Body Image After Twins: Learning to Love Yourself Again

Body Image After Twins: Learning to Love Yourself Again

Long before having children, I struggled with self esteem, particularly related to how I looked. Growing up, I was always tall and big like the boys, so I was teased by the girls for being different from them, and teased by the boys for being too much like them. I always struggled with how I felt about my body, and ultimately myself.

After having my son, I saw a picture of me holding him and the first thing I noticed was how big I looked in it. I had a hard time fitting into my clothes and turned to food to drown my feelings. With every picture, I noticed my size, and I was extremely unhappy. I decided to try Weight Watchers based on how well friends of mine had done on the program, and it worked well for me; I lost a total of 65 pounds. Just as I was starting to feel better about myself physically, I became pregnant with my twin girls.

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When the girls were born at 29 weeks, I hadn’t gained a lot of weight, but I did during their 80 day stay in the NICU, turning to food to help deal with the emotional burden, stress, and anxiety that their premature births and subsequent complications brought on. Again, I was struggling with fitting into my clothes, hating wearing the same clothes day in and out at the hospital, sometimes feeling them rubbing against my incision from my C-section. I was not in a proper head space to even contemplate losing weight or getting healthy, and when I tried Weight Watchers twice more it did not work for me, because I had trouble finding the time to track what I was eating and couldn’t help but indulge under such stress.

The feelings I had about the time in the NICU manifested themselves into how I felt about my body and the way I looked. My c-section scar devastated me; I couldn’t look at it without feeling sick, a physical reminder of the difficult pregnancy and the girls being born too soon. New stretch marks from my second pregnancy were apparent on my stomach, and I felt like wanting to hide away.

It took me some time, but when the girls were about 14 months, I felt like I was ready to tackle something huge; my feelings about myself, and in particular, the way I looked. One of my friends is a Beachbody Coach and convinced me to try the 21 Day Fix program. Skeptical of my ability to not only stick to the change in diet and lifestyle, I was convinced that I was not going to be able to even do the exercises, that I was not strong enough.

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It did not take long for me to realize that I could do it, and even if I had to modify, I was still trying. Still doing my best. I was using my body in a way I had not in a long time; I was finding strength, where before all I saw was weakness, sadness. My physical scars began to fade, and with them, that hatred of myself… of my body that I felt had failed my girls and deprived me of a healthy second pregnancy.

Now, six months later, I have moved on to the Extreme version of the program. Again, I told myself for far too long that I couldn’t do it, was not strong enough. But I’m doing it, and not only am I doing it, I’m loving it. I may never feel totally comfortable in my body; there will always be that scar, that reminder. But, I am so proud of myself for trying, and I am so amazed at my body. Sure, I still have cellulite and stretch marks, but I also have found strength that I had no idea was within. An emotional strength that has allowed me to take on the world for myself and my kids. I can’t wait to see what I can do next.

alyssakeelAlyssa Keel has worked as a social worker in both Canada and the U.S. for several years. Living in Toronto, Alyssa is mum to a rambunctious, curious, and loving three year-old boy and identical toddler twin girls, who love food, their big brother, and Elmo. During her high risk mono mono twin pregnancy, Alyssa began blogging, an extension of her love of writing. Alyssa loves taking photos and impromptu dance parties with her kids. Follow Alyssa and her family’s adventures at adventureswithmultiples.comTo read more posts by Alyssa on Twiniversity, click here

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