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A Male Perspective (Anonymous Dad)

I am a man, and I while I know this is a site for women, I have a story to share. Whether you chose to post it is at your discretion, but I am hopeful you will read what I have to say and perhaps offer some advice.

My wife has given birth to two wonderful, beautiful children. She is an amazing person who is absolutely devastated by the state of her breasts. She rarely takes her shirt off when we make love, and putting on a bra or a shirt can send her into an emotional tailspin that takes her days to recover from.

Her body recovered remarkably from the first pregnancy, and she became pregnant again quite quickly again. The second pregnancy was the one that really changed her body. Her breasts became hugely engorged while breastfeeding. I cannot say what the size was, but they were gigantic. She was a B cup before the kids.

She is five, almost six years PP, and her stomach is completely flat. She has very few stretch marks and they are all very short and thin. She has a tiny spot of cellulite on one butt cheek and a few more stretch marks on her hips but really, nothing you wouldn’t notice unless you were being intimate with her. She looks the same as when we met which is athletic, healthy, beautiful and super sexy.

I recognize that many women define a great deal of their femininity through their breasts. Hers have lost their perkiness, their firmness, and they are more saggy than they were before she was pregnant. I also cannot even begin to fathom how she feels or what she is thinking outside of what she has told me, or what I have gleaned through her body language.

She has said some of the same things I have read here. She feels gross. She hates her body. She has even said that she would rather cut her breasts off than have them be how they are.
As for me, I can only tell her what I honestly feel, and my hope is that the other women on this site will hear these things from the men in their lives.

When you look at yourself you tend to only see the flaws, the things you want to change. the mirror is lying to you and telling you to conform to the ideal set forth by the media. Real women do not look like the lies you see every day. Real women are not photoshopped pieces of plastic. Real women have saggy breasts. Real women have stretch marks. Real women have cellulite and wonky nipples. Real women come in all shapes and sizes.

But most of all real men know this. Real men understand that what counts is what is in your mind and in your heart. Sure. I am a man, and I have visual queues that peak my interest, but that does not mean I have the expectation that my reality has to conform to the fantasy.
When I see my wife, I see the most beautiful woman in the world. I see the woman who suffered the scars to birth my babies, who nourished them, who gave her body to them so they could grow and come into the world and bring me all the pride and joy and wonderment I could ever imagine.

Real men do not want a manufactured doll that never changes. A real man wants a woman that grows into her mature womanhood. A woman who is lovely because of the emotion and intelligence she develops through the process of becoming a mother.

I know not all men are respectful or kind, and I know this is small condolences when the mirror is lying to you, but please. Ladies. Sexy is a state of mind, not a matter of dimensions or expectations.

I promise.

in Body Image, Submissions
19 comments… add one
  • Jenn Monday, March 2, 2015, 11:07 am

    I know how your wife feels. I feel the exact same way about my whole body actually. How can my boyfriend even stand to look at me, touch me…these are the things I think. He tells me I’m perfect but I do not see it.
    Thank you for writing your point of view, it makes me think, maybe I can believe my boyfriend when he tells me those exact same things…

  • Grace Monday, March 2, 2015, 12:24 pm

    Sorry, “your story” describes the minutiae of your wife’s “almost perfect” body in such a way that, although you think you are helping, you aren’t.

  • Emily Monday, March 2, 2015, 2:39 pm

    I think he was less trying to spur on his wife’s issues and more trying to reiterate what she has been saying, Grace.

