I read this article: Are Women's Bodies Still Beautiful After Pregnancy? a while ago now but it is something that continues in my thoughts still. What our bodies looked like before and what they look like after birth. With celebrities like Victoria Beckham shrinking back to pre-baby weight almost immediately whilst other mums take more time. It takes 9 months for your body to change so surely it take sat least 9 months to get back?
When I had my first child I was 17 and I think I put a grand total of 1 stone and 7lbs on, taking me from a size 8 back to a size 10. I did lose quite a bit of weight thanks to extreme morning sickness though but I was back in my jeans within a week of giving birth-mixture of being young and breastfeeding I think.
When my daughter was born I'd put on 2 stones, which is about average for pregnancy weight gain, took a bit longer for the weight to come off even with breastfeeding again but I never dieted. I fell pregnant again when she was 7 months old and only put a stone and a half on this time. After my second daughter was born I was a size 10/12. When she was 10 months old I fell pregnant again with my second son (not bad to say I was told after my first son that I wouldn't fall pregnant again naturally!). I put on two and a half stone this time and felt H-U-G-E. I think at the end I weighed 11 stone, which is the most I'd ever weighed full term pregnant. I was a size 14 for a while after he was born but breastfeeding and having 3 under threes and a 5 year old meant I quickly dropped back to a size 10.
My skin on the other hand has never quite recovered, I had stretchmarks even as a teenager but the stretchmarks I gained with my first pregnancy were much more severe, bright red and looked like someone had dragged their fingernails through my skin. I was devastated really and its only now 15 years on that I have made my peace with them, well almost really. I still feel self-conscious about them despite the fact that I would rather have them and my children.
I really loved the photographs on A Beautiful Body Project and it made me feel a bit sad that I had never had any photographs taken with my babies. Whatever my feelings are towards my own body now I'm immensely proud of it for birthing four beautiful babies and breastfeeding for a total of three years. The feeling I had when giving birth will never leave me and I think I will forever be chasing a high to come anywhere close to that feeling.
Even though my youngest child is nearly ten years old I have decided that I can still be proud of my body and all its stretchmarks because I have the most wonderful and precious gifts in my four children. So maybe I will take some photos myself like the ones on Jade's blog, I'm not sure if I will be brave enough to share them but we'll see.... I would be really interested to read anyone else's thoughts/feelings on this so please feel free to leave a link to your blog or comment below :)