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6 weeks PP and struggling to look in the mirror (Anonymous)

December 7, 2009

Age 31, 1 beautiful daughter

I became pregnant last Christmas with my first child, a surprise to both my husband and I…our little Christmas present :-) . Before becoming pregnant, I struggled with body image issues and had gained about 30 pounds over the previous 2 years. Going into my first pregnancy already overweight really bothered me and I really tried to keep my pregnancy weight gain under control, but ended up gaining about 50 lbs anyway. I never struggled with my pregnant belly; in fact, I actually enjoyed having the round pregnant belly, but I was terrified of stretch marks. I put buckets of cocoa butter on, knowing that it probably wouldn’t help but trying anyway, and around the 6 1/2 month mark, the first little purple squiggles began to appear. By the end of my pregnancy, they were everywhere. My entire belly was covered, my hips, my upper thighs, my “love handles”, and even my upper pubic area (how did they get there???).

As much as I hated the stretch marks, after I had my daughter my body transformed into something I hadn’t imagined. I had an unplanned c-section (I really wanted to avoid one but ended up with one anyway) and now on top of all of the stretch marks, my belly hangs/overlaps over the incision. I literally have to lift my stomach up to clean my incision and because of the way my skin hangs over it, it isn’t healing as quickly and is very uncomfortable. Most clothing is uncomfortable because it just mashes the overlapped skin down onto the incision. On top of that, it’s hanging crooked (the right side hangs lower than the left) and my left hip has this weird dent/overhang. I avoid looking at myself in the mirror and I won’t undress in front of my husband because I’m disgusted by my own body and can’t imagine that he isn’t too. When I do catch glimpses of myself in the mirror, I find myself fighting back the tears. I’ve lost 30 pounds over the last 6 weeks and have watched my body change quite a bit, but I can’t shake the feeling that my body is too far gone.

I adore my daughter and I’m so happy that I have her, but I’m really struggling with this and desperately wish I could get past it. Hoping to find some encouragement here. Thanks for reading!

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18 Responses to “6 weeks PP and struggling to look in the mirror (Anonymous)”

  1. Jo Says:
    December 7th, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Please be kind to yourself! You are only 6 weeks pp. My belly from both pregnancies seem to look much better after 15 months – that was without really trying it just gradually got better. I’ve had 2 c-sections and although it is a bit puffy over the scar it no longer has skin hanging over it like it did at first. Sure you will also see from everyone’s photos that stretch marks too look better with time.
    Best thing I did was lots of walks up hills with my pram. Sure my body isn’t quite the same but neither is my life… embrace the new you and the new life you’ve magically created.

  2. toni Says:
    December 7th, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    hi there, i had the same problems with the stretchmarks they get everywhere but they really do fade with time and like you i also had an emergency c-section, please dont beat yourself up over your image and remember that your body has been through an awful lot with the pregancy and at 6 weeks pp is just finishing the healing process. in regards to your perceptions of how your husband feels i think you would be pleasently surprised at his answer if you were to ask him. remember that its human nature to focus on what we percieve are our bad points whether thats habits or looks but im sure that the other mums on here will all agree that you look great considering that you are only 6 weeks pp!

  3. mamaoffour Says:
    December 7th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    First of all, YOU ARE ONlY 6 WEEKS PP! You look great for only 6 weeks! Secondly, about the “overhang”. I didn’t have a section, but had a PP hemorrhage and ended up with a hysterectomy – so similar type of incision. I had the little overhang for quite some time, but that truly does diminish over time. My baby is 18 months old, and you’d really have to look closely to see any sort of “ledge”.

    I’m a postpartum nurse and always suggest to my c-section patients to wear a pad of some sort underneath the temporary “overhang” until it’s healed up – that way, it doesn’t get too moist and heals more quickly. You’d have to wear higher panties, though, to keep it in place. :)

    BUT, again, you look fantastic – you’ve just barely had your little one!

