“Even before we were married, my husband and I were extremely comfortable with each other. All the shyness typically felt at the start of a relationship never existed for us. We told each other everything. We acted silly in front of each other with no embarrassment. Bodily functions quickly became an amusing topic of discussion before even a thought of ‘too much information’.
When my daughter and I moved into his house in March of 2017, everything was easy. He didn’t bat an eye when she, then barely three years old, ran naked through the house on the way to the bathtub. He laughed at her random, witty comments that only a toddler could say. When his teenage daughter came on her weekends, we naturally figured out our roles together. We fit together as a family very quickly. We were married within a year – St. Patrick’s Day 2018.
On the nights we had the house to ourselves (my daughter spent half her time with her dad) and I had taken a shower, I would open the door to the bathroom to let the steam escape. My husband knew that while I dried my hair or slathered on moisturizer, I was perfectly comfortable with him coming to the entrance of the bathroom to continue a conversation or tell me about what I had missed in the show he was watching. I never had an issue with him seeing my body in the full light, as I did unsexy things like brush my teeth.
Even having already had my daughter, I was one of the lucky ones that never had a problem with my weight. When we were married, I weighed 110 pounds. When the mood would strike me, I would exercise to tone up, but I was always blessed with a slender frame.
I got pregnant with our son in September 2018. We knew from the get-go he would be a big one. I gained over 50 pounds and painfully struggled to carry the extra weight until he was born weighing almost 10 pounds five days after his due date, on June 27, 2019.
Postpartum was relatively easy and we found our rhythm with a new baby in the house. I was breastfeeding every two hours and surviving on little to no sleep, as it is for every new parent. All that baby weight was steadily coming off. Until all of a sudden, it wasn’t.
About two months after he was born, that number on the scale got stuck 25-30 pounds more than my goal weight and has continued to stay there. I know I know; I am currently not even four months postpartum and I shouldn’t put this unnecessary pressure on myself. But I can’t help wondering these past 2 months: isn’t that number supposed to go down just a little every week? For the first time in many years, I became very self-conscious.
My boobs are huge and heavy.
My stomach is no longer flat.
My butt has stretch marks that have not yet faded.
My legs are chunky.
Hell, even my arms have gotten bigger. I have never had that happen before!
I stopped opening the door to the bathroom after my showers.
Even at the end of summer in Texas, I stayed in there, door shut. I would sweat in the steam as I got dressed.
But my husband never slowed down in his affections. I would tearfully express my concerns to him, worrying he would love me differently because my body was so different. I told him I didn’t feel like myself. He never faltered.
I started trying to exercise and quickly became frustrated. I was so out of shape; I would be tired and sore for days after an attempt. It will get better, keep going, he would reassure me.
He likes that I have more curves now. A couple of weeks ago I put on jeans for the first time at the first hint of fall. He followed me to my car and kissed me over and over, telling me how good I looked.
Sometimes we joke about both needing to get in better shape or our kids will be beating us up before too long. We’ll get there in time.
I started opening the door to the bathroom again.
More than once he has walked by, to put our son to bed, or to come finish a conversation like we used to, and he would pause. He was looking at my new body in full light. ‘Rawr,’ he’d exclaim, flicking his eyebrows up and down.
I still don’t feel like myself. I’m hopeful that I’ll lose some weight with time and exercise.
But for now, my husband still makes me smile and not worry about my appearance too much. Honestly, we’re both just as happy hanging out in sweatpants and eating junk food anyway.
I know we don’t love each other based on how we look. It’s about how we treat each other, how we love our family, and how we can talk about anything.
We’re proud to add a happy, healthy son to our family. To both of us, that is more important than what a body looks like.
I’m lucky to have found someone that I will always be able to open the door for.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Brenda LeSage, 33, of Wichita Falls, Texas. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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