    Anyway, very eloquently put, and I think you touched on a few important points, OP. Your wife is the woman who brought your children into the world, and despite her body (and I can probably pretty safely bet yours too!) might not be exactly how it was before babies. To you, it seems, this isn’t an issue because you see your strong and lovely partner, and the physical body isn’t everything. It’s who she is that you love, not the shape and consistency of her breasts. At least, I hope that’s the gist! A lot of men aren’t like that, though. My partner is a bit more on the day nothing about the obvious changes, but say it doesn’t matter when the topic is raised. I hope that he feels as you do deep down, but is just not quite as eloquent as you are.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The shape of a mother has an impact on the woman herself, of course. But I think that it also has a huge impact of the dads in the equation. It must be hard going from being with a self confident, sexy lady to being with a woman who carried your children (which you obviously have a tonne of respect and love for!) who is feeling like there’s something wrong with her. Especially if all you see is someone constantly nitpicking themselves, beating themselves up, being negative, crying about how they look… It’s dads who deal with this too. And it would be hard if all you see is the same wonderful woman you initially fell in love with, except with the bonus extra of a munchkin or two (or three or more).

    I so hope I made sense just then.

  • Grace Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 11:37 am

    It’s actually when he describes her 5 years PP body…

    her stomach is completely flat. She has very few stretch marks and they are all very short and thin. She has a tiny spot of cellulite on one butt cheek and a few more stretch marks on her hips but really, nothing you wouldn’t notice unless you were being intimate with her. She looks the same as when we met which is athletic, healthy, beautiful and super sexy….

    .. that the sad truth of the matter is made plain. BOTH people in this relationship dwell, heavily, on physical appearance. That he can catalogue these “minute flaws” — “nothing you would notice unless you were being intimate with her”– indicates the importance physical appearance has for BOTH of them. And yet he wishes SHE could get past it, without recognizing that he does, in fact, care very much about his wife’s “perfect” appearance. Yes, he still loves her, yes, he’s OK with her changed breasts…but the overall piece, in my opinion, does not speak the support he thinks it does. :(

  • Sarah Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 5:11 pm

    @Grace- what a cruel response to his honesty. I wonder, if he would have said she looks pretty much the same as she did when we met, 20 (or more) lbs. overweight with large thighs, would you say the same thing? Just because he praised his wife for having a flat stomach, doesn’t mean he’s dwelling heavily on her appearance- I thinkt he sentimate that outshines anything else, is that he loves his wife no matter what and thinks she’s beautiful despite her own perceived flaws… We don’t see his wifem, he’s mearly painting her picture for the reader. And the only thing I took away from his post was… wow, she’s a lucky lady because that is one good guy.

  • Juliana Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 5:54 pm

    @ Grace – I find it hard to understand why one of the tenets of marriage culture in the US, Canada, & the UK seems to be the requirement to suppress truth in favor of euphemism and polite lies.
    No one would claim that taste isn’t an important cue for choosing what we want to eat. Why is it expected that a long term partner must pretend that our human cues for sexual attraction, some of which are visual, don’t matter all of a sudden? How is this expectation helpful to either partner when a spouse can’t bring him or herself to tell the other spouse that, yes, the ass does look fat in these jeans?
    If his wife is deeply unhappy about something in herself that clearly isn’t going to change much (breast ptosis doesn’t correct itself), they should discuss plastic surgery, and he should support her decision to either get it or not. Why should she have to come to a new self acceptance? Because imperfection is natural? So is tooth decay, yet no one in the West thinks walking around with missing teeth without implants or dentures is preferable because natural.
    Yes, we all get old & saggy eventually, but as a famous octogenarian model (Carmen Dell Orefice) said once, “if you had the ceiling falling down in your living room, would you not go and have a repair?” (Here’s an interesting article on her: http://www.vogue.co.uk/beauty/2012/07/27/carmen-dell-orefice-plastic-surgery—model-age-81)

  • shakti Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 8:07 pm

    this is a tricky post…one that did make me teary.

    overall I did love his authenticity and for being vulnerable on this site,, a great place for us as women but not necessarily a place we get to hear the voice of a man. and i understand that we don’t always welcome it.

    to be honest i think we are all so entrenched with the media that its really difficult to express oneself without being politically incorrect, without offending someone.

    that above paragraph about the belly and tiny spot of cellulite, I can’t help but think that that is our extra critical training to point out our flaws as imperfections instead of marks of beauty. I believe he intended to point those things out to show how trivial and insignificant they were but instead some of us took it the opposite way and really it doesn’t matter to look just the “same” as before, because we are not and this is not a bad thing. we metamorph into mothers, we change

    I cannot criticize the OP, because his bravery to come out here and speak his truth is commendable and really a testament to his love.

