This Runner's Trials

The body I fear I’ll never get back

Like most women, I've battled body image issues. Luckily, mine seemed to end with my teenage years. Not so coincidentally, this was the same time I started to see myself as an athlete and when I started dating a special guy.

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This does not mean I haven't had my moments. I'm not naturally thin. Twice I've weighed a good 10 lbs. more than my "happy" weight. Once due to a long lasting injury and the other time resulted from a hectic work schedule (trust me, when people say they don't have time to exercise, they might mean it).

But the weight always came off quickly once I resumed my normal habits. My favorite hobbies just happen to give me a healthy body.


Thus, this body was not hard to get.

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That doesn't mean I didn't work for it. But my motivation for tempo and long runs was PRs, not a thin physique.

On the other hand, this body was incredibly hard to come by.


This body- the one that's 15 lbs. heavier than my normal weight, much rounder, and full of cellulite, skin folds, and visible veins- is the one I'm so proud to have.

This is the body type I envied on others. Seeing this body shape on women would bring me to tears. This body is what I thought I could never achieve.


This body has turned me into a narcissist. I've never been the girl who spends a lot of time grooming or taking pictures of herself. Now, I check out my body in the mirror several times each day, hoping my belly looks bigger. And my husband is probably sick of how often I throw the camera in his hands; I just want this awesome body to be forever documented.

And stretch marks? You better believe I am not trying to prevent them. I haven't applied any special lotions or oils because there's no studies that show they work (source) and because I kind of want stretch marks. :)


My stomach has never been "ideal". It's full of scars from two surgeries, a mark from my belly button ring that came out a decade ago, a little line from when I learned how to iron when I was 10 (don't ask ;) ), and a tattoo. I've always liked how unique my stomach is. It has character, and my stretch marks will only add to the flair.

I seriously cannot wait to watch my pregnant body keep changing over the next 20 weeks and 20+ lbs.


I know I'm in the minority here. Many pregnant women see a picture of their pre-pregnant selves and wonder if they'll ever get that body back. That's honestly never been a worry of mine.

But I'm already bracing for the day when my son is in my arms and my thighs are thinner. I'll come across a picture of my pregnant self and it will leave me sobbing. Because that's the body I'll want back more than anything. And with my history, I fear I'll never get it again…

Comments (62) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Lovely post! Totally get it xx

  2. Great post Jen! I love that you are embracing your body instead of trying to resist all the changes :)

  3. You will! You will get pregnant again with a little girl. :) Happened once already in very very odd circumstances right? In Gods perfect timing I know your family will be complete! :)

  4. beautiful post with a beautiful message <3

  5. I love how much you’re embracing your new, beautiful, pregnant body. Your such am inspiration! I cannot wait to hopefully do the same someday. :)

  6. This is so great to read instead of other bloggers who are overly concerned with weight gain, etc. I like how you are very grateful for this blessing! :)

  7. Okay – first of all I loved this post. Second of all, I’ve been out of the loop for about 1.5 weeks…. A BOY!?!?!? SHOCKER!!! Congrats!

  8. You’re my role model! I love how you’re not only embracing your new body, but loving it! I’m loving the kicks and wiggles from the little body inside of mine, but some days I can’t help but get excited about getting back into a more normal shape for me, and yup, I’m rubbing on moisturizing cream daily in hopes of preventing stretch marks.
    Although I’m not as evolved as your are, I do focus on what an amazing experience this is and how grateful I am to be pregnant and grow this little life.
    And I have FULL confidence that your son will have a little sibling down the road :)

  9. Your posts always give me goosebumps. It’s actually really refreshing reading how much you love your pregnant body. You DID work really hard to get it where many other women don’t. I hope you have a house full of babies one day soon. :)

  10. This is a really great post – you need to save this to show your son one day!

  11. I stumbled upon your blog a couple of weeks ago. I’m a few weeks behind you and, like you, struggled to get pregnant (5 IVF cycles!) and am a runner. I, too, love my pregnant little belly…I never thought I’d be able to be pregnant again (at least with a biological child) and am so happy to have it. Enjoy every little moment. I will tell you this…if you WANT to have more children. You will. You just have to apply the same perserverance you did this go round. And, who knows, you may be one of the lucky ones that have it “easy” the next time.

  12. Love this! Love your blog!

  13. I love this post, Jen! It must feel so good to write those words :)

    PS – you look BEAUTIFUL in the picture in the blue dress! Gorgeous pregnant lady!

