Friday, October 14, 2011

Baby Stripes and Love Handles

Happy Friday blogland!

This morning I wanted to write about a topic very near to my heart - the amazing female body.

What does this picture have to do with this post? Not much, but it's a lot of beautiful bodies, and I love me some Pink Floyd.

Growing up, I didn't have a lot of respect for my body.  My t*ts were too small, my ass a little too round, my belly not flat enough.  I just didn't like it, and I spent a good part of my adolescence and early adulthood starving myself into an unhealthy place where I hated my body even more.

Then, I got knocked up, and spent a lot of weeks on bedrest packing on the pounds for the little monsters in my belly.  I went from an athletic 120 to a hugely pregnant 164, and that weight just didn't come off after delivery.  I weighed myself when I got home from the hospital, and I was still thirty pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight.  My once perky little B-cups suddenly were overflowing double-Ds when my milk came in, and my belly was swollen and covered with dark purple stretch marks.

I was devastated.  I'd never seen stretch marks on a mama's belly, and I wasn't prepared for what I was seeing in the mirror.  I know I'm not the only woman to have stretch marks... why is it that I'd never seen them before?

As I tried to squeeze myself into post-partum "shapewear" (which is pretty much exactly like trying to put on a wet bathing suit that is four sizes to small),  I wondered why I couldn't just cut myself a little slack and let my belly pudge out over my pants a bit if it needed to.  I had just grown and nurtured two lives in my belly, and the only feeling I had for my body was disgust?  There is something very wrong with that.

I tried to love my "baby stripes", I really did.  I got to the point where I wasn't ashamed of them, and if one of my friends wanted to see them (which happened with surprising frequency), I was OK lifting up my shirt (if I'd had a few beers).

My husband helped tremendously.  He told me he loved my belly, and even would sing a song for it  - to the tune of "Superfreak".  ha.  "Super freak, super freak, she's super freaky" became "Baby stripes, baby stripes, the stripes of babies."

It wasn't until I read a story about a mom who'd lost her baby at birth that I began to actually love my new belly.   As her belly expanded during her pregnancy, the stripes started appearing, bunching around where her baby's little head pressed outward toward her loving caresses.  When she went into labor, her baby was already gone.  Now she looks at the marks on her belly as a sweet reminder of the life that was there and is so thankful to have that tangible memorial.

It's funny - I've thought about getting a tattoo to honor my children... and it's wasn't until recently that I realized my babies made a beautiful, one-of-a-kind tattoo on me that was months in the making.

I wish we as women talked about this more.  There is a website called  The Shape of a Mother that is a gallery of images and stories of moms, and the longer you peruse the photos, the greater appreciation you have for the miracle of the female body.  

I feel like so much about our bodies and what happens during and after pregnancy is taboo to discuss, even among mothers and daughters and closest friends.  This needs to change!  I could write a hundred posts on things I learned during my pregnancy.

So go look at some naked ladies.  If you're a lady, go to the mirror and think about how beautiful and strong your amazing, one-of-a-kind body is.  And if you're having trouble getting that lovin' feeling, sing a little "Super freak".... it helps.  :)

Have a super weekend guys!

P.S.  I didn't run yesterday.  I was surprised with how many people told me on my post yesterday that perhaps my doctor is smarter than me (the outrage!)... so I held off for one more day.  We'll see if I can resist temptation today.  :)


  1. Ahhh, something all women need to read! Lovely post girl! Our bodies are truly so beautiful. There is something so powerful and attractive about a mother/woman that is confident and thankful for her body. A woman that embraces her curves, lack of curves, and loves herself fully.

  2. What an amazing post!!!! I can't believe you only got up to 164 with TWINS! That is what I weighed with just one, and I started at 120, too. I ate. A lot. And nothing has changed about it :). Ha!

    I'm grateful for my body and I can honestly say that running has helped me to appreciate it even more. I think living in Utah might help the fact that people are more wiling to share what happens with their bodies because of pregnancy- afterall, we have a LOT of children in this state :). I'm grateful for that!

  3. I am going to plead the 5th and not say how much I weighed after my second kid but it started with a 2! After giving birth to a 7 pound baby I only lost 5 pounds. How does that work??? I have tried to make peace as well. I just wish my c-section flap would go away! Great post!

  4. GREAT POST. I love the site "shape of a mother" it really helped me postpartum. I felt like I'd never be "sexy" again. I think that's hard for women b.c it's not necessarily the stretch marks or weight, it's the different view of yourself - like you can't be viewed as hot or sexy (well it was that for me) I am lucky that I hardly got any stretch marks during my pregnancy and the ones I do have are faded and white....however, sometimes I feel so vain b/c when I think of having another child I wonder if I'll get lucky a second time. argh the job of a woman.

  5. Stretch marks, I hate em. My mom has had 4 kids, not one, not even one stretch mark. Me, I've had two and I have em. They need to come up with something to make these things go away....oh and be affordable! :) Loved your post.

  6. Oh I love this post! I am not a momma but I've got plenty of battle scars. As much as I loathe them and envy the gals who look fabulous in a sports bra and shorts, they remind me of the gal I used to be. Sometimes it is easy to forget two years and 120 lbs ago. The stripes get me off the couch and somedays I need that reminder.

  7. Kinda like a long run: you get sweaty, you have pain, you sometimes get scars.....but ultimately, you feel strong because your body carried you through it.

  8. Wow! This is a profound post. Thanks for sharing. Your raw bluntness is refreshing. I don't have kids yet but am planning on it VERY soon so it is great to hear your perspective. Rock on.

    Get Up & Go

  9. I was 237 when I delivered my twins. I weigh now what you weighed 9 months pregnant with twins.

    I suddenly feel less happy with my body....
    Not that I'm every really "happy" with it :)

  10. I think all posts should have two things:

    1. Inspiring, self motivational talk
    2. Naked, airbrushed women.

    Well done.


Hearing from you makes me happy! :)

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