What Having Four Kids (Including Twins) Has Done To My Body And My Confidence

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Isn’t it incredible what the human body can do?  Or better yet, what a woman’s body can do?  I have had four children, including twins, in the span of five years.  Yes, my body did that!  Today our youngest, Mia and Everly, are seven months old and I am trying to wake up every morning to work out before everyone else is up.  Most days I succeed and I am actually starting to see my body come back.  But it has been through a war.

Since I was young I struggled with my weight, always being a little on the heavy side.  I would tend to compensate with my bubbly personality and spend a lot of time on my hair and makeup.  Finally, while in college, I reached my goal weight by working out and dieting A LOT.  Back then my sole purpose was to turn heads.  I know, that’s pretty shallow, but it’s true.  I was already dating my now husband Mike, and knew that he would love me whatever size I was, but I still craved walking into a room and having all eyes on me.  collage 3

Although my weight fluctuated, I knew tricks on how to lose 10 pounds scarily fast, especially for our wedding and honeymoon.  I wouldn’t say I ever had an eating disorder, but I know that my weight control was coming from a place where I felt I had to punish my body. collage 4

Getting pregnant and watching my belly grow while expecting our first two kids was so exciting and I was able to drop almost every one of those 50 lbs I gained with each pregnancy… but again it was coming from this negative and frustrating place.collage 6

When I found out I was expecting twins I couldn’t wrap my mind around how enormous I was going to get.  I was already well known for having huge basketball size bellies whenever I was pregnant, but growing two babies at once???  To be honest, I was kind of freaking out about it.  collage 5I finally made the decision that I would disassociate my body from my mind during my twin pregnancy and think of my body as a vessel.  Guess what… that worked!  In-fact anytime I’d start panicking about my size I would say to myself “you are a vessel, you are a vessel”.  It became my mantra.

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I must thank Mike for taking these gems.

Although I coped with my size and weight gain really well during my twin pregnancy, after having my girls was a different story.  My postpartum body was literally bruised and battered.  My distracting enormous but adorable baby bump had been deflated and I was left with mush, bruising, swollen ankles and healing from a c-section.  I had this sadness for my body.  I felt so badly for it with the state it was in and at the same time was so grateful for what it had done.  It had safely created two humans and carried them for 37 weeks and 4 days.  It had been touch and go at times but my body did it!collage 7

I made the decision to be kind to my body from now on.  Eat healthy foods, indulge here and there and not beat myself up about it.  I also wanted to get in shape again, especially knowing I was finished having children.  I would take my time.  But this time is different.  I have simple goals that are for me and no one else.  I want to be strong.  I am over hurting my back when I pick up a baby.  I want to be flexible.  No more pulling my neck while reaching for a pacifier that has fallen under a crib.  I want to go to my closet and feel good in whatever I put on.  No more pulling at waistlines and being limited to leggings (although I will never entirely give up my leggings).  collage 10I get it, I am the thirty-something mom now with four kids and I am really proud of that.  I am so much more confident with my body than I ever have been before.  Anytime I start doubting my new curves or war wounds I look around the room and ask myself, how many other people in this room grew two people inside their body at once?collage 9

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134 thoughts on “What Having Four Kids (Including Twins) Has Done To My Body And My Confidence”

  1. Love this post. Your honesty is refreshing! And you look beautiful at every stage in your adult life. The whole time I was reading this I was thinking…WOW, not only is it amazing what the female body can do, but look how quickly it changes in just a matter of months! You look incredible (!) and you should be so proud of your hard work and sensible approach to getting your health back. I’ve been taking a slow approach with getting back into fitness too…like you, I’m really over the extreme dieting/exercise of years past! yay for progress 🙂

    1. Hope this gets to Joanna.
      Just read your story from the Today show this morning on line. So many wonderful things woman are doing today after birth and especially with multiples. I myself gave birth to triplets back in 1999 and we woman weren’t blogging then and didn’t have facebook. Now there are so many “shares” and stories put in print that you can all share. It’s really wonderful. I myself was a woman in that 125lb catagory and when I gave birth to Olivia, Kyle and Steven at 34.5 weeks I was a healthy 205Lbs. Doctor said it was time. Many things go on between delivery and waking up a few hours later as I’m sure you know. But please remember, it’s all worth it. You will be so busy running here and running there the body will get back into shape because you will need it to. You look like you’ve always taken care of yourself and that’s half the battle. I remember everything about when my babies were 7 mos. old. May not have been in the best shape physically but I guess my husband and I did something right because now they are all beautiful at 15 years old and Mom and Dad are just fine. Mom back in her 125 range and Dad looks like he never gains weight! Enjoy every moment Joanna. Your blessed and healthy and so are your children. 🙂
      Sincerely,
      Coleen Grenier

    2. I have had a hard time with my body image as I was very overweight my whole life up till March 2009. I was fortunate enough to qualify for a surgical procedure to help me loose weight. I lost approximately 150 lbs and have kept the weight off. I’m not trying to say my experience is worse by no means I don’t want people taking this the wrong way but at least women who have had the beautiful miracle of giving birth have their children as a result of of your body changing. I cannot say the same, sadly. I’m not sure if mothers suffer from this or not but after losing all my weight I am left a lot of sagging skin. No matter how much I work out I can’t get ride of this excess skin, which very discouraging. I was denied by OHIP for coverage for surgery to have excess skin removed, apparently my skin would have to hang below my vagina in order for them to consider pay for surgery. I could go on and on about this subject but I will restrain myself. I applaud and bow down to all your blessed women who are mothers and are having a hard time with their body image. Be proud mamas of the amazing ” power” you have in creating a life. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!

      1. I have had two children and both via c-section, the first time my skin bounced back alright with my weight loss, but the second birth my skin did not bounce back, I too struggle with having excess skin after the success of weight loss, hanging from my belly button to my incision. I too do not qualify for removal of this skin. but you know what, the only person it bothers is me. My husband reminds me how beautiful I am when I’m being critical of myself and when he catches me pulling at the skin not saying a word he tells me, “Stop it, quit being mean. You’re beautiful.” I never thought that I was being mean, I thought that was reserved for something a person did to something or someone else! but he’s right. I would never want to make someone feel the way I make myself feel. I’ve struggled with my body changes for a few years now, but with healthy diet changes and exercise, I am becoming the woman I have always wanted to be. strong, self assured and healthy. my mother wasn’t a healthy role model, she hated her body and was quick to put herself down. I used to do the same, sometimes still do. but having a daughter of my own has made me want to change all that. what she sees is what she learns and I want is for her to be strong, self assured and healthy, so I have to as well. congrats on such a great weight loss, that is an enormous feat, get used to your new body again and learn to love it, celebrate it.

