'When I looked in the mirror I felt complete and utter despair': Mother-of-two, 32, talks candidly about how pregnancy changed her body as she prepares to give birth to her third child...
Published on "The Daily Mail" Tuesday 2nd May 2017
For many women, the entire process of pregnancy is overwhelming.
Between bodily changes, fluctuating hormones and topsy turvy emotional states, there is much to contend with - as one expectant mother knows only too well.
Here, Kirsty McKenzie, 32, from Canberra speaks candidly to FEMAIL about her three very different pregnancies.
'When I looked in the mirror, I felt complete and utter despair,' she recalled - talking about a moment she realised she still looked 'six months pregnant' six weeks after she gave birth to her second child.
According to Ms McKenzie, while she thought she was prepared for pregnancy and the body changes, nothing can prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster of carrying a child
According to Ms McKenzie, while she thought she was prepared for pregnancy and the changes she would see in her body, nothing can prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster of carrying a child:
'It wasn't so much vanity as finding it difficult to deal with change,' Ms McKenzie told Daily Mail Australia.
'While it does happen slowly, gaining weight and getting stretchmarks for the first time was a shock to the system.'
The 32-year-old remembered breaking down to help with the emotional release.
Nevertheless, by the time Ms McKenzie gave birth to her eldest nine months later, she said she realised the power of the human body - and how much she loved her newborn baby girl:
'I accepted the changes including my "outie" belly button,' she said.
'They were my battle scars and they helped me to produce one of my greatest accomplishments, my eldest girl.'
It wasn't until she got pregnant for a second time less than a year later that the mother-of-two fell into 'complete and utter despair' over her body.
'Physically and mentally, my second pregnancy pushed me to the limits of my body's capabilities,' she said.
While Ms McKenzie said she knew and was prepared for things like morning sickness and stretchmarks, 'no two pregnancies are the same'.
'I was much bigger than I was before, and mentally I found it tough to get up and get going. It was hard at the beginning because I wondered whether I would ever be able to love another child as much as my first.
'It was also hard at the end because I realised I had to go through the whole thing again - self doubt crept into my mind.'
By the time she gave birth - and suffered a ten centimetre abdominal separation in the process - Ms McKenzie said she was struggling hugely with having two children to contend with.
She also found it hard to look at herself in the mirror because she was in 'denial'.
'I bounced back physically from my first pregnancy without any real issues, but my second pregnancy had pushed my body to the extreme,' she recalled in a guest blog post for a friend.
'It saddens me to say, that again, when I dared look in the mirror at my body, a mere six weeks later, still looking six months pregnant, I felt complete and utter despair (again I cried),' Ms McKenzie added.
Ms McKenzie is now in the 34th week of her third pregnancy and preparing to do it all over again.
However, this time she said she is coming out of her most 'positive pregnancy'.
'I've learned to juggle multiple lives as well as my own, and physically I feel the best I've felt,' she told FEMAIL.
'Everything has also been put into perspective a bit and I've learned to look at the changes within my body with a bit more understanding and acceptance.'
In a strange way, the mum-of-two said she is happy to have come out of the other side:
'For other women who are struggling with being pregnant I would say your body will not look the same afterwards, but it's not meant to look the same.
'I'm not worried about looking good in a bikini anymore. Remember you made a life; your body didn't change for nothing.'
Behind the blog...