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Body Image Issues; My Partner Gives No Support (Anonymous)

October 1, 2012

Age: 27
# of pregnancies: 2
# of births: 2
Children’s ages: 21 months and 2 months

First off, I think I may be having symptoms of part partum depression, but I’m not sure. I know I should talk to my doctor, but I don’t want to be put on medication. My issues don’t affect my daughters, since I still take care of them just fine, but I find myself sitting around crying all the time because of the way I look now.

I’ve never been a vain person, but I was always made fun of in middle and high school because of being so pale and I wasn’t one of the “rich” kids (we lived in a wealthy neighborhood because my dad built our house, not because they bought it, so I went to a wealthy middle and high school) and well, I’m not sure why else other than that kids are just cruel. I’ve been SO upset about my body since my first pregnancy. I tried so SO hard not to get stretch marks with the first one and managed to stay that way…until the last week. I got preeclampsia with my first daughter so I had to be induced. The induction wasn’t working and they were already predicting her to be a large baby, so it was suggested that I get a C-section. I wasn’t thrilled about ANY of it since I wanted to do things all natural. Let’s just say that everything I PLANNED didn’t happen.

I was beyond thrilled when I saw my daughter for the first time and I loved her immediately, but one look at my body and I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. She didn’t want to breastfeed, no matter WHAT I tried, so I didn’t have that venue to lose weight and since I’d had a C-section, I couldn’t do anything for weeks. I tried Pilates, but I don’t have the money to take real classes so the church class I was taking just confused me and left me worse for the wear than before.

I got pregnant again when my first daughter was 10 months old, so that put an end to any form of weight loss. During both pregnancies, I didn’t gain a ton of weight, but I’ve never been a “small” person as it is. I’ve been what I would consider average, but with some extra fat on my hips and thighs (closer to a pear shape). Now – I’m like a deformed apple – it seems like all kinds of extra fat migrated to my midsection during both pregnancies and then you throw in the saggy skin and it’s a recipe for gross.

My partner and I aren’t married (for financial reasons more than anything), but we’ve been together for going on 7 years. Before I got pregnant he never told me things like how beautiful I am, etc. but it didn’t bother me because I didn’t look the way I do now – ruined. If he would have left, I could have started over with someone else no worse for wear. Now, if he left, he walks away looking no different, but what man would want someone who looks like I do because of some other guy??? I feel SO disgusting and all I do is cry, but he just walks off and doesn’t talk or anything until I stop. It’s like ignoring my feelings will make them go away for him. To make things worse, he’s got a complete porn obsession that he doesn’t even hide. How can I compete with the girls in those??? People say that men’s attraction to porn has nothing to do with their attraction or feelings towards their significant other, but I disagree because what’s the point in looking at that stuff unless it’s something they LIKE?? It’s already hard enough since I feel so crappy about myself from being so pale and having unperfect teeth and having extra fat as it is.

People tell me “Well work out and it should tighten to skin” but any exercise I HAD done only made a tiny dent on it and now since I’ve had another daughter, the stretch marks and saggy skin are way worse. I don’t have the money or time to go to a gym and I don’t have the money to buy any at-home exercise stuff. Honestly, I barely have time to do anything because I take care of an almost 2 year old and 2 month old on top of going to school ¾ time online for biotechnology (so it’s not an easy degree program). I could change majors, but then I would just drop out because I’m not going to waste my time getting a degree in something that I don’t really want to do.