  2. I’m glad to see I’m not alone! I carried twins for 37 weeks and 4 days. I’m currently 8 months postpartum. My belly looks a lot like yours at 7 months and also looked similar at the 2 month mark. I was annoyed with people asking me when I was due, even when out with twins. Now though I’m starting to see results, and feeling much better!

    1. Congrats on your twins Jessica! Isn’t it nice being on the other side of a twin pregnancy? Now time for us!

      1. I think you are so inspiring and we don’t respect our bodies enough as women. I think you look fabulous! I have struggled with my weight my whole life and when I got pregnant it was much worse. Until recently I was introduced to a cleansing system that rids toxins, and help me shed the few pounds I had left. It was different than all the other programs because it was giving me natural healthy nutritious ingredients my body was missing. I think that all women are beautiful but YOU must think that as well and it’s all about how you feel inside and out. The best part about my journet so far is i sleep so much better, and have so much natural energy This system truly changed my life!! If interested let me know!! Your story is beautiful! !!

    2. im sure you look beautiful you have life and that’s something to be so very proud of. Every woman’s body is different, but that doesn’t matter you gave the greatest gift to your child and I wish you nothing but the best.

  3. I could have written this post! I also have four children including twin girls. My girls turned 7 months yesterday. I feel like I am in exactly your shoes. Trying to get back to a healthy state and feel strong and in shape, but I’m embracing the changes that have come with growing and birthing four people. Glad I’m not alone. 🙂 Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  4. Reading this felt like reading my own story! I had my two older kids and now have 2 1/2 month old twins. And wow. What your body goes through to carry and birth twins is crazy. I also had a c section and everything about it was rough. I am just now feeling like I can finally say I don’t hurt anymore. But I am so far from fitting into my skinny jeans I was wearing just a year ago, and I’m not gonna lie, with spring and summer just around the corner it’s discouraging. I’m trying to be positive and realistic but I’ve always been thin and I think bouncing back quickly like I did with my first two isn’t likely, not only because it was twins and all the extra stretching my body did but also that I am older now. I want to start exercising again, in fact I crave it, but I am so exhausted and have no idea when I would even fit it in at this point. Anyway, thanks for writing your story. It reminded me that I am not alone, and was nice to hear someone else has gone through just what I have!

    1. Congrats on your twins Lindsay and thank you! Don’t forget that at 2 1/2 months you are just getting out of the really early newborn stage so don’t forget to give yourself a break. I figure it took 9 months to grow to and get that big so I am giving myself 18 months to get my body back.

      1. Just wanted to thank you for your honest and insightful post. I think your comment about giving yourself 18 months to get your body back is helpful because it’s realistic and attainable. There’s a lot of focus and energy on the new baby (or babies!) and it does take time to recover. Thanks for sharing.

    2. I have a question for you ladies. When you say you bounced back from your first 2 pregnancies, did you have a c section for them as well? I am having my first child and have always been thin as well, I am wondering if it is a lot harder to get back to your original weight with a c-section, or if it is roughly the same as natural childbirth.

      1. I went through both a c-section (first birth) and vaginal deliveries ( second and third births) and I have to say it’s difficult either way. I’ve always struggled with my weight and gained alot of weight with all my pregnancies and as I got older it was more difficult to get down to my prepregnancy weight. I’m now in my 50s and am trying to eat healthy because I know our health comes from what we eat and how healthy our guts are. Keep eating healthy and exercising and it will change your life not just your body.

  5. I had to have a little smile while reading your story – I too had four children, the first were twins and the other two were just a year apart, I had 4 boys under three years old! Just four weeks after delivering the twins (together they weighed 6kg) I was back to my normal weight, probably because I was constantly busy, and luckily naturally slim, but my tummy was a disaster area as the skin was so stretched, and when the kids were older I had a tummy tuck done, best decision ever! There are some body changes that just cannot be reversed by changing the eating pattern, I am so grateful that I have never had to diet, although I do eat healthily and get loads of exercise.

  6. I loved reading your story. I am also a mother of four including twins. I carried my twins to 37 weeks and 3 days. They are now 7 months old. I have been working out and eating healthy. I’m trying to loose just a few more pounds, but I do feel great about my body. It is nice to know that I am not alone out there, and there are other mothers who go through the same things in life. Keep up the good work! You look amazing!

  7. I love this!!!
    I have identical twins that are 2.5. I was a size 0 when I got pregnant and I was in total shock when they said I’d be having 2 babies at the same time!
    I had to wear belly bands after I had the boys because it ripped all my stomach muscles. I also used those wraps from It Works to help tighten all my extra skin.
    I absolutely love my boys but they sure did a number on my body. 🙂

  8. THANK YOU for this post!! I have given birth to five kids . Twins at the end that were 7 and 8 lbs. some of my other pregnancies I gained over 100 pounds. I am back down to a healthy weight, but my skin is SO saggy – especially around my tummy. I work out regularly, but my stomach is still “poochy” and it is frustrating. It is nice to know that I’m not alone. However, like all you lovely ladies, I keep trying to remember that my body made 5 healthy people and that our twins were full term and healthy.

    1. Hi, I congratulate you on your 5 babies!! I have 4 boys, no twins, all 2 years appart. It’s amazing what our bodies can go through & what it looks like after it’s all over… My baby is 18months & I could never get that saggy pooch to go away. I found an amazing product that is just a cream, it has made a HUGE difference!!! I had to wait until I was done nursing before I could use it… Check it out, people everywhere are having amazing results… It’s called NeriumFirm & will give you back your confidence 🙂
      http://Www.tracie.nerium.com

  9. I have only grown one human, and that was 11 years ago. Please don’t hate me for my 5’3″, size 2 body. We all have our own story….