  14. Aww I love this. I hope I embrace my pregnant body when the time comes too. I totally relate to the beginning of this post. I’ve never been totally happy with my body but never really unhappy either because my body has gotten me through 3 marathons and countless other races. I think you have such a great attitude about your changing body : )

  15. You have the best attitude…I hope all pregnant women can read this when they are feeling down. You look amazing btw!

  16. I love your attitude toward stretch marks. And you’re right, creams won’t prevent them, or they didn’t with me. I had horrible image issues before I had kids, but my attitude totally changed after. After all the things that my own body had accomplished, creating and sustaining another life through pregnancy and nursing, my single friend’s tight bodies just didn’t seem that impressive.

  17. I completely agree with you Jen! Great post :)

  18. I love your blue sundress, you are wearing!! I need more maternity dresses! It’s so amazing how your body changes to grow and feed a baby! Things definitely didn’t go back to how they were before, but my son and the baby girl that is growing now are both totally worth it! I wouldn’t trade them for a perfect body, any day!

  19. thanks for sharing this :)

    Up until last week, I had the opposite mentality. I was worried about the stretch marks and weight gain and all of the things that go hand in hand with pregnancy.

    At our 20 week anatomy scan we learned our baby girl has fetal ventriculomegaly. How I look doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is the health of my baby girl and making sure she’s ok.

    I hope more people realize that your appearance during pregnancy is the very LAST thing that should matter.

  20. You look gorgeous pregnant! You have such a great attitude and are really inspiring about this whole journey

  21. LOVE LOVE LOVE! such a beautiful post!!!!!!!! (and so glad someone else isn’t slathering their stomach with lotion too!)

  22. Love the post. I will admit that “wanting” stretch marks is a bit peculiar, but after struggling with infertility, I totally get it. BTW, I now have 2 ittybits. One son-older, one daughter-11 weeks old.

  23. You’ll get it back :) Things might be a little different, but you will appreciate your body 100x more! I love how I look pregnant – Vivacious, full of life, and happy. I also laugh at the stretch mark lotion commericials. I did slaughter on the lotion – but only because my belly was extremely dry and itchy (and for the record — no stretch marks on this mama – it’s completely genetic!).

    It’s great to have this attitude. I truly believe carrying another life makes you appreciate the one you are living!

  24. This is an awesome post with a beautiful perspective! Congratulations on your pregnancy and I sincerely hope you are able to have many more!

  25. Awesome post, and I agree with you! I had my first baby 5 months ago, and despite all of the body image issue sof my past, I never felt as beautiful and perfect as I did when I was pregnant. I would take that big round healthy belly back any day :) Post pregnancy has been an adjustment, for sure as I no longer have my pre-preg body and no longer have my preg body. But I have a healthy and happy little boy. And even though “i dont have time for exercise’ has never been more true for me than it is now, I’m figuring out the new ‘normal’ and what it takes to fit it back in…very slowly, but surely. A healthy 20 more weeks to you!

  26. So touching! As someone with degenerative disc disease, I can so relate to the feelings you describe having when you would see pregnant women. I don’t (knowingly) struggle with infertility, but I was told by several doctors I should never be pregnant because of the stress is will cause my back. I am so grateful there are other options, and I very much look forward to adopting someday, but there is still a part of me that wishes I could experience pregnancy. I only recently came upon your blog (via CaitlinHTP), and have enjoyed catching up on your story. Congratulations on your joyful little miracle!

  27. Hi Jen. I never really comment but I loved this post too much not to. This post is awesome. Thank you for sharing it.

  28. Wow, you look fantastic! I too love that blue dress! :) Oh, and I know that you don’t care but you will get your body back probably without working at it b/c you naturally gravitate towards fitness and physical activity! :) Well, there may be loose tummy skin, but it comes with the territory! ;) Do you rub your bump? I used to rub mine all the time and talk to the baby. I loved being pregnant! <3

  29. You have me in tears! After having a miscarriage even though it was anunplanned blessing; I look at every pregnant women with longing and feared they think I’m a nut case. Glad to know I’m not the only one who does it.

  30. You are beautiful. Your way of sharing this journey is truly special and I am so happy for you.

  31. I love how much YOU love your pregnant body…and that you truly celebrate it. And I also think it’s wonderful that you are enjoying every week of being pregnant. But don’t get down thinking about the next one yet. You WILL get pregnant again Jen. You had a miracle happen once…it’ll happen again.

