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Trying Hard to Love my New Body (Anonymous)

April 21, 2009

Firstly I must say how amazing all the women are who have had the courage to reveal themselves proudly and honestly on this site. Also how much I admire women who are proud of their bodies, stretch marks and all, for bringing their babies into the world.

Before getting pregnant I had already started putting on weight heading towards my 30th birthday and had started going to the gym. After just four weeks of this regime I found out I was pregnant. Like many women, in the beginning I didn’t put on that much weight or have stretch marks, it all happened within the space of a week and it was absolutely crushing after trying so hard to be healthy. I was crestfallen, along with swollen ankles, pregnancy to me was not a ripe, luscious time, and I felt huge and ungainly. I wanted to feel that earth mother beauty, but I just felt awkward and huge.

It is a given that I would have done all this again to have my son with me, but it doesn’t take away the shame I feel towards my body and my resentment that it hasn’t bounced back the way I had hoped. I can’t wear the fashion that I want, and must cover my belly with daggy, loose clothes. Shopping has become a downer. It is something I think of everyday. The sleep deprivation that comes with having babies makes anyone feel weak. Things like a poor self-image get blown out of proportion, that’s what makes the post-partum period so hard. Add to this a hard birth and you’ve got the agony and ecstasy of birth/babies all rolled into one.

From the beginning of pregnancy, to now 4.5 months afterwards, I have felt the most unsexiest I have ever felt in my life (now about a year). I have struggled to remain positive about myself and to just bask in the glow of the birth of my absolutely divine boy. It hasn’t come easy and some days I feel like my self-esteem is the lowest it has ever been. My wonderfully supportive partner urges me to have nights off and go out with my friends once in a while, but truly I am embarrassed to go to out to see some music or out in public because I feel so self-conscious and awkward about my body and imagine acquaintances will talk about how much I have let myself go and finding clothes to wear is a drag. Added to this is the fact that almost all my friends who have had children look smaller then they did when before they gave birth. Sometimes nature is fickle and cruel. That breastfeeding helps you lose the pounds is one of the greatest myths of all; for many yes; but I don’t think it has really helped me, apart from being an amazing bonding experience with my son and giving me a ravenous appetite.

This site has been such a help for me, to realize the dignity and power of the female body in giving and nourishing life. Each day I try to remember this, but often I fall prey to the imagery surrounding me everyday. Hollywood has a lot to answer to with its applause of women who starve and exercise themselves straight after giving birth to attain that perfect post-pregnant body.

Just to end this, the one thing however I do love is the soft feel of my belly and its stretch marks, it fascinates me everyday, even if it may appear grotesque to mainstream society, I do see them as life’s natural tattoos.

Age: 30
Number of pregnancies/births: One.
Age of Child: 5 months, 5 months postpartum

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8 Responses to “Trying Hard to Love my New Body (Anonymous)”

  1. Melanie Says:
    April 21st, 2009 at 11:14 am

    it’s amazing how many women on the site seem to post how they think they look and then show pix that just don’t match up! I cant believe you’d think so bad about yourself from these pix. I’m not saying AT ALL how you’re feeling is wrong… just that I hope you will see soon that you have a beautiful body, have great breasts, and a tummy that just needs some TLC. You can get a great figure back, you just need to work extra hard, harder than you’ve worked before. That’s easier said than done, but you only have one life, one body, one mind to deal with it! so pick yourself up and love yourself, work out and eat right and get ready to go show your new self off! and those stretch marks will fade nicely, it all just takes ugh… time! but you’ll get there hot mama :)

