High school is all about image. The skinniest girls are the prettiest girls. The cheerleaders date the football players. You wish to be in the “in” crowd. Just like any other teen I wanted to look my best, be my skinniest, and be in that crowd. Instead I was a more “fly under the radar girl.” I wasn’t popular and I wasn’t unpopular. I studied my hardest and it was noticed by my teachers. I joined clubs and I was a cheerleader but I was far from being in that in crowd.
Like many teen girls I struggled with my looks. Always wanting to be skinnier, always trying to be tanner. Always wanting the best clothes. At what point was I going to be happy with myself?
College was no different. There may not have been one “in” crowd but there were clicks. I joined a sorority to meet people and others said I “bought” my friends. I did activities in my majors that went above and beyond what was required to get a diploma. But never feeling like I fit in.
During college I met my now husband. Always wanting to impress him, always looking my best and putting on my biggest smile. Eventually we got married and conceived our first child. The weight gain started slow and increased quickly and oddly enough, I loved my pregnant body. Yes, I gained a lot of weight but the thought that a little life was growing inside me made that all worth it. It’s like everything I strived to be and look didn’t matter anymore. After that little life made his appearance via emergency Csection, I again felt like I needed to lose that weight as quickly as possible so my husband would still be attracted to me even though he has assured me many many times that I am beautiful. Why don’t we listen to those that matter most to us? I still had that sense of insecurity.
By breastfeeding I was able to lose that weight quickly and then again we conceived a new little miracle. And here we are. Loving my pregnant body (even though I am very uncomfortable physically). But I am a mom. I am proud of my scar, I am proud of my body and it hosting soon to be two beautiful boys. When they grow up I want them to see a mother that is comfortable in her skin no matter how she looks. When I wake up with bed head and smeared make-up I want them to say “you look pretty mommy” and mean it.
When they are old enough to date I want them to love their girl friend, fiancé, or wife for who they are. I want them to tell her she is beautiful even when she feels her worst. If they are ever blessed with a baby I want them to tell the mommy that they love her body and support her through any insecurities she faces. And I want them to teach their children the values of loving the body of a women, no matter the size or stage their body is in. It starts with us to teach our sons and daughters to love our bodies.
We need to believe and know we are beautiful before we can teach our children the same values. Life would be pretty boring if we all loved the same right? This is why I loved participating in A Beautiful Body Project. I want others to read my “plain jane” story and be able to relate. Maybe someone will read my story and think “this is me, I can relate to her.” And maybe they will look at these photos as they are struggling with accepting their pregnant body and start to feel they are beautiful too. – Crystyn
Photographed by ABBP Regional Photographer Rachael McCormack. You can book a shoot with her or see more of her work here: www.milyphoto.com
A Beautiful Body Project has regional photographers in many countries around the world! If you want to be seen and heard, share your story! Or give the book The Bodies Of Mothers as a gift to someone you think would love it!