  4. Izzy Says:
    December 7th, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    omg i can really relate to you i gained lots of weight before i got pregnant with my baby a total of 35 pounds yikes i know…we have the same body i sware!! except i dont have a tattoo lol i have tons of stretch marks that look the same as yours and i also have a few around my pubic area which i hate!! but hey we carried life inside our bellies and we should be proud, and i heard the stretchies get lighter over time and for the baby weight just eat healthy and exercise at least 3 times a week thats what im doing now and it makes me feel like great!! we’ll get our bodies back don’t worry…good luck with your little one im looking forward to an update in a couple of months ill look for the belly with that tattoo :)

  5. Judith Says:
    December 7th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I so feel for you – but it’s ONLY 6 weeks since you gave birth and a caesar too. The stretch marks will fade to fine silver lines that hardly notice, you have lots of time yet for your tummy to shrink back and once the scar is completely healed you can exercise and get fitter all round. Give it a bit of time – at least a year – our bodies are remarkable and our skin has amazing qualities of stretching and recovering. If your husband loves you, he will love your softer shape even more. After having a child women turn into real mature women with the bodies they were meant to have. Focus on what is good in your life and the rest will fall into place. Once your body has recovered a bit treat yourself to some you time – a massage or facial – and some pretty underwear. If you feel there are medical issues get your midwife/doctor to have a look at your scar to check it is healing properly. Vitamin E oil is supposed to be good for diminishing scars.

  6. Tricia Says:
    December 7th, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Wow! By your description, I was imagining much worse, but I think you look pretty damn good for 6 weeks pp!! It will get A LOT better in the coming weeks. Ive been there and I know how hard it is, but trust me, it gets better. Give yourself at least 9 months to lose the weight. Hang in there!

  7. Jillylicious Says:
    December 7th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Oh, gosh. I could have written your post word for word. I was at least 30lbs overweight when I became pregnant. I gained another 30lbs while pg. I had an emergency c-section and this big ooogly belly that folded over. My butt looked like a topographical map of the Andes.

    I. Felt. Awful.

    I never felt so hideous. I totally, totally know how you feel. You are not alone!

    Over the following 21 months I lost 75lbs total – all my baby weight and another 45lbs on top of that. My stretch marks are white and are actually quite easily camouflaged with some self tanner (go buy some! If it makes you feel better, use it!)

    I can remember feeling like a prisoner in this weird body that I didn’t even recognize, let alone like. But as time has gone on and I have changed both inside and out, I feel better now than ever before.

    I know that it seems overwheming to you now to think you’ll ever love your body again, but don’t give up hope of feeling that way. You WILL love it. You ARE beautiful.

    Sending you a thousand hugs and understanding – I have been in your shoes. In six months things are gonna look at LOT different!

    Hang in there, mama!

  8. Kim Says:
    December 7th, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Yeah, Don’t worry about what other people think about that. its whats in the inside that matters. :) Have you tried using the palmers cocoa butter cream product? If you have do visit palmerssettlement.com if you have problems on the product. They are involved in an action suit and there’s an ongoing settlement. Do tell your friends to about this you can file a claim there. Safety first before things gets worst :)

  9. Valerie Says:
    December 7th, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    You look great for 6 weeks pp. I have massive stretch marks and a belly that hangs low and I really struggle with it. For now work on making healthy changes but Dont diet yet. Its too early. But when you have permission find a work out DVD you like (I couldnt do the gym, I was, am, embarassed) and work on it. Go for walks with your new baby.
    And trust me the stretch marks fade with time and as you lose weight and work out your belly will start to tighten up. Your not too far gone, your beautiful! (Love the tatoo btw)

    And trust me I bet your husband still thinks your beautiful. Talk to him about your feelings, let him hold you and its OK to be frustrated about it. And when you get really down look down at your beautiful child. A few months down the road you’ll look back and see where youve come from!

    And when your feeling bad heres a little picker upper I got from my cousin (from my mothers side, guess we were stuck from the beginning. Same genes you know) Its good for a giggle.

    “I’m an exotic…. I HAVE STRIPES”

  10. Maria Says:
    December 8th, 2009 at 4:05 am

    You are only 6 weeks PP! Don’t be so hard on yourself! I was also covered with stretch marks everywhere and now, 2 1/2 since my second pregnancy, they have faded significantly. I know that it seems like impossible right now, but give it time. Work out as much as you can, eat good, healthy food and you will see great improvement! My mummy tummy never went away, even though I am below my pre pregnancy weight. But….it looks much better since I started taking care of my body…regular exercise, no junk food, etc. Good luck and hope to see your update in a few months :)

  11. Roo Says:
    December 8th, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Hey,

    Your belly skin will tighten up so much…..trust me, as for as the stretch marks you should check out this website http://www.ecresearchcorp.com I promise you, your body is going to improve tremendously! Hang in there.