  32. As I sit here recovering from an IVF retrieval, I was touched by your last few lines. I’m a fellow PCOS runner and although I haven’t even gotten pregnant the first time, I already feel panicked about having to through all of this a second time. I’m not sure if that’s what you meant, but I think it is. I can relate.

    On a brighter note, your tale is truly inspiring and I look forward to reading your posts every week. I know I will feel the same way about my body if I’m ever lucky enough to be in your position!

  33. It’s so great that you are loving your preggers belly and everything that comes along with it! :-)

  34. this post brought a big smile to my face!

  35. You look SO FREAKING ADORABLE!!! Pregnancy suits you :)

  36. You look absolutely gorgeous! Pregnancy agrees with you so well. I am so happy for you

  37. LOVE THAT BELLY! You look gorgeous. :)

  38. You and your journey amazes me!

  39. What an awesome post! I absolutely LOVE it! Also, I must say that it is so inspiring and comforting to follow your beautiful journey, so thank you for giving us a peek :)

  40. Omg you’re belly is growing quickly! You’re the cutest pregnant lady!!

  41. What a wonderful post! I have to admit that even though I am looking forward to getting my pre-preggo body back, I know that I’m really going to miss the body I currently have. I have loved every second of my pregnancy, even with heart burn, food aversions, and not being able to run. The only thing I really miss now is my running body, but I think I’ll be the same as you and cry seeing my pregnant self after my baby is in my arms. I love how I look now and will miss it when it’s gone.

  42. This is a beautiful post. Surprising, well written, and so very heartfelt. I’ve known for a while that you will be an amazing mom, and I think it’s incredible that you’ve been able to fully appreciate and embrace every step of the journey that’s bringing your little boy into your life. I hope I have an outlook like yours when I’m pregnant someday.

  43. You look amazing…and I love this post. It’s refreshing not to hear about all the gazillion lotions you’ve tried to try to prevent stretch marks:)

  44. LOVE this post, has to be one of my favorites! You look absolutely gorgeous & glowing. :)


  45. I love this post. So happy for you! :)

  46. This is a great post that reminded me of how truly lucky I am to have a body that is changing shape and size. You’re such a refreshing blogger, Jen, and you look simply amazing in your bump photos!

  47. I’m in tears reading this post…and secretly wishing I felt the same about my pregnant body. I am 15 weeks pregnant and hating my new body. I was always the fat kid growing up and had to work really hard to get to a place I was happy with, thin yet muscular. Good thing I LOVE exercising!!! Your posts are very inspiring…thank you and good luck in the rest of your pregnancy. I’ll be reading…

  48. This is by far the most beautiful blog post I have ever read. Touching on so many levels :)

  49. This post made me tear up; so touching and beautiful!

  50. Beautiful post, by a beautiful woman. Love love love. Getting the “body back” never really happens again, but it’s a more beautiful, useful and loved body… and you have the right perspective! :)

  51. I love, love, love this post. What a beautiful perspective on your changing body. Wish more women would feel this way. Thank you for sharing!

  52. This might be the best post I have read. EVER. I LOOOOVE your mentality, Jen!

  53. You made me cry. On my birthday. Hahah But seriously, this is yet another amazing post, Jen. <3

  54. Wow Jen. This is such a moving post. You look awesome…so healthy and happy!

  55. This was the most beautiful post I’ve read in a really long time. I am so happy for you and your family! Thank you for putting everything into perspective…

  56. Thank you for this encouraging post. I really appreciate your view on stretch marks… because I just gave birth a month ago and did not have any stretch marks until the last two weeks and it was almost over night they came. I cried and cried. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who continually tells me I am beautiful, but I have been struggling because I have never really had weight issues mainly because of running and now I find myself 17 pounds overweight and can not wear any of my clothes. So I say all of that to say thank you for reminding me of why I find myself like this… my beautiful little girl.
    Thank you.

  57. Wow, sitting here 36 weeks pregnant and feeling a whole lot more appreciative of the discomfort :-) I was the opposite, pregnancy: easy, running: hard -heart and lungs just weren’t great! Inspirational post.

  58. Jen, I totally know how you feel about the body you always wanted. It took us 8 years for our son through fertility. 3 fertility docs over the 8 years and the last one we did 54 shots in the belly and 2 IUI’s over the space of 6 months. We finally got our son. Since having him I have gotten pregnant spontaneously 3 times (that we know of for sure, could actually be 4) now and this last one is the one that has stuck. So happy for you guys and the amazing miracles of fertility treatment!

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