You’ll be able to see in the pictures how my belly sticks out more than my boobs now – and I’m a full D size, so that’s saying something.
I just wanted to get all this off my chest and see if anyone else has been in a similar situation with their body and their significant other being an emotional and mental anemic towards them.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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21 Responses to “Body Image Issues; My Partner Gives No Support (Anonymous)”

  1. Danielle Says:
    October 1st, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Beloved you are beautiful!!! My heart aches for the depth of how u view urself , cuz I “used” to feel just like that about myself, an delt with the porn thing with my now husband. I love sharing to woman an encouraging them that you are the crown of creation!! Ur VALUE is far above rubies and pearls!! Im not here to preach, but speak and say what I believe is completly true!! We re FEARFULLY & WONDERFULLY made!!! I stoped needing my husbands words to let me “feel” beautiful. I needed to know that I already am! Theres NO ONE in the entire planet like u!! do you know how is unique and crazy awesome that is!!! you might not believe this but I bet money on that there’s women who passed by you who wish they look like you!! There so much to say an encourage! If youd like to talk some more or ask anything…my email is ddameron_21@yahoo.com.

  2. D Says:
    October 1st, 2012 at 10:31 am

    The others see us how we see ourselves. That is really true. I have similar stretch marks to yours but i never mentioned to my partner that i got them and that i feel ugly now (indeed i also feel ugly, but i kept this to myself). You know what? He never noticed that i got stretch marks. If you keep telling him, how ugly you feel, he will also start thinking like that. So just do so as if nothing changed at your body and show your self confidence about your body (you dont have to have sex when all lights are on :-) )

  3. Sarah P. Says:
    October 1st, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    When I was reading, before I saw your picture, I was expecting you to look VERY DIFFERENT than you were describing yourself. First of all, you look great for only being 8 weeks postpartum! I mean, you had two kids in a row and you’re only 8 weeks pp and you look AMAZING IMO. And as far as medication goes, it really is a lot like a vitamin, as easy as it is. And there’s no reason not to take one. As far as taking care of your kids – I’m glad you’re taking care of your children! But are you cherishing their babyhood? It flies by so quickly! Should it be marred by sadness or colored by a young mother’s joy? When you look back at this time in your life when you’re 45 or 95, will it be a joyous and wonderful time in your life? Or will you think, “I hated having young babies!” I urge you to talk to your doctor so you can cherish these times sooner rather than later – or not at all.

  4. Anonymous Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 5:08 am

    I’m sorry that you feel so bad about yourself. I have been in the same place, hating my ruined body while my boyfriend used every free minute to watch porn. Many times I had told him how much that hurt me and asked him to stop, but it took him months and an ultimatum (porn or me) to finally come to the conclusion that I was serious. Things got better from that point.

    And I also thought that I might have been suffering from PPD but also refused to see a doctor because I didn’t want to be put on medication that would force me to stop breastfeeding. But it took me over one and a half year with lots of crying and hating myself and today I think I should have asked for help.

    I hope you can find somebody to talk to and become better! You are a beautiful person and don’t derserve to feel so bad about yourself!

  5. MJ Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 10:32 am

    You are beautiful don’t quit school please don’t!! I would try and go for a walk just to get out of house. I had ppd with my third and walking seemed to help me.. I didn’t get help either and should’ve but I was stubborn and thought ill just be happy lol and there were days I was and then days I didn’t care and sat around and did nothing… Look yourself in the mirror everyday and tell yourself im gorgeous and I deserve the best I’m a good mom and SO and I’m worthy of being treated with repect cause you are :)

  6. kole Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    This is perfectly normal. You’re beautiful and just need to love who you are.

  7. mrspetunia Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Youtube has some great free workout videos that I’ve used. I like step aerobics and they even have full length hour long videos up! I also bought my P90x on ebay for a fraction of the retail cost. Perhaps these would be options for you? Your local library may also have some videos that you could checkout before investing in them to see if they are up your alley. Anyway, I think you look fabulous and hope you start to feel that way as well!