  10. This spoke to me, thank you! I was always encouraged to be fit but thin (I modeled and was a dancer). However, I am now pregnant for the first time with twins and at just 14 weeks, I am measuring 22.5 already. I have been able to focus on growing my babies, but would be lying if I said I didn’t worry about what will be left at the end. So thank you for this!

  11. I love reading all these comments! It’s amazing how alike we can be to so many people, and not realize it until a story or something brings us all together! I have a 3 year old daughter, twin girls that will be 2 this month, and I’m currently pregnant with girl #4!!! To make it a bigger coincidence, I also carried my twins to 37 weeks, 3 days! (: I’m at a point right now where I’m tired of being pregnant, and I really want to be able to focus on me – getting healthy and thin again. I so often forget to just appreciate what my body can do – it really is amazing being able to grow a little human!! I need to slow down and relish this experience while it lasts, as it will most likely be my last. I love the attitude you’ve been able to take towards your body…. and knowing that being skinny doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy… you have to treat yourself well if you want to experience yourself at your best. But no matter how we look, we are beautiful, amazing women! Thank you, Joanna, for your blog. You are truly inspirational!

  12. thanks for the great encouragement! I also had twins on my third pregnancy. I also get up super early to workout before every one else is up

  13. Oh ladies, I feel like I have some soul sisters (or moms). I have 4 children (in 5 years), the last 2 being twins that I proudly carried to 37 weeks, 3 days. With my twins I had a c-section. I am 2 years out and weight (and time for myself and keeping up) has been a struggle. I don’t feel like I have energy or time (or energy). I am maintaining, but maintaining an unhealthy weight (sometimes I just have to celebrate that I have gone through 2 “twin years” and maintained). I make small goals, and usually start them new again each week. It is slow, I don’t love my body, but I am determined to get there. One. Slow. Step. At. A. Time.

  14. Thank you so much for your very real account of your experience. I’m 30-something weeks into my second pregnancy and am struggling a little bit with how much more difficult things have been this time around. I’m eagerly anticipating the arrival of my second little girl, but I’m also nervous about the recovery that will come after. I’ll have to bookmark this post and come back for attitude inspiration. Thanks!

  15. First of all, thank you for your honesty and letting us into such a personal point in our lives. I just had my first baby (a little girl!) this past January through a required C-Section. Like you, I was very proud of my body and the looks I got when entering a room. Now, I have “the pootch” that I don’t know how to at least lose a little. I know I won’t have my flat tummy back, but to at least get the “jiggle” under control would be great. My husband, of course, says I look fine and that we have a beautiful and healthy girl out of it (which I completely understand). I feel, though, I need to do this for myself and my self esteem. Again, I know it sounds selfish, but is it wrong to do things for ourselves after 9 months of dedication to our little ones? If you don’t mind sharing, what exercises have you been doing after your twins? I know my thigh stretch marks may never lighten up, but if I can get my tummy to where I can at least wear some of my old clothes without buying a whole new wardrobe would be great! Thank you again for sharing your story! It really means a lot!

  16. Thanks for your openness and honesty. I also had two children and then twins for baby #3 and #4 – carrying them 38.5 weeks. I am four months postpartum and am having the same concerns about my body. It’s great to know that not everyone bounces back like they do in Hollywood. 🙂 I don’t need to become a bikini-wearer again but I would like to not look pregnant the rest of my life. I’m trying to be patient and appreciate that I have four beautiful children, even if it meant putting my midsection through A LOT of wear and tear.

    Best wishes to you and the other mamas reading this!

  17. You have a great story! It does get easier as time goes by. I myself had 5 in 5 years with twins at the end of it. The c-section and all. Very hard stuff. I love how positive you are! My twins are nearly 5 and I am still trying to accept my mama body. Which really isn’t bad persay, but clothes just fit a little funny unlike before the kids.

  18. I loved reading your story. Especially because I have been through the exact same thing. The only difference is that I never struggled with my weight before my babies, but I was always a size 0 to 1. I had my first daughter in July 2011, my son February 2013 and identical twin girls December 2013! All c sections! I felt very depressed for a while about my body and was so discouraged about what it use to look like to what it did look like. I am 27 years old so I felt even more sad because many of my friends are still single and no kids so they be laying on the beach in their little bikinis while I felt like a whale with 4 kids under 3. It was a battle physically and mentally. I had to change myself for my kids to be able to see mommy happy so they will be happy. I found Beachbody and started eating better and working out everyday. Piyo and 21 Day Fix. From August to now I have lost 35lbs and over 17 inches. I wear a size 2 ! Nobody believes when I say I have 4 kids, which is an amazing feeling! I am starting to love my body again and I just feel better inside. I have started my Master’s program and hope to open a gym in the near future. I have a passion to help mothers that have gone through an experience such as ours. Keep up the great work and I highly recommend beachbody and drinking shakeology. Anyone can email me if interested. 🙂

  19. You are sooooo brave and beautiful! This may be random, but have you heard of FitMom? Google it. They’re looking for amazing moms like you 🙂

  20. Great description of your process!
    As your children grow and the physical demands change, you might find that your body gets even better and more resilient if you begin the learn and do MELT. It is a self massage technique that rehydrates your connective tissue and rebalances your nervous system. After pushing
    And carrying small children, you most likely
    Need something to restore your imbalances
    That come from the sheer physical strain of mothering.

  21. What a great read! I struggled with my weight for 10 years and finally got to a healthy weight just 4mo before God blessed us with twins. 22mo post partum and I’m *almost* that same weight, but I wear shorts and sleeveless shirts that I’d never wear before. Having carried twins has made me more confident to be me.

  22. I have twins I carried till 39w2d and then had 2 more singletons, so I had 4 babies in 5 years too. I thought after twins I couldn’t get any more stretch marks…totally wrong. 😉 I am still trying to find my post-baby body groove too, and my youngest is 2.5 now! Thanks for sharing to everyone here. Moms and their bodies are amazing in all shapes and sizes!

  23. Somehow I am crying and smiling and applauding all at once with your post. I had my fourth baby in May of last year. I have not had any twins, but I am in my 30’s. I have been killing myself for months trying to lose the 50+ pounds I gained with my last baby. I desperately want to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and I am just shy of 15 pounds away from that. Your post is inspiring and I am going to follow you on IG as motivation. I want to be like you–you’re right–we grew these magnificent creatures in our bodies–we have a reason to be patient with ourselves. Go girl!!!

