Saturday, February 25, 2012

Body Image.

The Contentious Photograph.



So, there it is...  This is the photograph that caused a bit of trouble in the little Facebook world of Joanna.  My husband, Sam, took this on a snowy day as I was getting ready to get into the hot tub.  I was turning away because I was embarrassed, but then I put it on my Facebook page.  Why do women do that? Apparently to get attention.

My closest friends were proud of me:  "Wow you look great."  (Remember I did have twins, in 2007.  Big twins, not little puny twins.  I had twins. I had twins and I’m tall and thin, a size 4 when I found out I was pregnant. People could not believe how huge I could be from the side, but from the back, I looked normal, not even pregnant. “It’s all baby.” Then we found out it was all “babies.” Twins).


But, maybe understandably, others criticized me, (behind my back of course), saying I was showing off and it was inappropriate, etc.  I guess I was showing off a little.  I was surprised when I saw the picture.  I thought, "Whoa, that's a good angle for me, you can't even see all my stretch marks!"  I think moms of twins who get their "bodies back" should be able to walk around naked if they want to. I don't care what they do to look good again, let them show it off.


My body is far from perfect.  I'll post one of my stomach close up.  My stomach exploded with stretch marks at the end of November, when Stella turned herself around from the breech position. I also remember that very night, as she spun herself around, I felt my abdominal muscles finally give up; the grand moment of Diastasis recti! (I called my OBGYN office the next day and said, “I feel like something bad happened. It feels like my muscles ripped apart.” Nurse Tabby said, “Yes that is probably exactly what happened. You are having twins, and this is normal.”)  I couldn't sleep that whole night.  She was working so hard, and I was so shocked because, how could she possibly have room enough to maneuver herself with her big brother in there too.  She did it, though, and now that I know this little girl, I see that this determination fits her personality.  She was Miss Stella in the womb.  She would do what she wanted to do and no one was going to stop her.  So, my muscles ripped the Hell apart while my baby accomplished something spectacular.  I can't feel bad about that.


Yet, I sometimes cry when I look at what used to be my belly button. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to the perfect little belly button I had known for 26 years, you know? No one prepared me for the changes. Everyone said I would bounce back, but then when they found out I was having twins, they stopped saying that.


Nursing is a whole different story. Now did anyone warn you that your boobs would shrivel up and die when you stopped breast feeding? I went from the 34 C to a 34 F some days when nursing, to a 34 AA. Awesome. Skin flabs on some ribs.  I looked in the mirror and didn't know who I was.  I didn't look like myself.


But hooray, this sad story has a happy, silicone ending. I decided to heck with all of the people that said pregnancy is beautiful, it’s natural, and after it's all over, accept who you are, and love your baby making body, and I went to a consult with a plastic surgeon. He looked at my stomach and said, that my muscles were too strong to sew them back together.  He said, "Your abs are tighter than mine!"  I looked down at my stomach kind of sadly, but then proudly, knowing I'd done all that by myself.


My stomach is still covered in stretch marks and my bellybutton is this weird-sort-of weird-thing, but I have boobs again! I went through all the guilty feelings of being selfish, and vain, but in the end I think it’s our right to have our bodies repaired after they have been damaged by pregnancy. Pregnancy was trauma to my body, and I got it fixed. People fix cars with cosmetic scratches and dents all the time. Those flaws don’t prevent the car from running, but most people choose not to drive around in a dented, scratched up car, right?

Yet, I decided to take take the picture off of Facebook.  Don't want to offend anyone.

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