My Age: 29
1 Pregnancy, 1 Birth
7 Months Postpartum
I was 27 years old when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I was 28 when I delivered him. My husband was 28 as well. I had separated from the military, married my husband, and gotten pregnant all within 8 months so to say my life was changing is an understatement! My husband was (and still is) on active duty in the military. We found out shortly after our first ultrasound at 9 weeks that he would be deploying overseas. He left at 15 weeks and was gone up until 3 weeks before our son arrived. It was very tough to be pregnant with no family around and only 1 or 2 friends for support. I also lost my grandfather during this time. I believe that everything going on during the pregnancy, as well as the circumstances directly afterward, set me up for postpartum depression.
My water broke 4 days before my due date around 10 pm. We went to the hospital first thing the next morning because my contractions weren’t picking up on their own. I wanted a natural childbirth and I was devastated when I ended up on pitocin. My husband didn’t understand how important natural childbirth was for me and he didn’t support me in trying to get that in a hospital setting. I was on pitocin for 9 hours until I asked for the epidural. It was 8 more hours before our son was born. The staff kept pushing a c-section because it had been so long since my water had broken, but I refused and I am so glad I did at least get the vaginal birth I had hoped for.
I had gotten breast implants in 2006, they were put in via an incision around the nipple and placed under the muscle. I was curvy on the bottom and always felt out of proportion. I felt so good about my breasts and my body after the surgery. The plastic surgeon had assured me I’d be able to breastfeed one day and my OB told me the same. I was again devastated when that wasn’t the case. My right breast functioned but my left did not. I barely produced any colostrum and later could only get a small bit of breastmilk from the left, about a quarter ounce at the most. My son would scream and scream when I put him on the left breast from frustration at sucking and not getting enough out. I ended up supplementing because of this, I didn’t feel confident that he could get adequate milk from the right side only.
The first 3 months postpartum I struggled hard with body acceptance issues and postpartum depression. I weighed 145 when I left the military and started gaining weight from having a sedentary job and not exercising. I was 160 when I got pregnant and weighed 205 at delivery. The first 2 weeks postpartum I dropped 15 pounds. I had expected to lose more right away and felt there was something wrong with me when it didn’t happen. I was stuck there at 190 until the end of February (that’s when I started trying much harder to drop pounds) and I felt disgusting because of it. I wore sizes that made me ashamed because I couldn’t shop in the sections or stores that I used to. My husband didn’t look at me the same way either and didn’t even try to help me feel better (we’re now going through couples counseling for many issues we’re having). I felt so guilty that I couldn’t exclusively breastfeed. We had moved at 6 weeks postpartum to a new duty station where I knew no one so I felt even more isolated and lonely. I began to feel angry all the time, I cried frequently, I told family and friends I hated my life. I lashed out at my husband and even started to resent my baby and feel angry at him because in my head it seemed like he caused so much of it all. I realized things weren’t right and went to my doctor. I started taking medication for postpartum depression, stopped breastfeeding completely, and saw a counselor. I felt much better almost immediately, I’m off medication today but I wish I had started it sooner.
I’m 7 months postpartum now and weigh 170. My goal is to reach 145 again, that was my weight in the pre-pregnancy pictures. I don’t know if it will ever happen or not, right now I’d be satisfied with losing another 10 or 15. I still have a stigma attached to the sizes I have to buy. I’m nowhere near fitting into any of my old stuff and I hate buying new clothes until I lose more weight. I realize my body has changed – my butt, hips, and thighs are wider, I have back fat that made me go up in bra size, the pooch on my tummy shows through my shirts – but I don’t know yet how to come to grips with that. I have tons of clothes in storage that I’ll probably never wear again, that’s the worst part because I had a great wardrobe. Even if I do lose all the weight I’d like to, he shape of my body has changed so much that the old clothes won’t fit right anyway. Maybe one day I’ll be okay with this, I’m continuing to work on self-acceptance. For now I’m happy that I get to be mommy to a beautiful, smart and fun little boy!