  24. I have never commented on a blog post before. Ever. But i just had to say…You and I are living parallel lives! I feel like i could have written this EXACT post. From the weight history to the four children ending in twins in a relatively short period of time (4 years for me) to our ages (I’m about to turn 31). It’s eerie really. In any case, what i suppose I’m saying is, I feel you. I really do. Although I won’t be waking up early to work out any time soon, good for you!

  25. Beautiful story! Thank you so much for your honesty. You and I have a very similar background story, but I didn’t lose the baby weight after each one. I finally dropped 60 of 70 lbs gained through having 3 kids in 3 years (all single births), and I was strong and confident. Now I am pregnant with my 4th, and it is so hard to cope with the changes I once celebrated. I know I need to gain weight, but seeing those numbers on the scale and struggling to find something that makes my belly look cute without showing my growing love handles is impossible. I promise myself to lose the weight again, but the struggle is real. I am a vessel! I am a vessel! I am a vessel!

  26. thanks so much for sharing your story! I am also a twin mama, and I really struggled with the changes my body has had to go through. But you’re right- how many other people have grown two babies at once? I should appreciate my body for the amazing thing that it did.

  27. love this! I also had 4 kids in 5 years haha, but no twins 🙂 My youngest is 6 months and I am in the sand mindset you are. I want to be strong and healthy and love me. Congrats on your beautiful family!

  28. Thank you for this post. It’s so reassuring to know that other women are facing the same challenges as me. I also carried twins until 37 weeks. They were our first and today they celebrate their 6th birthday!! I have 2 other children and pregnant with our fifth. Even though I have always lost all my baby weight between pregnancies my body does not look like it did before babies. And I’m ok with that. My kids are healthy and happy. And I sneak in an occasional run each week. Life is good.

  29. thanks so much for this. I stumbled on your article through a fb post. I am 7 months post twin pregnancy. I too try to work out before everyone wakes up. Of course, if they have in fact slept through the night! I always complain to my husband that it’s been 7 months and I STILL look like this (jiggly belly!!!) he always reminds me that’s it has ONLY been 7 months, two of which were time spent recovering from a c-section.
    After reading your article, it was a dose of reality that I needed to hear from a fellow twin mom! So thanks for the reality dose and reminding me that in time, we will all get back to where we want to be. And honestly, if we don’t, that’s okay too! All that matters is being healthy and happy!

  30. I totally identify with this. I also gave birth to four kids, including a set of twins. Even when I’m at my most fit I still have a soft, lumpy, stretch-marked covered belly. My twins are 11 now and I still struggle with how my stomach and thighs look. You reminded me that it is an incredible thing to be able to carry and nourish a life, let alone two lives, in our bodies. Thank you for that. We are incredibly blessed, aren’t we? 🙂

  31. i love this story. I have had 7 children in 10 years including twins and my body is gone!! I struggle with depression because I feel horrible about myself it’s a hard thought to overcome. Glad u were able to work through it! My children r 10,9,8,6,2 and 7 month old twins! My oldest r all one year apart almost to the day same month and week for their birthdays. So my body never had time to recover either. And I am only 32…..

  32. Wow! This is my story (almost) to a T. I have had 5 kids in 4 years…two full term spontaneous twin pregnancies. My second set is just 5 months and I’m almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I beat myself up daily for not being there already and feeling dismayed at my very stretched loose skin. This is such an amazing reminder that my body may not *look* like I want it to, but it’s done some bad ass stuff. 🙂 And still does every day…HELLO, I take care of 5 kids 5 and under and still squeeze in a 5K every day. Thank you for this! I’m sure I’ll read it regularly as a reminder to myself.

  33. Before kids, I maintained 125lbs. I think 170lbs was my non-pregnant peak. Now, 8 years later after 1 son, followed by twins 18 months later (38w2d -5’10 & 5’1″), I am at 135lbs. Happy here because now I have curves lol!

    During pregnancy, my sister says I lost my brain & couldn’t think properly. I think this is true because my body had to undergo such a transition. Found out after twin birth I have a deformed spine too! Only 8 years later, can I look at myself in terms of personal & physical healing. Things— bones, muscles, & joints are out of place & often hurt. Doctors, yoga, spiritual growth, and my kiddos get me through. Yes, it was worth it, and if I had to do it all over again, I would.

  34. You are awesome!! #2 is 10 months now, and I am in my second month of getting my body back. Yes, it’s difficult and takes a TON of willpower to get up so early. No, I’ll never be a size six again, but I’m (finally) ok with that. As long as I’m healthy and feel good about looking in the mirror, then I’ll be happy. Best of luck in the rest of your journey.

  35. I love this! I can’t tell you how amazing it was to come across this! We also have 4 kids including twins: 8, 4 and 2 year old twins all boys, and I lost 50 lbs before I got pregnant with the twins and have had such a hard time with my post twins body. I am trying to be more active and eat better foods, but I love your thoughts about how many others have grown 2 babies at the same time! It really takes a toll on your body! 4 months after I had my twins I had to have my appendix out which pushed my workout goals back even further and my self esteem was in the toilet. But I’m trying to be nicer to myself and make lifelong healthy changes, not try to kill myself to make it happen fast!
    Thank you! ❤️

  36. You inspire me so much to have a better outlook on my post baby body! I am a mom of twins also, they will be 2 next month. We share similar insecurities on our pre-baby and post-baby bodies. Thank you for sharing this. You are so beautiful!

  37. I loved reading your life story. I as well have four children, twins (girls 9), Boy (6), and a boy (3). In each pregancy it was hard to lose the weight, I lost the twins weight by hard work, and as well as my middle child. The only one I am struggling to lose now is my 3 year old’s weight he left on me after leaving his warming home. 😉 I am slowly exercising and trying to do everything to get back in shape. Is there any special exericse and diet that you did to lose the Mummy Tummy? I am eating smaller portions and only drinking water now (1 month in to eating right) and exercising (have plantar fasciitis in my feet) so it has been a hard think to do to run with and all. I hope to look as good as you do in the months to follow. Inspiring!

  38. thank you for sharing! I have always struggled with my weight. It’s nice to have someone feel the same way. I am also a 30 something year old mom of four, with my youngest being twins too! Can’t wait to follow your blog!

