Tuesday, October 5, 2010


The above photos are completely unedited. That morning, I was a huge poofy mess. I had been flat on my back for 12 hours, pumped full of fluid, and not allowed to move even to sit up to eat some ice chips. I gained so much in swelling that I was only 5 pounds down from my pregnancy weight a few days after giving birth. The swelling I endured during my pregnancy and after labor eventually went down in the weeks that followed, but I was left with more stretchmarks that I received while I was pregnant. The stretchmarks on my breasts doubled when my milk came in. I hate looking at those early photos of Grayson and me because I just don't look at myself. The last photo, though, reminds me of what was important at that moment: holding my baby in my arms for the first time, him looking up at me, his eyes meeting mine almost immediately.

I still haven't really come to terms with my post-pregnancy body. I have stretchmarks on my thighs, hips, and surrounding my nipples. (My belly blessedly came away scar-free.) I still have about 8 pounds to lose, but I doubt my old pants will ever fit again. I can't fit into any of my old shirts, and may never will, because my breasts are more than 3 sizes larger. I'm hoping they'll go down a size or two after I wean! My face still looks too chubby and my feet grew a half size. My skin is both oily and dry, and my hair keeps falling out.

I wouldn't trade any of that for my little boy, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I longed for my old body.

That's why I wanted to post a link to one of my favorite sites ever: The Shape of a Mother. It contains full nudity pictures of real mothers during and after pregnancy. The photos go along with stories from these women: what they went through, their emotion traumas, how they are dealing (or not dealing) with their new bodies. In a society where images are distorted on magazine covers and celebrities are lauded for their looks, this website is a welcome and much-needed look into what it really means to be a mother.

I don't know if I'll ever grow to love my post-pregnancy body, even as my stretchmarks turn white and fade. I hope that I might at least smile a little when I look in the mirror after taking a shower, seeing my ever-present remind of June 4th, 2010 when I pushed for 2 hours and held my son in my swollen arms.

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