  8. WesleyJ Says:
    October 2nd, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    You look perfect. A proud baby pouch! Get treated for the PP depression. It’s a dark place you don’t want to stay in. Nothing wrong with some help.

    xox

  9. Barbara Says:
    October 3rd, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I think you look GREAT. It’s only been 2 months. With my first cesarean, my pouch was hanging half way down my legs- it was really gross. I looked exactly like you do know- 2 years after. Now with my second cesarean I used an abdominal binder before getting out of bed. I’ve been wearing the abdominal binder for 2 weeks even though I have a pouch it doesn’t hang like last time. This time I’m committed to doing exercises to shrink it up. If you do a google search there are plenty of women in the same boat that did exercises and show before and after pictures. It’s really encouraging to look at. In the meantime, while you’re still recovering, enjoy your baby. You really do not look that bad for being 8 weeks post partum. I bet when you do feel well enough to exercise the pouch will eventually go down some…

  10. jojoz Says:
    October 5th, 2012 at 9:23 am

    You actually look great! Like others your description made it sound way worse than it is. You’ll be fine! A couple things you said jumped out.

    First, your husband isn’t providing support when you are upset. From personal experience dealing with my awesome but clueless husband, he might literally not understand how to comfort others who are visibly upset. Try to explain to him what to do in excruciating detail: e.g. “If I start crying, put your arms around me and rub my back. Then tell me that everything is going to be okay, and you love me.” When I told my husband this he was like “Really, that’s all I have to do??” Then he did it and I felt better! :D

    Second when people say men’s use of porn has nothing to do with their attraction to their partner, that really only applies if they are actually satisfying their partner’s needs! It’s very selfish of him to use porn openly if he is not making an effort to pay sexual attention to you also.

  11. Meghan Says:
    October 5th, 2012 at 9:43 am

    First I want to say how amazing you are for having two young kids and going to school. You rock! You look really good to me for 8 weeks post pardum. I would really talk to your doctor about the PPD, I had it too and it really affected how I appreciated my daughter’s early babyhood :( they grow and change so fast (as you know) I wish I had been able to cherish it more. But medicine does help and if you can talk to someone about it even better. *big hugs*

  12. Lynley Says:
    October 6th, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I think the problem here is your relationship – it sounds like that loss of self esteem that comes from feeling uncherished. Maybe you deserve better? I am 36 weeks pregnant and have struggled with the body changes, but I get nothing from my love except how beautiful and sexy I am – even 40 lb heavier!!! It has been a lifesaver as I go through this change. Gosh I hope this helps rather than hurts, it just seems that you might need to find the one who makes you feel beautiful no matter what – we are all going to be old and unattractive one day, ask yourself what old age would be like with your man.

  13. Shawna Says:
    October 8th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Im almost 5 weeks PP & I’m feeling the same way extremely depressed about the way I look. Maybe it’s because I’m on my phone but when I clicked on your picture I didn’t see any stretch marks! I think you look great and if you are truly depressed you should go talk to your doctor or at least a counselor it really does help a lot to be able to talk to somebody! I don’t kno your husband but I think sometimes it’s just hard for them to relate to us and our feelings when I would cry my husband would just walk away and leave me alone and I felt like he just didn’t care but in reality he cares very much and said it just seemed like I always got more upset when he pushed me to talk to him. So maybe just try to be honest with him and tell him how he’s making you feel. Oh and the porn thing I had to deal with too! I think men are just disgusting lol I just try not to think about it anymore

  14. Kami Says:
    October 9th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I just want to say that I just discovered this site and I am thrilled tsar I am not alone. Know also that u are biut alone.we are mommies and we should be proud of that. I have always had low self steem and def struggled with depression. My body was bad after my daughter (22months) but now way worse after my son (3 weeks) but now just knowing I am alone has encourage d me to look at myself on a new light.we are all members of asn elite group of incredibly loving and nurturing moms who have learned to love another being more than our selves.but we need not stop loving ourselves for our children will love us unconditionally no matter how we look and we need to show them that we do too.
    As for ppd I have talked to my dr and will start counseling soon and medd if necessary because you need to be yourself for the sale of you r kids and you…you never want took back and realize you missed even a second our a day with your child not because yout went there but because your mind wasn’t there to take them in in all their wonder and excitement. Please take care of yourself and family and just know yout world is bigger now as should be the things that worry your heart.you have much bigger fish to fry.such as college funds and creating a right bond with yout baby than to even think about your body.
    Wow I came on here looking for my own encouragement fr how I have been feeling and now I have either into the encourager..lol well god luck in life and mother hood im syre u r doinh great. email if u need asn ear our a friend