    However, I can say that the subversiveness of the media and our mainstream culture runs deep, so deep even those of us on the fringe still speak the languages we have been taught as youngsters as we try to cultivate a new relationship, with ourselves and with others.

    I tell woman all day long (part of the work I do) how wonderful, gorgeous and capable they are.. do you think I believe myself to be?

    I am trying. we are trying and for this we need to be grateful as there is a beast of self-hatred growing out there and in the minds of our sons and daughters and we need to retrain ourselves, create a new language, a new framework and rethink to begin to really believe in our authentic everlasting beauty

  • Toni Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 4:40 am

    He sees his wife’s body, he knows it well. He loves it and appreciates it for what it is.

    My husband has scars and I don’t pretend to not see them- I love running my hands over them.

    This man is honest and intimate. He loves his wife. Sexiness is a state of mind- my husband also tells me this, and I now I believe him. Thanks for your post.

  • Nena Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 7:43 am

    I’m sorry that your wife feels this way, but she’s lucky to have someone who cares so deeply and understands a woman’s struggles. Very touching read.

  • Sarah Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 7:42 pm

    I read this husband’s description of his wife’s post-pregnancy “flaws” as an echo of her own words. She overexaggerates these faults because she feels ugly and imperfect, whereas they’re barely visible to his eye.

    I know that often I feel the same on this website. I read women’s deprecating description of themselves on and expect to see battle-scarred bodies when I scroll down, but I see normal, lovely-looking post-partum bodies, often slender and athletic in shape.

  • Mark Thursday, March 5, 2015, 12:37 pm

    As a father and husband I can definitely identify with the OP’s comments. Pregnancy has been tough on my wife’s body. It was when she had her first child, but by the time I met her 5 years after she had lost all the weight and and was back in shape due to running. Almost 8 years ago she had her second, and age, the stresses of daily life, whatever, she didn’t go back to what she was before. Doesn’t matter to me, although she is skeptical when I say it, she is beautiful to me, she is sexy, I desire her, physically and emotionally. I don’t know if this is the case with all guys, but it seems my taste in a woman’s body changed in sync with the changes in my wife’s body. Pictures of young, athletic, hardbodied women don’t catch my eye the way they did in my 20s, but a picture of a woman my wife’s age with curves like hers does.

  • Jeanne Thursday, March 12, 2015, 1:13 pm

    This page is all about discussing physical appearance and how it is altered by pregnancy, so I don’t see what the issue is here.

    The OP was clearly stating an objective fact; his wife’s body is different now than it was prior to having kids (I think the details of *how* particular bits look different lent themselves to the descriptiveness of the post) but I think the point is he never implies that these differences constitute flaws! Rather, he says:
    “She looks the same as when we met which is athletic, healthy, beautiful and super sexy.”
    So I think he’s acknowledging that whilst pregnancy has indeed changed her external appearance, that doesn’t make her any less attractive in his eyes! Which, I think, is a lovely sentiment.

    I know some ladies contributing here may have issues with their bodies and thus be extra sensitive to any comments praising someone else’s, but I think those offended are missing the point – he emphasises that a ‘flawed’ (by Vogue standards) body is just as sexy as one without stretch marks, cellulite, etc.!

  • Jeanne Thursday, March 12, 2015, 1:24 pm

    Also, I agree with Sarah. The ‘cataloguing’ was probably the OP’s way of explaining what exactly troubles his wife about her appearance for the purpose of this post (I would guess they were her words, not his), and he described them in a complimentary way to emphasise that she has a distorted, negative self-image.