  39. Thank you for this, I needed some encouraging words! My twins are almost 15 months old, and I feel like I will never get my body even REMOTLY close to what it was. I’m still hanging onto 20 lbs that I just can’t seem to lose.

  40. I think you look great for having 7 month old twin! Even for not having twins. I also had four five and under with the youngest being twins. In my experience time is one of the most important factors to getting your body close to back to what it was. I figure if it takes nine month to gain that weight I should give myself at least that long to get it off. At 7 months your body is still recovering and needs rest because four kids is exhausting, but you will totally meet your goal weight. My twins just turned one and once they started walking I didn’t even have to try and squeeze in exercise because Just chasing them around keeps me super active. Good luck with everything !

  41. I so admire your positivity! And the determination you have to get up in the morning to work out-wow! I’m 34 and have just had twins (7 months on 19th March) and also have a 2 1/2 year old daughter so basically I’ve had 3 kids in 3 years! I was very lucky in both pregnancies not to put weight on anywhere but my belly, in fact, I think I lost weight everywhere else carrying the twins as it was such a physical challenge every day for the last 2 months! I’m really struggling to look after myself at eat right- exercise is a distant memory. The only thing I manage to do is walk. Some days I go for 6 hours without eating anything as I haven’t had chance so then when I do eat I eat all the wrong things- chocolate and high sugar things. I’m hoping when the weather gets nicer here (UK) I’ll get out a lot more! Thanks for showing me it can be done and I think you’re doing amazing!

  42. I love reading all the comments with ‘me toooo’, cause, well, me too. Four kids in six years, the last being twins that were almost 7lbs each. Until they were about 2.5 (when they stopped nursing) I was just so zonked I couldn’t even think about exercising, which to be honest I think was my body’s way of saying not to push the amazing things it can do 😉 Love the ‘I am a vessel’, I often remind myself that there are seasons of life, and this is one of them.

  43. I hear ya, I am also the mother of four, had 2 , then twins, I am now 41 years old an my oldest is 16, then second is almost 14 and my twins are 11, all I can say it is amazing what a body can go through and bounce back, I am 5 feet tall and at 7.5 months my girth was 53 inches, currently I am a size 7 and weigh 130 lbs and have never been happier with the way my body looks, just like wine things get better with age, life has it’s up’s and downs, be proud of who you have become… One hella of a good mom, my kids are my motivation to stay active, no matter how may children you have had your a MOM!!! Be proud of who you are , and what you have become, I am happy who I have become and the extra curves are a bonus!!!

  44. your story is my story. 4 kids in 5 years, twins the last and I was in my late thirties. Now 40 with 3 year old twins I am sad that I’m still struggling to get back to my normal weight. Thank you for putting it in perspective. I did grow 2 babies at once. My body did an amazing thing.

  45. I completely understand your story. I am working on our fourth one right now and I always gained 40-50 lbs with each pregnancy. My Ob/gyn recently wrote a book about ob nutrition. It goes from early pregnancy to the postpartum maintenance phase. It’s written out very easy to understand. I started it when my son was 6mos old and I have lost 60lbs over the course of the year. It isn’t a fad, it’s just clean eating! I am going to be so much healthier this go around! The website is Obnutritionalsystems.com and the book is called “pregnancy 911-the weight is over!” The book is available on the website or Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com. It works for men women and children!

  46. I also have twins! I carried my girls 37 weeks 3 days. I am only 5 ft tall and seriously felt like a freakshow with the way people stared at me after about 24 wks. My first daughter is 3 years 3 months older and i had an autoimmune response when carrying her which caused 75% of my body to be covered in hives leaving me scarred. The twins are just about 2 1/2 now and I am training for a half marathon with my air force sister. Flappy tummy and all. When i feel like other people think i am gross i just say to myself they can have three kids the same way mine went then we can talk.

  47. OMG I love this story!! I so understand the struggle!! My set of twin boys were born at 35 weeks and they are now almost 6!! Almost two years after my twins were born I had one more boy!! I thought I would never loose this baby weight!! Everyone kept saying OMG you look amazing! You just gave birth to three kids in less than two years!! But now my baby is 4 and I am just realizing I do look fine!! I was a a mental thing!!! It’s truely amazing how a mothers body can change for something so wonderful!!!! I tell every mom don’t give up u will get your body back!!!

  48. 4 kids–single births– (7#11oz, then 8#7oz, then 10#2oz, THEN 11#8oz)

    My body is amazing. And it looks pretty good for the two large babies at the end. And if I am ever discouraged about the stress marks or the saggy, baggy skin…my heart thinks of my sisters who, for whatever reason, will not have the opportunity to physically bear children. I know they would trade their perfect skin for a few stretch marks.

  49. Great post, great attitude. You’re doing well and you have the best prize to show for all your efforts! Wonderful healthy children! Our newest of 7 grandchildren are 16mo old boy/girl twins. We were amazed our petite daughter carried these 2 all the way to just 10 day shy of their due date. With 6yr & 4yr old brothers in addition to the twins, fitting in work-out times is tough for her. Lots of exercise has to be worked into an activity with the kids. She’s very good at this.
    I wish you continued success!

  50. Your story inspires me to have patience on this post journey with my body. I had my son three weeks ago and after having him I still tipped the scale at 206 lbs. Coming from a skinny girl never ever had a roll til I got pregnant…. I’ve been freaking out. Especially because I had gestional diabetes I just keep thinking ” god if I don’t get this weight off like yesterday I’m going to have diabetes for the rest of my life.” I know that not exactly the truth. So reading your article and seeing your months after photos really put things in perspective for me. Thank you 🙂

  51. This was so refreshing to read! I found out three weeks ago that I’m expecting twins! We are both excited and nervous! I’m glad to read that someone else had the same thought process as me- “I am going to be SO huge!” and struggled with it as well. I love your mantra, and I’m going to try it myself! Thank you!

  52. You look awesome! I am not married or a mom, but I found your story so refreshing and real and amazing. You are a great writer.

  53. Girl, my body looked like yours 2 months post twins after having just ONE baby.. except I am covered in stretch marks. You already have a husband who will love you no matter your size, I am a single mom because I put my trust in someone and he let me down completely. You’re beautiful and have nothing to worry about, but I understand your struggle. Honestly I don’t think there is one single woman out there who doesn’t secretly struggle with her body in some way or another. Your story is very inspiring and I enjoy reading it. Thank you for sharing.

