I waited a long time to be a mother—not because we tried for a long time, but because my husband and I were waiting for the right moment. I'd known for a long time that I wanted to be a mother, so when the time came, I couldn't wait to be pregnant...or so I thought.
I read so many books about pregnancy, but something they never told me to expect was to feel so uncomfortable in my own skin. I never imagined that pregnancy would force me to confront my vanity so intensely; I just assumed I'd feel like a maternal goddess, utterly satisfied with my miraculous ability to harbor life within me. I had body image issues before I became pregnant and as it turned out, those issues didn't just disappear once I knew I was expecting my twins. I never got used to my changing shape, doing a double take after passing my reflection in the window or mirror.
And yes, I felt awful for feeling awful about myself. I was horrified that I couldn't get past the physical changes that were happening to my pregnant self. Each time I had an ultrasound, I was amazed and overjoyed about my two little jumping beans, yet somehow, I still felt betrayed by my body. Mentally, I had completely separated my babymaking part of me from my physical appearance.
But in the end, I know I'm incredibly fortunate to have had a mostly healthy pregnancy and to have given birth to two healthy children who make me smile every day. I'm constantly amazed that, after years of judgment and criticism, my body has repaid me with these two beautiful blessings, and the strength to nourish them from my body since they were born.
Mercedes Donis lives in Scotland with her husband and twins. She likes to read and eat chocolate cake-in-a-mug. She is the author of Twin Manibreasto: A Success Story of Milk & Multiples, and blogs at Project ProcrastiNOT.