Circa October 2003I was a very young mother. Not very very young, but young enough -- I had to leave my 21st birthday party early to go home and nurse my fussy infant. Yup, I had my first baby when I was just 20 years old, which means I basically skipped the booty-shaking club scene.
I also didn’t get very long to enjoy my pre-baby body. I remember doing the pencil test at around 17 or 18, and the thing dropped straight to the floor. I remember thinking it would be gross to have boobs that sagged enough to make anything stick under there. In other words, I was an idiot teenager.
It took my body shifting and changing with the demands of pregnancy and motherhood to make me appreciate being a woman. I won’t lie -- it was hard. I cried over my saggy boobs and stretch marks, and thought how unfair it was that I hadn’t had more time to enjoy the things I hadn’t known you couldn’t put back once you had kids.
I didn’t know a whole lot of other 21-year-olds struggling to lose the last 10 30 pounds of pregnancy weight from gaining over 50 in less than a year. Ok fine, it was over 60. It was bad, y’all. I thought all of my femininity was gone.
But something happened to me in the midst of all this grief I had over losing what I considered to be my feminine wiles. I was somebody’s mom, and that gave me a different kind of confidence. While other girls took pride in their skinny ass bodies slender forms, I had to find other things to like about myself.
I learned to appreciate my unique role in my child’s life. I learned to study more interesting things than my own image in the mirror. I learned to expand and grow in other ways, and along the way somewhere, I discovered that true confidence as a woman doesn’t come from perfectly perky breasts or a super flat stomach -- it comes from an inner voice that says, “Eff that, there is more to this being a woman thing than a body.”
So when I confidently rock a bikini on the beach these days, stretch marks and all, and I see a perfectly toned teenager glancing at me with a that-will-never-happen-to-me look on her face, I half smile as I remember fondly the days when I too was an idiot teenager with no idea what it meant to be a woman.
Did pregnancy ultimately help you feel more confident as a woman?
Image via Jenny Erikson