  2. Tiffany Says:
    April 21st, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    I look at this site everyday and this is the second time I have ever commented. You remind me of me and what I think–or how I think really. I am getting close to 7 months post partum and I looked ALOT like you 2 months ago. You do look normal and healthy. I still have 13 pounds to go to get to my normal weight, but with balance in every part of my life I know I will get there. One thing that has helped me a lot in this journey is jewelry!!!! I sell a line of Jewelry called “FAITH” Jewelry and let me tell you,I get so many compliments it makes me feel so good. I don’t have a lot of clothes (a lot of black and baggie tank tops to hide the flab) and my friends describe me as “the fashion bug” I gained 75 pounds when I was pregnant and I thought people would be more focused on that but as it turns out they really didn’t. It was liberating to me to find the things I love (like jewelry) and show it off cause whatever you love about yourself ALWAYS COMES OUT.my email is tiffanymmurphy@hotmail.com–feel free to chat

  3. liz Says:
    April 21st, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    thank you for sharing. I’ve been there & it gets better. “life’s natural tattoos” i love that!

  4. Alexis Says:
    April 21st, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    I’ve been coming to this site for over a year and have never commented…until today. You are right on track. Our bodies have a funny way of holding on to a little extra after our babies are born for a much longer time than anyone expects it to. Even with exercising and eating well out bodies just don’t cooperate. It litterally took me a year to loose the last 15 to 20 extra pounds I had and I lost them with no change in my habits at all. My body I guess felt it didn’t need the reserves anymore :) . I wish I had known that when I was where you are…If I had I would have saved myself alot of grief and worry. Try not to worry soo much about it (and I agree with the other post; your pictures don’t match the descrition of yourself). It truly just takes time…Congratulations on you son!

  5. TracyKM Says:
    April 22nd, 2009 at 6:52 am

    You wouldn’t worry so much about what other people think of you if you realized how little they actually are thinking of you :)
    I have actually found that wearing baggy, loose clothes to try to ‘hide’ what’s underneath, made me look bigger and dumpier. Opaque fabric that doesn’t cling hides what’s underneath, but you still need to show your shape…every living person has a ‘shape’ and there’s no reason to try to pretend you don’t, cause that just looks worse :)
    There’s a great British show “How To Look Good Naked” that is really inspiring—it’s not just tricks like spray tan to hide stretch marks, it’s about accepting yourself. You created a human, and no one should care what your body looks like!

  6. kay Says:
    April 22nd, 2009 at 10:16 am

    I agree that your description and pics don’t match up. You look great! A little time at the gym and you’ll be wearing form-fitting clothes in no time! Good luck mom! :)

  7. chelsea Says:
    April 22nd, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Oh, I know what you mean. I felt (and some days still do, 3 years later) that if I were out without my child I would be viewed as dumpy, that I looked okay for having a child, but take that kid out of the equation- a night with the girls- and I felt like crap. I think that you look amazing, and I know how much a body can change over the months and even years after having a child. Do not despair, maybe you have hit a bit of a speed bump, but you will lose the weight. I too was ravenous the first 6-8 months of nursing, it gets better when your son starts solids and is less reliant on your milk (I continued to nurse until my kid was nearly three and did lose the weight). If you are feeling self conscious of your tummy right now, I highly recommend spending 20 bucks on Assets tummy to thigh shaper from Target. It will hold you in and it makes me feel more streamlined in my clothes and more comfortable in my skin. Hang in there, and if you are really having a hard time, there is no shame in asking for help, there are many fantastic anti-depressants on the market that are safe to take while nursing. My best to you and your son!

  8. Christie Says:
    April 23rd, 2009 at 2:23 am

    Oooh! Another belly twin :) You look just like me.

    I put on nearly 25kgs (55pounds) when I was pregnant, mainly because I refused to diet, and ate large quantities of healthy food.

    And I am having the same experience with breastfeeding, I think it is actually causing me to hang onto my last 8kgs (18 pounds). Both because I am starving, and hopefully a hormonal aspect.

    I am almost 10months post partum and I get to the gym 2-3times a week, eat o.k. (not awesome I will admit), and I have toned up a lot but I am still considerably overweight in my opinion and I think I will always have a pooch.

    But 90% of the time I don’t mind, I am too busy enjoying my princess.

    Anyway, sorry for raving on.

    Hang in there mama, you look great :)

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