Jenny's story: my body is a trophy of the maternal journey

This content mentions body image or generally discusses weight, which some people may find triggering.

I look in the mirror, and my belly looks like a popped balloon. I hate it. I am so embarrassed by it that bikinis are nowhere to be found in my wardrobe.

But I have learned to live with it. A kind of ‘war wound’ of my body changing shape to carry and produce children – or perhaps even a ‘trophy’ for winning that battle?

20 years on from childbirth

It is 20 years since my last baby, so I am now middle-aged with three giant adult sons (all well over 6ft and weighing more than 13 stone each!). My body is on a sloping downward turn in every way. My once firm, athletic and toned flesh is now wobblier, less firm and frankly, often disappointing compared to what it used to be able to do.

Photo of Jenny and her three sons

Watching my children grow

It amazes me still that my three giants, one of which is 6’4’’, fitted inside me during pregnancy. His once tiny hand, which wrapped around my thumb, is now large enough to take both of my hands. I marvel at this fact, and sometimes, me and this particularly big son stare at each other in wonder at how this happened.

These little (ish) babies, who were once completely dependent on me, are now fully grown, bigger than their 10lb start in life and independent of me. One of them is expecting the next generation with his wife. My daughter-in-law’s body is now going through the same journey as mine did 20 years ago, but now with my own son watching in awe (and slight panic) as her slim body swells joyfully, following that age-old path.

This sacrificial maternal journey is one of the extremes; on the one hand, my body and time will never be the same again, but on the other hand, the gain of pride and amazement at being able to produce three giants for this world (in all senses of the word) is impossible to put into words. My body truly is a ‘trophy’.

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