  54. Love this! My girls at 6 and 4 and my twin boys are 2 in April! I am right there with you. I am pre baby weight(154) but still have so much skin(no stretch marks at least) but so proud of what I have and what I have become. It is amazing what we go through to have babies and even more amazing how we bounce back. I work out 5 days a week and am stronger than I was before those boys. And today I am wearing a bikini on the beach and not caring at all about the extra belly skin I still have 🙂 feeling great and more blessed than ever!

  55. You and your kids are beautiful. And 7 months postpartum is such a short time! Be patient. It sometimes takes years, but things do change–especially your mind, as you so wonderfully stated. My first set of twins will be 20 this fall. My second set just turned 2. And I have two singles in the middle just for fun. I’m getting older, but I like my body more all the time. (Yay for pilates and perspective!)

  56. This is so timely. I am 12 weeks out with number 4 and 5 twins. I stepped on the scale today and felt so discouraged. I must remember my body just did something amazing and It will take time. Thanks for being honest with this post.

    1. Keep your eyes on the prize (not your FRIES! lol) Be not discouraged. You survived it! You gave birth to 5 beautiful (healthy?) children. Now the REALLY hard part ~ raising them. I am the eldest of 5. When I was 6, my brother was 4, my other brother was 2, and mom had twins – a boy and a girl. It was probably most difficult on ME, the firstborn. At 6 years old I needed to grow up awfully fast to be my mom’s helper. Please, PLEASE be sure to give love, attention and LOTS of encouragement to your older “helper(s.)” It will go a long way towards their healthy emotional development. And the future of your relationship depends on it. 😉

  57. I, too, could have written this blog BUT I have never “struggled” with my weight. I returned to pre-baby weight quickly after baby 1 (vag delivery) but had to work harder (in ways I will not admit to my daughters) after baby 2 (C-section.) But after my twins (baby A vag and baby B section!) it took 6-7 years for me to get my head above water long enough to form a plan and make goals. I could only dream about exercising once a week or so but then life was constant movement,with 4 kids 5 and under. But as much as this seems to matter now, with only my last 2 as teenagers , it is minor compared to what lies ahead in joy and sometimes heartache as our children grow up. So, enjoy the ride and do not let your weight determine your value. You are so much more than that:)

  58. I can totally relate to you! I had my first child in 2007 and gained 40 pounds. I had a huge belly. I lost the weight and had the lose skin but I felt pretty confident. Then I got pregnant with twins. I did the same as you and tried not to think about how large I was getting and think about the babies health. My doctor told me I would probably go to 36 weeks but my little ones stayed in until 1 day shy of 39 weeks! I am only 5 feet tall so, you can imagine the size I was. I wanted to tell you that you look really great! I tried everything to get my belly smaller but it just only got so small then stopped. I ended up having a tummy tuck because my stomach muscles were extremely seperated all the way to the top of my abdominal . This was in addition to the skin had. It was definately worth it if that is something you decide to do. I think you look really good in comparison to what I looked like. Thank you for sharing your story.

  59. You go girl! Your are beautiful and your body created four miracles. My mom told me my stretch marks were badges of honor.

  60. Can I just THANK YOU and give u a virtual hug for this. I as well have birth 7 months ago and am trying to get my physical self back. It’s such a double edge sword. One moment I’m ok with my body and in the next moment I want to wake up tomorrow able to get back into my old clothes that I miss. But it is reminding myself what my body created and I now need to feed that beautiful creature so I need to be easy.
    Just thank u again…thank u thank u!!

  61. I’ve had 2 sets of twins(9 and 6) (one set as a surrogate) plus my singleton who just turned 2. I was 125 before kids.. Now I’m 177 🙁 it’s not even just the weight.. My entire frame changed.
    I’m trying, but my outlook is dismal. Thanks for posting.. I’m going to try harder.

    1. Oh Shannon, I feel your pain. I’ve “only” had 1 set of twins…9 years ago, and I am still not where i want to be. I gained 80 pounds, delivered by C-Section at 38w3d. The girls were both over 7 pounds. I lost 50 pounds within 3 months, but I seriously feel like the last 30 has been permanently affixed to my forever altered body. I never felt badly about the amazing changes my body underwent during pregnancy. In fact, it was my sole purpose to deliver full term big babies!
      That being said, at 46,I so badly want my body back. It just feels impossible to obtain. Stuck at 168# despite healthy eating and lifestyle. I haven’t given up, just perpetually frustrated.

  62. I loved reading this blog gives me some motivation 🙂 I am a mom to 5 babies. My oldest is 7 and my twins are 6 months. I have absolutely no energy to do anything I try so hard to try to get household chores done and some exercise in, but I am solely breastfeed and feel like a milk cow. Every time I go to do something they cry. I am so overwhelmed some days, but I love all my kids and wouldn’t change it for anything. My husband left when I was only 10 weeks pregnant because he didn’t want twins. I was 37weeks when I delivered two healthy girls 5’11 and 7 lbs.
    I am the heaviest I have ever been. I weigh more then what I did when I was pregnant and pre pregnancy clothes don’t fit it is depressing. I drop weight at first, but now an gaining again
    Sorry for the rant it is just comforting to know someone else similar situations .

  63. It truly is amazing what our bodies can do, I’m a 5’4″ petite woman, and I just gave birth to twins myself, 10 years after giving birth to a boy. I only went 36 weeks and 6 days, but still had two good sized, healthy, perfect babies. I just remember being terrified that something could go wrong, but being grateful and amazed that my body, could create, hold and sustain the life of 2 children at once. Thank you for showing me the body that has been left behind is still beautiful, and I can make it better, but I won’t get it back the old way, and that’s ok, because I carried 3 children in my body and that is such a blessing.

  64. I also have 4 kids – the youngest are twins. This was great to read – thank you for sharing, made me feel a little less out of the norm.

