A friend shared a photo from a page on Facebook called the Beauty Revealed Project. The photos through out the page really inspired me. Every woman is beautiful in her own unique way regardless of their physical appearance and more so as they literally expose their postpartum bodies.
I’ve always struggled with my weight and for years I took care of everyone else, but didn’t take care of me. I was in one horrible relationship after another and I had a drinking problem. My life consisted of work, drinking all night, sleep and repeat. I had no self confidence. I hated my look and myself.
After years of abusing myself I smartened up. I began working for Lancome where my appearance was what sold the product and made me money, I needed to look good. Over my first year working there I dropped at least 60lbs. I came to terms with the possibility that I was infertile and might never have kids. I worried about myself and not being in a relationship or if someone needed my help. I ate healthy rather than sitting down at night with a tub of ice cream watching TV or going out drinking. I was nearly happy with me! Sure I was still a little squishy, but I was skinny and the extra flab could be worked away.
I had no intentions of seeking out a relationship. I focused on work, spending time with my family and doing stuff I enjoyed. I didn’t worry about everyone else or what they were thinking. When I met Richie (I think I might have shared our story before) I never imagined being here today. He had friended me on MySpace and I had completely forgotten he was on my list. Everyone on my list I knew personally or had talked to for years and had no problem with them having my number. I sent out a bulletin to everyone on my list with my new cell number and he replied telling me if I shared my number people might call it, I replied and your point? He began calling and texting me. We’d spend hours at night on the phone and would text during breaks, but I refused to meet him. I wasn’t looking for a relationship and I was done with meeting people that I met online. I had been hurt too many times and I refused to let it happen again. When one night he happened to go visit a friend and it turned out I knew the friend, we decided to meet a couple days later. I wasn’t planning on it turning into a relationship, I just wanted to hang out because we got along well, but we just grew closer and closer.
A couple weeks after meeting I was told about a position in my previous industry. Less work, more money and I could wear jeans! I remember he came with me to my interview and waited outside until I was done. Several days later they called me and offered me the position and he was the first I called. I began working at my new job about a month into our relationship and things were going well. Imagine my surprise when I realized I was two months late. The first month I chalked up to regulating my cycle to everyone I worked with as they had just gotten over their periods when I started. I never miss two cycles in a row, so something was going on. I had no insurance yet so I opted to head to a free clinic near my job. As I sat talking to the lady about my options, I just kept thinking I don’t have to worry about options, I can’t get pregnant. That test is going to be negative. I am destined to not have children. When she ever told me is was positive I just about laughed, cried and screamed all at once. This is not possible! I just started a new job that I loved, we’d only been together for two months. I thought he was going to leave me and I was going to get fired.
Things went well with the pregnancy, I didn’t get fired. Richie and I did split a month later and I continued growing. I gained over 50lbs during my pregnancy. My failed induction resulted in a c-section. I was alone and this was my first surgery. I had never broken a bone and the most I had was three stitches after cutting my hand open. Sure my mom was there for the delivery, but she had to return to work. That first night I was alone with my beautiful newborn daughter Khloe dealing with trying to make nursing work and being in pain. I told myself over and over I can do this! I can be a single mom!
I was sad for a couple weeks after her birth. I thought I would never meet someone again. No one wants to date a flabby single mom. To my shock at my four week postpartum visit I had already dropped 45lbs. Shortly after that Richie and I reconnected. We worked through our problems, he helped care for our daughter. Soon after we discussed why we felt our relationship wouldn’t work. He told me after being without Khloe and I he realized that what he thought he didn’t want, he now couldn’t live without. He wanted a family, he wanted more kids, he wanted marriage! Three months later I was pregnant with Keira and by the end of 2007 we were engaged. We celebrated six years married in September and have four amazing, beautiful and very loved children.
Since having the kids I have battled with my appearance. For the last eight and a half years I have either been pregnant or nursing. I am squishy. I am scarred. I feel horrible. Then as I was reading through stories, looking at pictures of other amazing moms sharing their postpartum bodies it hit me. While I am not happy with my appearance, I love it. It is this body, scarred, squishy and sagging that housed, grew and nourished our four children. It is this body that my kids cuddle up to. That they hug. They run to when they are hurt or scared. The body Richie still finds sexy. If it wasn’t for this body and my flabby tummy I wouldn’t be able to call myself a mom. So sure I am unhappy with it, but I love it all the same. It might be flawed. It might never wear a bikini. It might never fit into skinny jeans again, but what I have is more important. A beautiful family that loves me, for me, just the way I am.