5 Months PP and struggling with PPD and body image (MB)

Age: 25
Number of births: 1
Months PP: 5

I am 25 years old and a stay at home mom and wife. I had Hyperemesis during the entirety of my pregnancy and only gained 5 lbs, but seeing as I was already “obese” at 196 lbs when I found out I was expecting my OB said not to worry (easy for them to say, they should try puking 6-14 times a day for 9 months straight!). I delivered my baby 5 months ago via emergency c-section after 18 hours of labor. (I cried so hard when they prepped me for surgery I puked. Last thing I wanted to do at the time).

I am 5’4″ and the last time I was weighed I was 195 (1 month PP) although I feel I’ve lost a few more lbs. I weighed 225 lbs before delivery of my son. Although my hips, thighs, butt and tummy grew, the only part that bothers me is the extra skin hanging down over the bulge left on my belly. Cute bras and panties can cover sagging breasts and big lumpy butts, but hiding a deflated, shriveled belly is harder. I’ve always been short with broad shoulders and wide hips, but my waist has always been tiny giving me an exaggerated hour glass shape that I loved.
I struggled to breastfeed even when doctors told me to give up and just accept formula. My son had a shallow latch and I was not producing milk so he would get frustrated and suckle furiously leaving blisters and broken skin. I had to switch to pumping and refused to give up (I had one episode where I broke down in hysterics because I pumped blood, lovely right?). Through internet research I have found out that I have hyperlastic tuberous breasts and therefore lack a significant amount of breast tissue. After finding out the reason for my lack of milk production and I am overjoyed to announce that I finally am able to almost exclusively breastfeed with only one 4 oz bottle of formula given a day! I no longer blame myself for poor milk production, its a common birth defect and I overcame it in the best way I could.

I am struggling with my body and how ruined it is as well as pp depression (which isn’t helping things). My husband insists that he loves my new body (He went nuts when he discovered how big my butt was getting during the pregnancy) but it’s hard to believe a man who turns down his wife’s advances when the baby is put to bed only to masturbate to porn after she too goes to bed (sobbing). I struggled late in the pregnancy as well because he had been watching “pregnant porn” and barely touching me all the while I was feeling friskier than ever. Why other look at pregnant women and not the one right in front of him? I thought it was just fear of hurting the baby, but he hasn’t stopped. This has also attributed to my lack of confidence. I’ve tried hard to talk to him about it but he gets defensive and angry and tells me “Its just what guys do” and that “I wasn’t giving him what he needed” (this was 4 weeks after surgery while I was hemorrhaging and was in pain) In all other aspects he’s an amazing husband and father, always going out of his way to do what’s best for our son and me.

I am now trying to stop focusing on my belly and focus on the tiny boy who loves to lay on it.

The first pic is of my 5 month pp belly. You can see where a stretch mark popped outwards into a little bubble. 2nd is a side view where you can see the “mother’s apron”

5 thoughts on “5 Months PP and struggling with PPD and body image (MB)

  • Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I meant to say I only gained 5 lbs in the first 5 months and then quickly gained the other 24 lbs when I was put on bedrest for complications.

  • Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    First off, you JUST had a baby! You need much more time to heal. A cesarean is major surgery…people forget this because it is done so often…but it is still surgery (I am your age and have had 2). You need time to heal from surgery, birth, and pregnancy. Give yourself time. You look quite good for 5 months pp :)

    Congratulations on being able to breast feed! It is the best thing ever. I loved it (did it with my 2nd baby for almost 2 years).

    Lastly…your husband sounds so unsupportive. This makes me so sad for you. You are beautiful, AND you had HIS baby. He should love you…his wife and the mother of his child. If my husband watched porn I would be so sad as well. I hope it all works out for you and that he grows up.

    Good luck Mama!

  • Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Im am sorry to hear your pain. I can almost feel it coming through our words. I myself have delt with my own body issues from pregnancy. I have two babies. While I’ve always been thin, and didn’t gain a lot of weigh with either pregnancy (I always measured small), I gained my fair share of stretch marks. I almost thought i would escape them till they started popping up in my eighth month. I used to have a pierced naval for a short time when I was 19 and I even have a nice stretch mak scar right below it. It looks pretty goofy. My size d breasts grew to a size g while breastfeeding. I was left with deflated saggy bags at the age of 25, that’s pretty upsetting. I did have a supportive husband who still found me sexy, even though I thought I was the most hideous scarred thing alive. I am sorry for you that you didn’t have that support. Shame on him and his pathetic excuse that’s what all men do, that’s simply not true.

  • Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 12:55 am

    I was right there with you for some of this, in spirit. I, too, had hyperemesis throughout my pregnancy and the doctors weren’t taking it very seriously– not that there’s anything they can do short of knocking you out. Which they did. I moved from ginger and crackers (if I ever hear that suggestion from anyone again, I will slap him/her), to dramamine, to promethizine (sp?), to a pill prescribed for chemo patients that cost $20 each and my insurance would only cover 9 a *month*.

    I barely looked pregnant until I hit 8 months, then I finally got a recognizable belly and the deep red stretch marks to go with it. After a birthing experience that included a failed epidural and FOUR HOURS of pushing (my daughter was crowning the whole time, but not moving out), I had a forceps delivery and episiotomy as well as a third degree tear. I had to sit on a donut pillow for weeks. And I didn’t stop bleeding for months. Literally. Two months of blood.

    I couldn’t bread feed because my nipples are flat, I couldn’t sit down comfortably because my stitches would pull, and because we found out at 8 weeks that my daughter had torticolis, which prevented her from being able to turn her head properly. I was able to pump 3 oz a day for about 2 weeks before I just gave up. I had no support.

    The PPD/PPA kicked in 2 days after delivery, and I couldn’t stop sobbing and panicking. I was convinced I had made the worst mistake of my life and that I’d have to give her up for adoption. My thinking was so messed up I tried to figure out the exact speed I would need to drive my car into a post so that I could go into a coma, but not die. It took me four months to get help.

    In that time before I got help, I went down to 10 lbs lighter than I was before I got pregnant because I wasn’t eating and because my daughter consumed so much of my body. She weighed 8 lbs 9 oz at birth, and yet at times I was subsisting on no more than 600 calories a day and a prenatal vitamin. My female friends used terms like “lucky” to describe my thinness, not understanding that I couldn’t take care of myself. By breasts (size 34G) and belly were soft and deflated, I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror, my vagina was all sorts of scar tissue and strange lumps where the stitches were tied off. I had no interest in sex. I still don’t, and my daughter just turned 3.

    With a lot of help and medication, I’m through the worst part of the PPD/PPA, although I still dread spending time alone with her. She exhausts me to my core the second I see she’s in a bad mood, and bad moods are frequent at age 3.

    My body resumed its pre-pregnancy weight, but after spending 2.5 years under that weight it now feels too big. Once again, I’m not taking proper care of myself, choosing comfort food high in fat and sugar and spending my days as sedentary as possible.

    It’s a journey, and it’s your own journey. The year after a first baby is born is the hardest year a marriage can suffer. Everyone is overtired, everyone is body-conscious, your husband might not feel emotionally connected to you because of the depression, he might feel helpless and that he can’t ask you to do any more, so porn is an outlet were he doesn’t have to worry that he’s violating the mother of his child or that he’s bothering or hurting you. My husband also used porn when it became clear that sex was now a chore that I resented, but it’s pretty far down on my list of things to fix right now.

    Just know that you’ll get through it. It’s so hard. Nobody tells you the truth and there are no guarantees and nothing is predictable. As soon as a schedule is established, Baby changes the rules. It’s like that for the first year. The second year gets better in terms of scheduling and compliance. They learn to talk more, you start seeing more of their personality. Use this time to prepare yourself for age 3. You will be stronger by then. You will know your baby better by then. Your body will have regained some of its lost elasticity. Ignore the mothers who obsessively work off their mommy aprons and concentrate on getting to a size you’re physically comfortable with. That could be a size 22 or 28, not a double zero. The nice part about being a mom is nobody really expects you to be super-thin. In fact, other women get pissed off at you if you are.

    Get some medical help for the depression. No one should have to live like that. It will pass. It will get better. It’s OK to put your baby first while he’s an infant, but as he grows into toddlerhood remember that you, too, are a person, just as entitled to fun, healthy food, cool clothes and cool toys. You’re still you, you just have someone whose needs come before your own for the near future. And don’t be afraid to set strict hours of “off duty” time. When my husband finished work, it was his turn with the baby. No exceptions. I got two hours to do whatever the heck I wanted to do, and if that meant banning them from the house, I did it.

    Love and luck to you.

  • Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I look just like this at 5 months PP. It does go back up! I promise you! It might not be 100% back to normal but it does go up. I was so discouraged by the belly hang but with some diet and work out I got it to go away!

    You are a beautiful and wonderful mother! They love you no matter what your tummy looks like. Remember your tummy is what held on to those sweet little babies from the second they began life!

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