Rainbows and Dragonflies

Body image or the curse of the “Ugly stretch marks” and “Mommy paunch”

Posted on: July 19, 2010

Like a lot of women I have a love/hate relationship with my body. It started in puberty when I gained a bunch of weight and was heavier than my friends. It went on into my adult age but I managed to win the battle and I thought the war. That was until I had my son. I look down now and I’m a size bigger than I was pre-pregnancy and 15 pounds heavier. My shape has changed and I’m starting from scratch with my wardrobe. My pre-pregnancy clothes are too small and of course my maternity clothing is too big. My feet have even grown and some of my shoes don’t fit anymore. Every morning it was a fight to get to work on time without having a meltdown.

So, where did the self-hating come from? For the longest time I wondered why I had those thoughts. I briefly remember my older sister taking water pills when I was a kid. Overall, there really was no discussion about weight when I was growing up. We covered the weight spectrum in my family and it just was what it was. I didn’t have any friends who dieted until college.

I don’t want to lay blame on the media but the older I get the more I pick up on the subliminal advertising. The other day I watched a cocoa butter commercial. It seemed normal enough. Moisturize and protect your dry skin. And then the announcer said the dreaded words “ugly pregnancy stretch marks.” I stared at the tv in disbelief that 1. they said something like that and 2. I’d probably seen the commercial before and absorbed the message without knowing. It hurts that we internalize and project that something as beautiful as pregnancy can leave “ugliness” behind.

I’ve also noticed this manifested all over the tv and magazines. Articles about getting your pre-pregnancy body back in 10 days. Airbrushed women plastered all over magazines. Reality stars Kendra Wilkinson Baskett and Kourtney Kardashian (who were both pregnant the same time I was and delivered within days of me) have caught my attention with their recent attempts at quickly returning their pre-baby bodies. Kendra had a breakdown and Kourtney worked out so hard that she passed out at the gym and an ambulance had to be called. All in the name of regaining what used to be.

I can’t continue to pine for what used to be. I have to embrace the fact that my body is different now. I made a baby and I should hold head up high and be proud.  I’ve cleared my closet, had several talks with myself and I’m finally getting to a comfortable place. I’m ok with the new stretch marks that are co-mingling with those from my teenage years. I’m ok with dressing for my current body and not the old. I’m a work in progress and thankfully I have a loving husband for support so I can combat those days when the negative thoughts reappear. I wish every mother the same peace of mind that I’m striving towards.

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3 Responses to "Body image or the curse of the “Ugly stretch marks” and “Mommy paunch”"

Tis the truth. Those celebritys get paid to look a certain way and on top of that majority of the time they get a c-section and a tummy tuck at the same time. and many women out here fight hard to have the perfect body, but who is it for?

Did you see Gwyneth Paltrow’s statement about women having no excuse for not getting back to pre-preg weight? This coming form someone who has a pilates set-up in her backyard and a personal nutritionist.

[…] years ago, I first discussed my new mom body image issues. Here I am now 30 pounds lighter and I’m still back and forth with the same internal […]

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