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Struggling to Accept My Body’s Changes (Anonymous)

August 9, 2009

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!

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16 Responses to “Struggling to Accept My Body’s Changes (Anonymous)”

  1. Mary Says:
    August 9th, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    You look great, just be patient. I have my boobs done in between kids and now Im wishing I had waited till I was done having them… oh well, yours look like they survived the pregnancy well! It def takes time, just enjoy the ride mama!

  2. AMANDA Says:
    August 9th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    ur so beautiful

  3. Melissa Says:
    August 9th, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    My labor was very much the same as yours and I also had wanted a natural birth so much that I hired a doula. My water broke at 9pm Monday, induced 11am Tuesday, epidural 6pm Tuesday, birth 2:30am Wednesday. I had a midwife so a c-section wasn’t mentioned because of the amount of time but because my son got stuck while I was pushing. I did end up with a vaginal birth which I’m thankful for but I really beat myself up for the rest. I also had PPD, I have a huge list of failed expectations which I’m sure led to it. I didn’t get treatment and feel like I’m over it but am now talking with someone about getting treatment next time around. You look wonderful and I hope everything else in life gets worked out.

  4. brenda Says:
    August 9th, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Honey you look a little more curvy from before, but that’s it.

    plus your boobs look great and young.

    Don’t you worry…you’ll lose the lbs, and you’ll look perfect. But even now, you look great.

  5. Sarah Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 12:34 am

    That would break my heart not to be able to breastfeed, so I can imagine your pain. You look beautiful! Do remember that you’re only 7 months postpartum! That really isn’t very long at all. I read somewhere that it can take 2-3 years post partum for a woman’s body to heal. I know that I lost the bulk of my weight around a year and a half post partum, aside from the large initial weight loss of course.

  6. Shayna Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 6:26 am

    Check out the Unbelievabra… it works miracles. It is a bra and bodyshaper in one. It will give you your confidence back. -Shay

  7. Christie Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Hon you look great for 7months PP! In fact you look great for any time really :)

    Your belly has a lovely curve and your boobs survived the ride beautifully :)

    I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with breastfeeding and experienced PPD *hug*

    At the very least give your body 9months to “recover” from pregnancy, although I’d say realistically most people need more time to get to a level where they are comfortable with themselves.

    I was 63kgs at conception (139pounds) which is a little above my “goal weight” I am 5’7″. At 13months PP I am 68.5kgs (151pounds) My highest pregnancy weight was around 83kgs (183pounds) which my OB was perfectly happy with and I delivered a healthy 8pound girl :)

    I guess the point I am trying to make is for most people I know it does take over a year to get back to close to pre-preg and that is even with good diet and regular exercise. Give yourself a break, you look amazing and you created life xoxo Goodluck on your journey :)

  8. 16married17first baby Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    omg u look good!your stomach looks smoothe..unlike mine..mine has stretch marks everywhere and looks wrinkly and the skin jus hangs there!you look good girl!

  9. Kat Says:
    August 12th, 2009 at 7:35 am

    You look absolutely fine to me! My body has also changed in shape since having my little boy, but I’m learning to love it. You should be proud you carried your baby, any stretchmarks etc will gradually fade away. You like fab!

  10. Astrid Says:
    August 12th, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    I think you look good in both your before- and after-pictures, but I actually like the after-picture better. You look so WOMANLY and very, very sexy. I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. I also wish you wouldn’t have to feel stigmatized about your weigth or your size in clothes. They are just numbers, they do not mean anything! What is important is that you see that you are an amazing person and you are so worthy of love. I wish you good luck with everything.

  11. Heather Says:
    August 13th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    you look great for being a mommy! :D

  12. Mike Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Sorry to hear abour your struggle, but I think you look great.

  13. Steve Says:
    September 1st, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    You’ve got a great pair of tats ;-)

  14. Bill Bartmann Says:
    September 2nd, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! :)

  15. Meaghan Says:
    September 28th, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    you look amazing! keep working on loving yourself the way you are now, it’ll help you love yourself even more when you get closer to your goal weight. I love the ink too. :)

  16. leahh Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    u are so beautiful..Im struggling to lose 15lbs, and it sux.. not the exercising, or food monitoring.. Its the number on my scale, and thats a hard thing to face.

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