  12. ava Says:
    December 8th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    just realize that it takes work , a healthy diet and lots of excersize to tone the muscles that became weak in pregnancy, even women who don’t have weight to lose still have stretched out stomach muscles and wider hips after a baby. It takes time for things to get smaller. I was fifty five pounds over what I am now, and that was ten months ago. It took me a lot of excersize, starting with barely being able to walk at six weeks pp, to now where I am just starting to be able to do crunches without my stomach muscles hurting. (i was superfit when i got pregant,with a four pack)
    Just know you really do have to come to terms with a new body, because it is forever a mom body, cuz you are a mom, a great awesome and wonderful thing, but if you want to get tone and lose weight, it can happen, but it will take a year or more…. just my opinion…I may never get rid of my little belly skin but I can feel good about myself and get to a point where I think, hey not bad mama! you can too!
    just dont let the weight negatively affect your emotions, weight is weight, it will come and go, but babies and good husbands are forever..

  13. TracyKM Says:
    December 8th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    At 6 weeks PP, your uterus isn’t even quite back to ‘normal’ yet :)
    I highly recommend babywearing. It promotes good posture and works your core muscles, all while you can go about your housework, shopping, loving your baby! Also, because baby is strapped to you (not dangling off of you in a Snugli/Bjorn), you fool your body into burning more calories.
    But for 6 weeks, you look fine, and will continue to improve!

  14. Jessica Says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 6:10 am

    OMG

    We’re body clones

    The pubic stretch marks…
    I have them, and I’m also wondering how the h*ll they got there!

    Lucky for you… You’re only six weeks postpartum.

    Somebody asked me how far along i was at six weeks pp

    You look BEAUTIFUL

    Mines one here a few back, the name is Jessica

  15. Red Says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    First of all, loosing 30 pounds after only 6 weeks is admirable. I had the hormone shot and couldn’t even think of loosing weight until the 13 weeks the shot lasts were over.

    I know how you feel, I gained about 50 pounds as well, and although I didn’t get but 3 stretchmarks, I already had some from growing up. They don’t look half as bad as when I first got them. My C-section is vertical, and at first it looked like I had a rear end in front, in fact, I had more butt in front than in the back. The first time my husband saw me naked, I was shocked, and he said “I was expecting a lot more, you look fine” and although I know he was lying to me, his support does help a lot.

    I promise it gets better with time. My baby is now 19 months old, and I am ready for a trip to the beach after loosing all the weight that I gained and a little more. It hasn’t been easy, I had to diet a lot since I couldn’t work out due to the surgery, but after I was given the green light to go to the gym, I have worked a lot and I can say it can be done. I certainly don’t look like I used to and I never will, but I have come to accept the ugly scar, as it is a battle scar that has a beautiful history of birth.

    Be kind to yourself, after your hormones normalize and you are able to work out, you will feel better. This is a temprary thing, hang in there, and overall, love yourself, for pregnancy is one of the most generous acts a woman can do. You are a heroine.

  16. New Mommy Says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    I haven’t read through the other responses but wanted to say that I bet you’ll feel a lot better about your body around 9 months pp. I did! Give yourself a couple years to get back to “normal.” You’re only 6 weeks pp!! Hang in there! It’ll get better! Promise!

  17. Claire Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Have you tried a belly wrap? I hear they help c-section scar healing and help your stomach to go down.

  18. Mayra Says:
    December 13th, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    I know its hard to have to look at ourselves in the mirror in disgust sometimes…but the fact of the matter is, we really SHOULDN’T!! We are BLESSED here ladies…with beautiful babies that are and extension of ourselves. I mean, if we are crying when we look in the mirror, you gotta admit that sounds very shallow. Think about the burn victim who barely got out of her car after an accident, a soldier who has returned from Iraq without arms and legs, children with leukemia…I mean seriously!!! There are bigger more important things in this world and I think that every time we look in the mirror, instead of “crying” or being disgusted, we should give thanks to God that we are strong and healthy and have beautiful babies!!!

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