When I first became pregnant, back in 2007, there were many things I thought about.
Things like, how much pop can I drink before it affect my child’s ability to think straight? How many bowls of ice cream are allowed to be consumed each day before people should plan an intervention? (When I waddled out of the grocery store at 8 months pregnant, holding two buckets of ice cream, people started to raise questions of concern. They didn’t live long.)
I was also quite aware of my changing body. I did hours of research on the Internet on the best ways to prevent stretch marks. I covered myself in oils, lotions, and even butter. (Warning: rubbing butter on your belly just makes popcorn cravings that much stronger.)
Miraculously, after giving birth to a giant 9 lb. baby, I didn’t have many stretch marks.
However, there was a distinct “bulge” that I now wore. It was stuck on my belly, about an inch below my belly button. It was a pouch. I could have carried Evan in that pouch, like a Kangaroo.
I was so self-conscious about that “bulge” that over the next 3 years, I would do everything in my power to make it vanish. I did so many sit-ups that I probably have a 6-pack hidden in there somewhere.
My body shrunk down a bit, yet the “bulge” made it clear that it was here to stay.
It was depressing.
I hated looking at myself in the mirror and in pictures. All I could see was belly flab. Belly rolls.
And then I got pregnant again.
I no longer felt concern about my belly bulge because it was “supposed” to look like that now. During my first pregnancy I put on about 60 lbs. This pregnancy was definitely going to break that record. (I stopped looking after I gained 80 lbs.)
The nurses kept warning me about what my body was going to look like after. They didn’t paint a pretty picture. I spent many more hours, slathering on oils, lotions, and even butter. (Just to be safe.)
The photo above was me pregnant with the twins at 36 weeks.
At night, while laying in bed, I could actually feel my skin stretching. Like it was ripping my flesh open. I was afraid that I was going to reenact the scene from Alien when that weird alien pops out of his belly. (I’ve never seen Alien, I actually know this scene because of Spaceballs.)
After my C-section with the twins, my belly skin was horrible. It didn’t even feel like mine anymore. I couldn’t put anything on that didn’t make me hyper-aware of each and every belly roll.
At that time, I kept thinking, once I get rid of all this extra weight, I will finally feel like myself again. My belly will go back to its normal state and everything will be dandy.
A few years later, after a diagnosis of Celiac Disease, I lost about 25 lbs. quickly. I haven’t worn this size pant since high school. Miracles do happen!
But guess what?
My belly bulge was still there. Different now, flabbier due to the extra fluff being gone, the skin had nowhere to go.
The bulge is here to stay. Now, I just have to accept it.
My husband offered surgery, if it would help me gain confidence in myself. But I think I’m just ready to accept it as part of me for good.
Why not get the surgery?
Because of my kids. Because one day, they might come to me with their own body issues. They might face the same issues when looking into a mirror and I want to be able to stand next to them and say, “Love yourself just the way you are, because God made you and He doesn’t make mistakes.”
I don’t think I could say that with truth if I fixed parts of me that I don’t like with surgery. I’m still conflicted on getting the surgery because there’s a huge part of me that just wants a “normal” tummy again. I don’t fault those that have gotten surgery, I know that, for me, if I can’t accept myself now, that I will always find something to pick apart. This is just my opinion because I know what goes on in my own head.
God made me too. He helped me grow those 3 wonderful children. He made my belly stretch to allow them to grow healthy and strong. For that I am grateful. I am blessed.
I need to find myself beautiful more often. I see beauty when I look at my children. My husband, the man I plan on living out the rest of my life with, thinks I’m beautiful. I believe him.
Maybe this blog seems stupid to you. That’s fine. But for me, it’s taken a long time to put this out there. I’m a work in progress and this is step 1 for me: Acceptance.
So here it is. In all its glory. Please meet my belly bulge:
There it is. Out for the whole world to see. No take-backs. How’s that for acceptance?