  65. I love this post…and how you really are the essence of what a strong mom, wife and woman can be. Thanks for being my source of inspiration for the day!:)

  66. Thank you! I needed to read this today. I’m a twin mom as well – my sweet boys, born at 37w 1d, will be four years old in June. I’m finally realizing that my body is never going to be the same again. While I shed every pound, my belly is softer around the middle and those love handles are persistant. I’ve been feeling really sad about it, but I need to snap out of it. My body grew those babies for 37 weeks and brought them into the world healthy and strong! That’s far more important than rock-hard abs and a teeny bikini (which I might just wear anyway!) Thank you for reminding me of what’s really important.

  67. Keep up the fight. My story is very similar I have 7 month old twin boys and a 3 and 4 year old. I love them all but can not wait to completely have my body back for just me. The last 5 years have been amazing!

  68. Thank you!! It’s very comforting to read this. I am 9 months post partum with twin baby girls. I had them at 38.5 weeks… I was, like you, painfully large! It actually hurt my organs! Being my first pregnancy, I was naive in thinking i would just bounce back. It has been SO hard and I’ve been working out harder than I ever have! Your post is a refreshing reminder to take a break from the self hate. Thanks again

  69. As a teenager who is still far away from the having babies part of my life, I hope I can do it as gracefully and beautifully as this article has shown! Good job!

  70. Hi Joanna,

    I agree with you. I only had one child. I had my son in 1996 and now he is 18 going to University. Wow, how time passes so so quickly.
    I never did get my body back. I have done research over the years. Every body is different. It is not one size fits all type of program. Every body is special and unique.
    Being in my mid 40s now, your body’s metabolism starts to slow down. My body type is sensitive to food when it comes to losing weight . After doing a lot of research with a nutritionist, I am now going Organic with almost everything. I cannot give up Tim Hortons coffee yet but one day getting there. The reason is the chemicals they put on vegetables fruits crackers chicken cannot be processed properly. These chemicals will be stored into fat cells.
    It is not about calories or points. Calories in does not necessarily equal calories out. It is the food that you eat. You can check out beyonddiet.com which gives you a lot more certified nutrition information on this. Thank you for sharing your story. Kind Regards,
    Jennifer Ellis

  71. I love your story! I’m a mom of three born in under two years. One son and twin daughters. They are now 12 and 10 1/2.
    What a beautiful Momma!
    Thank you for sharing.

  72. Joanna, I hope this post gets to you since you seem extra busy these days! 🙂 I first saw this post on the today show website, and was so inspired. My triplets will be two in May, and overall I have accepted my new body, but how nice to have a reminder. You mention things I forget to tell myself – to thank our bodies for what they went through, and to admire ourselves for what we went through. I can relate to so many other posts on your blog as well!

    Thank you for being such an inspiration. And by the way, I give you an insane amount of credit. We have our hands full with three, but four! You are amazing!

  73. Thank you for sharing your story, more women need to have the courage to share their thoughts without the fear of judgment . I commend you for being a catalyst of hope for many women.
    Blessings to you and your family.

  74. Good for you! I had 3 children in 4 years, and 8 years later im still trying to lose the baby weight. You look awesome, thanks for sharing your story, love your blog.

  75. I had my second child 2 months ago. This time around my body has not bounced back as quickly and tightly. I’m also now 30 so my metabolism isn’t what it used to be. Anyways, I really needed to read this today. It’s been one of those days, you know? I actually did fit into a pair of my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans that I wasn’t able to zip shut last week, but they’ve been so super tight today I can’t help but think about my bulging, flappy belly pooch. I have to keep reminding myself my body just did something amazing- and only 2 Months ago!
    Thank you for the reminder today 🙂

  76. You are beautiful and so is your family. You are so very blessed. Don’t be hard on yourself. Enjoy it all every day as it passes by so very quickly. I know as I am an old Granny who was doubly blessed by raising my grand baby who is now 20 years old. It has all gone by way too quickly. Embrace each day. Love your blog, thanks for the still down memory lane!
    Gram

  77. I just wanted to commend you for posting realistic photos. I was a little bummed when Hilary Duff was getting all this press for her post in her “bikini” (gratuitous underwear shot) and celebrating it as a post-baby bod. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that she got in shape in a healthy amount of time. But, I think the real problem is that she is still saying that you have to be ripped and slim after having babies to “still have it”. Your photos show what a real and healthy baby belly looks like. We need to stop making moms feel bad for having a softer tummy after kids. Who really needs to be running around in a bikini as a mom anyhow? That’s not what is important. Having a healthy body image, like you are supporting, is what is important. No matter what it looks like. Go you and your adorable twins!

  78. Your post is inspiring! Women are way too hard on themselves, especially after having babies. My triplets turn 9 years old today and I still have war wounds. It has taken a long time to not be ashamed but I’ve finally come to a place where I’m pretty comfortable with my body. Like you, I’ve learned that being healthy so that I can be the best mom I can be, is the most important thing.

  79. Amazing story, thanks for sharing. My husband and I also have 4 children and my first pregnancy was with twins when I was 19. Scariest thing of my life. I was 5 days over due with my daughters. I was self conscious of my body after because I was always in shape and to have it taken away and for my body to never look the same at such a young age. I managed to get over it and start working out and i managed to get my body back as good as it was going to be. I still don’t have a flat stomach but I think that’s due to my belly stretching out so much during the twins but my husband loves all of me and that’s what counts 🙂

  80. You have a great attitude! Our stories are so similar…. I too had four kids in five years, ending with twins. I remember reading about your pregnancy and now it’s great to see you recovering so well. I struggled so much more with the last ten pounds of weight loss after the twins than I did after my first two pregnancies. They are about to turn four and although my tummy will never be quite the same as before, I can say that I feel really fit and healthy again. And less worried about the number on the scale than before I had them. Now I appreciate the muscle tone and strength I have gained back. Good luck and be kind to yourself!

  81. I had 5 single births in just under 6 years (baby was born and oldest was still 5) so although I never had twins (which I still would love to have!), my stomach shows the scars of so many babies in such a short amount of time. During one of my pregnancies my midwife told me that in other countries stretch marks are referred to as tiger stripes in their native language. And I love that! I earned every single stripe on my belly. (I even earned my misshapen belly button that just didn’t know how to handle so many babies.) Tiger stripes are a sign of strength, a sign of courage, a sign of giving life and I will take every single one but, even though my youngest just turned 6, I am still trying to convince myself of that. 🙂 Congrats on all your babies, twins and singletons – you are one blessed mama!!