  15. K8 Says:
    October 10th, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I’m pregnant now with my first child, but I have to tell you you look better post pregnancy than I looked pre pregnancy. Have you told your partner how you feel? 7 years is a big commitment that requires mutual support, he should be open to comforting you and reassuring you, but sometimes with men you have to just spell it out. I’ve been with my husband for 12 years, and he didn’t always anticipate my needs on his own. Talk to each other, and believe that you are beautiful. Nothing in this life is more meaningful or beautiful than bringing a baby into the world.

  16. jen Says:
    October 17th, 2012 at 5:21 am

    Hi, I read all your story and thought: “My god she must look so bad” and when I saw your pics I realized that it wasn’t bad at all.

    To be honest your belly looks like mine and I haven’t had children. So, I’m sure you’ll be fine, if you want I can take a photo of me so that you can judge by yourself and see that it’s not that bad.

    About your husband…try to communicate this to him in another way. Here’s one idea: summarize your post and record a video in less than 8 minutes (highest attention span) and send it to his email. In this way he’ll get the essential information without interruptions. Or simply write him a letter.
    Forget about the competing with porn stars, there are things that we simply can’t change.

    Finally go to the doctor maybe they can give you some meds for the post partum depression.

    Good luck !

  17. mel Says:
    October 26th, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Hi, I was like alot of others who commented, i was thinking wow she must look pretty bad. But you look really good trust me my stomach is flat but has stretch marks all over it ur tummy really doesn’t look that bat at all, i have been in the same position as yourself. Ive had 3 children and I was weighing 100kgs after my third child. My partner now husband after my third child was not supportive I use to cry alot about how bad my body looked but he use to say really nasty stuff to me about my body and secretly looked up porn. I gave him an ultimatum.. it worked obviously :) . I lost weight, tightened and toned up, I’ve been a personal trainer for a couple of years now and i have the privilage of helping others to gain confidence.
    I hope you will not let your partner hinder your desire to live a fullfilled life, you deserved to be loved and cherished and he should know that.
    Enjoy your children because time does fly past…and keep studying because the possibilities are limitless in this world and you can show ur children that mummy never gives up no matter what life throws at you

    Here are some tips for your fitness: Walking first thing in the morning for 45mins will help fire ur metabolism and look up bodyrock.com they have some fun workouts as well as meals.

    You can do it, you need to believe you are worth more then you feel now.You are beautiful…

    good luck

  18. Sandy Says:
    November 6th, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Hi there, I’m so sorry you’re hurting this much, sometimes I just want to reach through the monitor and slap a man – lol! Anyway – I’m a counsellor and I think you’re right when you say you’re suffering from PPD. I’d never discourage anyone from taking meds, but I want to say that there are other things you can do that help as well and that are free! For example, put your babies into a stroller and go for a walk, even if it’s only five minutes a day. Walking out in the fresh air does all kinds of great things for your brain chemistry. Also make sure you’re eating well yourself. Remember that your body has just made TWO babies, and it will take a bit of time and good nutrition for your body to change itself from being pregnant to not being pregnant. Your body makes a whole lot of extra tissue and blood vessels and so on, to support a baby growing inside you. It takes a good while to unmake that all, so to speak.
    I’m sad also that your SO isn’t giving you the support you want, I so agree with the earlier poster who said “tell him exactly what you want him to do when you’re upset”. There’s convincing research which says that when a man is bonded to a woman (and two babies says “bond” to me!), when she cries it causes a physical pain in him – which is why men will often walk away because they get overwhelmed by their own reaction! So when you’re NOT upset, tell him what to do when you ARE upset and you might need to coach him a little when you are upset so he remembers what you asked. I know it sucks to be a mother to him as well, when you need nurturing yourself.
    When you’re most upset do this interesting breathing technique – breathe right out, then breathe in while you count to 4, hold your breath for the count of 4, breathe right out to the count of 4, hold no breath for a count of 4, and then do it again, a few cycles. At first you’ll feel like you’re gasping for breath but stick with it, in just a couple of days it will be easier and you’ll feel calmer because that’s how it works, it eases the upset.
    So now we have three actions for you:
    1. Go for a walk every day, even if it’s only for five minutes.
    2. Tell your man what you need him to do when you’re upset.
    3. Do the breathing exercise.
    And all the bigger stuff can wait until you’re feeling stronger. Honest, do these three little things and you’ll feel a tiny bit better each day.

