On those days where you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, your partner’s warm smile and encouraging words can be all that you need to push through. When Brenda LeSage couldn’t cope with the many changes in her body during pregnancy and after giving birth, she saw a side of her husband that she didn’t expect.
“Even before we were married, my husband and I were extremely comfortable with each other. All the shyness typically felt at the start of a relationship never existed for us,” the woman from Wichita Falls, Texas wrote for Love What Matters. “We told each other everything. We acted silly in front of each other with no embarrassment.”
The couple was always at ease with each other and Brenda added, “On the nights we had the house to ourselves (my daughter spent half her time with her dad) and I had taken a shower, I would open the door to the bathroom to let the steam escape. My husband knew that while I dried my hair or slathered on moisturizer, I was perfectly comfortable with him coming to the entrance of the bathroom to continue a conversation or tell me about what I had missed in the show he was watching. I never had an issue with him seeing my body in the full light, as I did unsexy things like brush my teeth.”
The couple, head-over-heels in love, got married on St. Patrick’s Day 2018. The two of them already had daughters from their previous relationships and together, the four of them became a happy family, with a fifth member soon coming on the way.
After Brenda got pregnant with their son, she “painfully struggled to carry” the extra weight of over 50 pounds till she gave birth on June 27, 2019 to her baby boy, who weighed almost 10 pounds at birth.
“Postpartum was relatively easy and we found our rhythm with a new baby in the house. I was breastfeeding every two hours and surviving on little to no sleep, as it is for every new parent. All that baby weight was steadily coming off. Until all of a sudden, it wasn’t,” the 33-year-old mother wrote. “About two months after he was born, that number on the scale got stuck 25-30 pounds more than my goal weight and has continued to stay there.”
Even though she knew she needn’t put so much pressure on herself when she wasn’t even four months into postpartum. But she admitted, “For the first time in many years, I became very self-conscious.”
Because of the growing insecurities of her body, she stopped doing the things she used to feel comfortable with around her husband. “My boobs are huge and heavy. My stomach is no longer flat. My butt has stretch marks that have not yet faded. My legs are chunky. Hell, even my arms have gotten bigger. I have never had that happen before!” she wrote. “I stopped opening the door to the bathroom after my showers.”
However, Brenda was overwhelmed to see how her husband’s affection towards her didn’t fade at all. “I would tearfully express my concerns to him, worrying he would love me differently because my body was so different. I told him I didn’t feel like myself. He never faltered,” Brenda said. “I started trying to exercise and quickly became frustrated. I was so out of shape; I would be tired and sore for days after an attempt. It will get better, keep going, he would reassure me. He likes that I have more curves now.”
Along with his constantly reassuring words, he also showers her with physical gestures, too. The mother added, “A couple of weeks ago I put on jeans for the first time at the first hint of fall. He followed me to my car and kissed me over and over, telling me how good I looked.”
Although she still doesn’t feel completely like herself yet, she started doing the little things she used to do like “opening the door to the bathroom”.
“More than once he has walked by, to put our son to bed, or to come finish a conversation like we used to, and he would pause,” Brenda said. “He was looking at my new body in full light. ‘Rawr,’ he’d exclaim, flicking his eyebrows up and down.”
With time and exercise, she hopes to love her body completely again. But for the time being, her husband is able to put a smile on her face and makes her forget her worries about her body.
“I know we don’t love each other based on how we look. It’s about how we treat each other, how we love our family, and how we can talk about anything,” Brenda went on to say. “We’re proud to add a happy, healthy son to our family. To both of us, that is more important than what a body looks like. I’m lucky to have found someone that I will always be able to open the door for.”