After three children I don’t feel like my body even slightly resembles my pre-pregnancy form. Apart from being the same height and shoe size I’m not convinced that anything looks nor feels the same.
I’m not saying I regret my decision to have children, not one bit, however, I do wish that I’d known a few things prior to getting pregnant so I could have prepared myself and maybe taken a couple of photos of my body before it changed so much! Everyone seemed to mention the sleepless nights when I talked about pregnancy but it seems everyone turned into quite the optimist when discussing babies and children. With everyone seemingly forgetting to mention the pregnancy itself – the toll it will have on your body, your diminishing state of mind and how your relationships with everyone will change. I entered pregnancy thinking the worst thing that might happen is that I would feel an incessant need to eat ice cream or gherkins at 3am.
If anyone asked me what having a family would be like I would say this: EVERYTHING CHANGES!
Zzzzz – Changes to sleep start from a few weeks after you become pregnant. It starts with the need to go to the loo 30 times a night, then you feel so tired you could sleep for a week and even if you manage it you won’t feel any better. Then, as your bump gets bigger, you can’t actual find a comfortable position regardless of the numerous ‘life changing’ support cushions you buy to try and help. Then once your tiny little bundle arrives you can kiss goodbye to nine hours sleep straight (for the first few weeks at least).
It’s time – Okay, I knew that the birth part would be painful… that’s pretty obvious right?! In fact I found that childbirth was nowhere near as bad as I expected it would be. Phew! However, no one (not even the midwives) explained or even mentioned after pains to me until after the birth. Jeez! They are just EVIL! I found the after pains much worse than the contractions themselves and they really catch you unawares. Imagine the worst period pains you get, x them by 10 and then add some additional cramps, fatigue from the birth itself and no sympathy as everyone is cooing over your baby. If you didn’t know about after pains how would your other half?!
Ouch my boobs – I knew my boobs would hurt, I read that somewhere and I knew they would get bigger (along with the rest of me) but I didn’t realise that they would be so painful I wouldn’t even want to cough or even have a t-shirt touch my upper half for the first three to four days.
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise – Yes, I stupidly believed all the adverts that moisturising would stop me getting stretchmarks. I know I was completely naïve. I’ve seen a lot of ladies sharing posts on social media about how they see their pregnancy stretchmarks as beautiful especially when accompanied by this image.
I am genuinely pleased for the women who feel confident and love their stretchmarks but I don’t. I can’t even bear to look at mine. I hate them! In fact, I’m sure they grow every night and laugh at me when I do mistakenly see them in the mirror.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant I was on a mission to photograph every part of it. I have bump photos at four weeks onwards, almost daily…. I did the toilet tissue ruler test to see where my bump was against that of my other pregnant mummy friends and I wrote down every detail of the journey.
Now I have a zillion stretchmarks I realise I have very little, if any, photos of my stomach and figure prior to becoming pregnant. I can’t remember what I looked like before. I was lucky and managed to lose all my ‘baby weight’ within six to seven weeks of each birth. If only losing the stretchmarks was so easy.
I am blessed with three beautiful children.
Were they worth the stretchmarks? – Well yes, of course they were. I just wish I had known that my body would look like this now so I could have been mentally prepared for the change.
Changing your wardrobe, underwear, swimming attire and everything else isn’t much fun. It’s a cost I wasn’t expecting and if I’m honest – I still don’t know who I am and what I should be wearing and my oldest child is almost five!
So yes, I have ‘tiger stripes’, many more than I would like. No I won’t ever wear a bikini again and no I’m not happy with my body. I don’t think I was 100% happy before but if I knew then what I know now. I definitely would have appreciated it more.