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Am I Ruined? (Anonymous)

I’m currently 24. I have had two pregnancies and have two beautiful boys 1 year and 20 days apart both delivered vaginally. I will be 3 months postpartum in 11 days. I am writing this post because I am working hard to become comfortable in my own skin again and want to love my new body. In college I had so much confidence in crop tops, short shorts, bikinis etc…. Again, I am 24 years old so if this sounds immature I apologize. I love fashion, I love wearing things to compliment my figure and my midriff used to be my favorite part of my body. My first son left me stretch mark free, well on my stomach only, I developed a couple on my hips and some deep in my upper inner thigh area (yes I cried, my husband said that he didn’t care, yada yada all the things men say to comfort you.) My thoughts on his response…. No matter how vain it sounds I thought, “well at-least my stomach is OK.” Well then came my second baby boy and now I feel ruined. I am still young and I’d like to dress in all of the things I felt able to wear before, well a bit more conservative of course out of respect for my husband and children, but I am scared that strangers, yes people I owe nothing to, will stare…. Ugh this sounds so stupid…

I am about 30 lbs overweight now and just got the “okay” to resume exercise. I have diastasis recti so my pouch didn’t go down as fast as it did after my first pregnancy but I am working on closing the gap through physical therapy. I am eager to get toned again, but now I fear that weight loss may enhance the appearance of my stretch marks that, in person, look like deep horizontal tears in my abdomen area (although exfoliation has evened the texture out a bit), plus the light discoloration (which I’m not sure if it will fade into my skin color because as an African American woman I found my belly looks darker for a while after birth), and may reveal sagging skin, which I’m not 100% sure if I have any, but the ab separation is about 3 fingers wide so that may contribute to sagging. Also, my belly button looks soooooo weird to me now, but that’s not a major issue for me, it seems to be shifting back to place lately… I’m probably hallucinating.

Anyway, I remember as a child, my mother showed me her stretch marks and said that her body was ruined, so that replays in my head, plus one of the first questions she asked when I was pregnant with my first was if I had developed any, which I hadn’t on my stomach. I find myself, in between bathroom breaks and nap-time for my babies in the mirror obsessively checking them as if they’re just going to disappear all of a sudden. I am exfoliating like crazy in the shower trying to fade them as fast as possible…. I’m considering a spray tan, yes I know I have dark skin already but I’ve read it could even out your skin tone and disguise scars regardless… I look at clothing online and automatically feel like I’ll never be able to wear what I like again without looking stupid. I have decided to get a tubal ligation because I honestly do not think I can handle anymore changes to my appearance. I know that beauty comes from within, but to me when you feel good about the outside, your self esteem is boosted… But maybe that’s just me. I know I have a long way to go and I will not allow myself to regret my amazing boys. But am I ruined? Can I still dress as a 24 year old? Is my body now disgusting? I need to know. Will it get better? Please help me ladies, I know it is all in my head, but I can’t seem to break free from this mentality.

Updated here.

in African American, Belly, Postpartum, Second Pregnancy, Submissions, Update

2 comments… add one

  • Marie Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 8:06 pm

    Oh Sweetie, of course you can still dress as a 24yo woman because you are one.
    I’m going to suggest to stop looking at your perceived flaws & start focussing on other things. Perhaps one week, focus on your hair, the next your finger nails etc. If you constantly keep thinking of your stomach region then it’s just going to continue to stress you out.

    And gosh, mothers – gah, I know they raised us but I think they sometimes forget to be human sometimes. I’m 43 & am still hearing about how big I was when I was born — like I had any say how big I was a baby!!

  • Cloey Thursday, February 8, 2018, 8:20 am

    First of all, YAY for physical therapy! It’s going to help you feel better, diastasis recti Fs up your posture and lifting babies along with their various accouterments is WORK. My 37 year old back is NOT thanking me having ignored mine when I was in my 20s, start that shit now while it’s easier. :) It’s also worth mentioning that if you haven’t brought up your belly button with your doctor you should. Diastasis recti likes to cause umbilical hernias, and depending on the size/location they can cause trouble, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it from a physical health standpoint.

    You might never wear your old clothes, I don’t. Focus on finding things that are comfortable and make you feel nice. Don’t worry about the stretch marks, those will do their thing. Instead focus on your physical and mental health. Those are the most important.

    I’m sorry that your mom has such strong negative feelings about her body and that she chose to express them the way she did. :(

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