  82. You rock!!! I’m so happy to see people willing to see how amazing being able to bear children is, especially as someone who had to go through so much to have our own child. We had to go through fertility treatments and you’re right. It is amazing what the human body can do. I may have needed help but for 9 months I was able to carry a miracle. The stretch marks, the pain, the craziness, the extra weight were all worth it to bring my little girl to us. I am grateful for all of it, especially when we were told we may never have children. Not everyone can have kids and we are very much blessed.

  83. Why would you go to the trouble of reading Joanna’s story and viewing her photos if you feel this way?! Just don’t look – don’t read it. YOU go away! >:o(

  84. Johanna, I just have to say, for being seven month post twins, you look amazing! For the haters… go on and hate. Joanna is going to do what SHE needs to do, not what YOU think she needs to do.

  85. This is a great post and I know it’s going to help a lot of women. My twins are 5 now but i still remember the combination of fear (how big will I get? Can I carry them long enough) and pride at what my body could do. It made me feel a bit unbalanced bouncing between the two. After they were born I was afraid to look at my own body for awhile even while i was proud of what it had done. It’s also very hard to make the time to look after yourself when you are a mother no matter how many children you have. Good for you for pushing through and making the time and being loving towards yourself. You’re setting a great example for your kids.
    And on a side note , from my experience the physical rebound and shrinking of all that “mush” post twins continued for about 2 years before It settled into my new normal.

  86. Hi Joanne
    What a great story and great way to try and help others to look at life and their bodies differently. I am also a Mom of 4, with the last 2 being twins. It took me 8 yrs to finally realize what I need to do to be happy with my body and what it can do. In the last year I have dropped 6 sizes and still going but I am happy with what I have, even with my Mommy tummy that will never go away. The fact you came out so soon after have your girls with such a great attitude is wonderful and hopefully you will inspire other Moms!!

  87. You look amazing at every stage!! Super inspiring to see your body transformation pics; it has been such a surrender for me as well. Having been in amazing shape my whole life and now in the 9th month of my pregnancy, I am daily trying to accept my cellulite and body as necessary for my healthy little girl.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! My body is a vessel and I feel blessed~

  88. You are beautiful at every stage, and your posts are encouraging and positive for all the moms out there. As a mom of two girls, ages 8 and 11, I want to say please to all the moms out there not to obsess and worry so much about the baby weight and “getting your body back.”
    Those early months of your children’s lives are filled with so much to worry about–parenting, your baby’s health, your getting enough sleep (as much as can be expected with an infant!) and proper nourishment, changing dynamics in all of your relationships…just focus on being healthy all around and the weight will come off.
    I had unrealistic expectations after my first daughter was born and though I should be back in my regular jeans at two months. Boy was I in for surprise! I worried and dieted, exercised, counted calories, and my weight would not budge. Finally, I quit worrying and at six months I was back in my regular size, but my body shape was way different. At nine months the weight was falling off. It stabilized at about one year, then I started feeling normal–a new normal.
    My second daughter came three years later and I had so much stress–my father’s Alzheimer’s was progressing, there were financial stressors for my parents and that part of my family was falling apart, and I was having health challenges. I couldn’t worry about my weight. Guess what? I lost the baby weight magically at the same time, with almost the same pattern as the first daughter.
    My point is, I think we all hold onto that baby weight as long as our bodies need it, and there isn’t much we can do about it. Just take care of yourself and your babies. Give yourself a year, and if at one year postpartum you’re not satisfied, then maybe examine your diet and exercise habits and make some changes.
    As a Pilates teacher who specializes in prenatal and postpartum exercise, pelvic floor issues, and diastasis recti, I also see a lot of moms when their kids are older and, in their haste to lose that baby weight, they’ve created problems like incontinence, musculoskeletal injuries, or diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation). I don’t blame the moms–I blame our culture that over-emphasizes a new mom’s physical appearance, the pressure for them to be perfect and have it all, and a horrible lack of social, emotional, and real support for new moms.
    I hope this changes soon, and we can all help each other as moms and be supportive of our journeys together and as individuals, and see a shift in our society towards better support for new moms.

  89. Hi, I just wanted to say you are so beautiful, inside and out! I am in college but look forward to having my own family one day. I am also the eldest of quadruplets. Children, especially multiples are SUCH a blessing and I am glad that you are proud of what your body has done. God bless you as you continue to raise your wonderful children=)

  90. I’m amazed at all you rocking twin-bearing mommies!!! I thought 2 kids via c-section, 2 years apart was rough but you all put me to shame…in a good way of course:) i also sometimes cringe at my stretch marks and the changes in my once cute behind but I try and dust myself off, remind myself why I have these, and try live live a healthy lifestyle. Thanks for the reminder to appreciate all the great things we do have. We all rock!

    1. Haha thanks Susan! Yes, we do ALL rock! I must say, my son (singleton) was much more difficult than our twins so make sure you give yourself credit!

    1. I am so glad you like the post Laura. I think we all forget sometimes what a big deal creating a human is.

  91. I LOVE your blog! I am 14 weeks along with identical twins and was so glad when I stumbled across your blog. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences it’s definitely making this journey a little less scary. You seem to be doing an amazing job with all 4 of your kids and I can’t wait to read more! Also, you look amazing! Especially for having 4 kids!

    1. Awe thanks so much Christina! Please let me know if you want any twin or parenting related topics covered.

  92. I give you credit!! I can relate to your story because I have had 4 kids within 4 years, including twins. I am very into clean eating and working out. A woman’s body is absolutely amazing with what it can do 🙂 I love your story and look forwrd to reading more.

  93. You are such an inspiration. I have just the one boy and still find excuses not to exercise. But i am slowly changing it around. Keep it up xx

  94. I would just like you to know that not only only are you helping mothers everywhere feel amazing about themselves, but you are also helping women who are not mothers, but are struggling with their self esteem. I stumbled across your blog by chance and for some reason, this title stuck out to me… I too have always been a little heavier, although not overweight by any means. Even so, I struggle daily with negative images and thoughts about my body. You have actually opened my eyes and I think that I have gained a new appreciation for my body. Because, even though it has not yet created a child, it does remarkable things every day. I’m going to try a new approach to losing weight and getting in shape. Sometimes I forget that taking care of myself is so important and really it has to be the first step in bettering myself. Thank you.

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