  • Elisha Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 3:06 am

    I agree with those that have said his words may hurt more than help the situation. The part that stood out to me was when he said he doesn’t expect his reality to live up to his fantasies. I hope he doesn’t use that line on his wife! He has a very open and honest post and he is certainly entitled to his opinions and perspectives, I just don’t think some of those things need to be shared with his wife.

  • Jerrica Friday, March 20, 2015, 11:52 am

    Man oh Man how women can read something differently. I read the story with tears in my eyes, that you see your wife in reality, flat stomach, cellulite and all. If she has a flat stomach after 2 kids it is either because she worked on it and works out, good for her, or because she has good genes, lucky for her. You have the courage to write this statement to put in your perspective, and you “see” how your wife struggles. Being a lady ain’t easy, thank you sir, for understanding that, thank you for seeing the beauty in your wife still stretch marks, and what she considers to be “terrible” boobies.

  • Bagsy Friday, March 27, 2015, 4:01 am

    I greatly respect you for writing this post, your wife is a lucky woman to be loved so much. My own husband says much the same and I struggle to believe him, but the way we see ourselves will never come close to how we are seen by others, sometimes it is good to hear this explicitly stated. Thank you!

  • Faye Saturday, May 16, 2015, 4:20 pm

    This made me cry. I have a terrible time with my body after having babies, and what I see in the mirror is a LIE! All I see is imperfections, one giant sack of stretchmarks and saggy skin, hello, there is a person there! I know for a fact I don’t look how I think I do, I know that I should be easier on myself than I am. And I know his words could be confronting for many but I found great comfort! When he says “tiny cellulite” remember, there is no way you or I would describe it like that! I know that I would say something along the lines of “now I have cellulite on my butt” transforming into “my butt is covered in cellulite” to, “I have a cottage cheese ass” (thanks to Paris Hilton) The point is, our partners actually see the issues for what they are, we exaggerate them. And when he says, he still thinks she’s sexy, that is beautiful! Why diss? I’m very lucky, my husband is like this gentleman, he encourages me, compliments me, gets a hard on when he sees me (sorry) and I am starting to come around. I remember sitting in the bath with the shower running and just crying after having my first. My husband came into the room, didn’t know he was there and he just came into the shower, clothes and all and just hugged me.
    I don’t want a man to tell me that I don’t have any of the things that I see, I would look at him like he is the biggest liar. I’d much prefer a man who is honest and says “yes, but love it/them/you”

  • Daniie Tuesday, May 2, 2017, 2:13 pm

    Dear @Elisha, I can’t help but ask myself why we (women) have problems with reality. Let me explain myself. I can understand both postures, the one that says “Hey! Thank you for being honest.” “You are so lovely. I will believe my husband” And the one that says “Your words are not helping”. I am a young mother who used to be a insecure woman, with a few extra pounds, not so perky boobs and stuff. So I know how it is to be sensible to “brutal honest” words like his “I don’t expect my reality to be aligned with my fantasy” kind of thing but we have to be honest too! We all have or used to have an idea of how we wanted to be our partners and often that unrealistic idea ends up not matching our reality! At least for the mayority of us and that Is ok! I used to like tall average weight man with blue eyes, medium long black hair who liked hardcore music but my actual couple Is 1.70 meters, curly hair, brown eyes… He is an average man! He does not match my fantasy!! But nevertheless he makes me happy! I love him a whole lot! And I don’t feel disappointed in any way! So we can be feeling hurt by the reality and OP seems to be a great partner, a loving and caring one, so she is a lucky woman cause he cares! He notice her pain and try to make her see that she is too harsh on herself and that he loves her no matter what and should mean everything ?

  • Michelle Tuesday, August 1, 2017, 7:49 pm

    You have no idea how insulting what you have written is. Guys are ****ed in the head. There’s nothing wrong with her I hope she knows that!

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