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.
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.
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…