Here is to my first day of blogging on my 30 Day Blogging Challenge.  If you are new to my blog, thank you for reading!  I try to share a lot of family-friendly, healthy recipes with you guys, talk about balancing a healthy lifestyle with kids, work, family, etc, and as of lately I have been writing a lot about accepting your post-partum body changes.  Five months ago I delivered a beautiful (10 lb!) baby girl and I’ve been sharing post partum belly pictures from Day 2 (click here for those posts).  My hope has been that if I can share pictures of what is normal for my body to go through post partum then maybe other people will also feel more comfortable with their changing body after having babies.

Nearly every time I share a post-partum picture I get really nervous.  My heart races fast when I get ready to click submit, and there have been times that I never even clicked ‘send’ when getting ready to post a picture because I just wasn’t feeling confident enough that day to post it.  Even though I am really happy with where I am at in the post-partum process, it still makes me feel really vulnerable to put not-so-perfect pictures of myself out there for everyone to see and judge.  I think the scariest part of sharing these photos is posting them in real time.  It would be so much less scary to get back in shape and then share my post partum pictures.  It would be so much easier to say, “I’m back in shape now, but this is what my body looked like in the process”.  But, this entire time, I’ve really wanted to focus on making people feel more comfortable with what a woman’s body goes through after having a baby so that maybe they can feel more comfortable in their own skin and what I keep asking myself is how can I expect people to feel comfortable with their changing bodies if I’m not comfortable enough to share what I am going through?

So, with all that being said, I want to talk about something that is really scary for me to talk about: stretched skin.  Last week I posted this picture on my Facebook page and talked about how my 5am workouts are really starting to pay off.

In the caption of the photo I said, “The lower part of my tummy still has some work, and I am hoping the skin didn’t get permanently stretched from carrying two 10lb babies. Only time will tell what will happen, hopefully that stretched skin goes back to normal…if not oh well it was worth it.”

Since I’ve posted that picture though, I can’t stop thinking about how I wasn’t entirely honest in that post.  I was feeling self conscious when I went to post the photo and at the last second cropped the photo so that the stretched part of my stomach wasn’t really showing.  So, in an effort to be completely honest and transparent, I want to share this photo with you.  On the left is the cropped photo I posted with an Instagram filter put on it.  On the right is the un-cropped, no-filter photo I took:
So, as you can see, I still have stretched skin on the lower part of my stomach, but I don’t think it’s really very fair to say I have stretched skin but then crop that part out of the picture.

Now, are there ways I can get around that extra skin showing?  Of course!  When I wear my pants up a little higher off my hips the skin isn’t really an issue, and when I stand up straight it doesn’t bother me so much.  Am I really happy at five months post partum with the muscle definition that is coming back in my abs and arms?  You bet!  But, I do get a little self conscious about the lower part of my tummy sometimes.  I remember with my first son that I had this exact same stretched skin and once I lost a lot of the extra body fat the skin tightened up a lot, but it never totally went back to normal.

Anyways, I wanted to share this side by side photo with you guys to show you that 1) I still have stretched skin after gaining somewhere around 60 lbs (I stopped keeping track at the end) and carrying my second big baby and 2) Help people realize that it is normal to have stretched skin after you carry a baby for 9+ months.  I know some people have awesome genetics and don’t get stretch marks or stretched skin, but unfortunately I’m not one of them.

The whole point of this post was mostly just to share with you guys the whole picture from last week, and also to share that, yes, I get stretched skin and stretch marks too.  My hope is that as I continue to share these photos I can show you guys that there are a lot of changes that happen to your body after you have a baby, but that with proper exercise and nutrition, you can still feel comfortable in your own skin along the way.

‘See’ you guys tomorrow!

Your Friend,
Natalie