  19. Monica P Says:
    January 20th, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Honey, it seems like a bunch of us have been here; mourning the loss of our pre-baby bodies, shocked by the body that greets us after baby, and just plain confused, hurt and angry by the whole process!

    Men are a bit stunted in my opinion when it comes to knowing how to emotionally supportive in this area. Their bodies don’t change, and they aren’t pumped with estrogen like us, plus have the hormone changes along with possible thyroid changes that come along with pregnancy, which by the way can last up to a YEAR postpartum (hormone shifts). If you don’t want to be treated with meds for depression, then DON’T. But DO talk to a counselor or therapist to help you learn to love yourself and your body. You have been through a big change and you—your spirit and soul—need to be loved, comforted, and lifted up!!

    Porn? Such a huge insult to the amazing connection God intended for us to have with our partners through sexual intimacy. That’s why it’s so hurtful for men to go and use it at the drop of a hat…we feel unwanted, unloved, unbeautiful, unable to perform in the ways they expect. Well f-THAT!!! We’re on a whole ‘nother level sister, we have created and birthed a BEING from within our bodies. Love yourself and tell your man you will not put up with his insensitivity to what you have both just been through and created, ESPECIALLY the hit you’ve taken to your body. Ask him to start helping you exercise if it bothers him so much, or to help make you healthy meals while you’re recovering. Sometimes we have to tell our men where to get off and then hope they get the hint so we can get back to loving and moving forward again!!

    Those girls in porn ain’t got nothing on you, girl! Demand to be treated with respect and love on yourself really hard. Treat yourself to counseling, find supportive friends, start strengthening your mind and spirit…we have to FIGHT sometimes to get through these humps after baby.

    Right by ur side, sister…
    Monica

  20. C Says:
    February 22nd, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Hi lady -

    I am so sorry about what you have been going through. As far as the tummy being bigger than my boobs, I suffered from that for quite a while! I don’t recall it really going down until after 8 months, at least. It has taken time and is still shrinking after nearly 16 months, along with all the other aspects of my healing postpartum body.

    I agree with Monica P. I cannot refrain from saying how disgusting I think it is that there are so many stories of postpartum women ON THIS SITE, even, suffering from the change in their image who say ‘and then I found out my husband was looking at porn…’ and I was like, this is BULLSH*T! I’m sorry but really, it is.

    You deserve better. He deserves one chance to do better and just like Monica said, demand to be treated with respect and love. I don’t know if I could put up with a guy like that. I hate seeing on tv shows how there is some chubby, half shaved sloppy guy on a sitcom married to a woman obviously younger and hotter than he is. I see this idea permeating culture everywhere.

    Anyways – when you can find the time, maybe if the school schedule changes or you find you can shift things around when your newer baby gets a bit older – then you can exercise if you want. Right now, it seems harder for you to do it, and that’s ok!

    I wish you the best. Sending you much love!

  21. Breth01 Says:
    June 20th, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I agree with Sarah, that when I was reading your post that what you described is not what I was expecting to scroll down and see in your picture. Continue to love your babies and I hope that you can love for yourself and look past small imperfections, because other people do not see those small imperfections. You look wonderful, and you should feel wonderful. You have two kids who you love. Good luck :)

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