachel. I am happy with my weight at 111 pounds. I am an out of shape, stay at home mother of 3 kids. I had 3 kids in 3 years. After a shower I look in the mirror and like 98% of women out there, I do not like what I see.
I asked some moms how they honestly felt about their bodies before kids vs. after kids. Out of the women who answered (including myself); some feel no different, some feel more confident, some don’t feel comfortable but don’t mind it and some hate it… But they all have one thing in common, every one of them said it was worth it. Worth all the stretch marks, loose skin, tired eyes, messy hair, and little to no sleep. When I hear my kids laughing and playing together I couldn’t be happier. And even though I don’t like to show my body off, it doesn’t mean I’m not content. My kids are my life! They mean more to me then a toned body ever could. So I ask again, what is true beauty? My answer is, the mom who cares more about her kids then her own body image! What's your answer?