Number of Pregnancies: 3 pregnancies, 3 births
Children: 5, 3 and 13 months
13 months post-partum
I’ve been reading this website for quite some time and am just gathering the courage to post now. I have always been a fit person- I never had issues with my weight, although I’ve always felt unattractive. I’ve had self esteem issues my whole life due to being teased about my largish nose and always being taller than anyone in my class. I also grew up with significant body image issues. Even though I was fit for my height and age (12 years old), I was encouraged to lose weight by my ballet instructor when I expressed interest in becoming a professional. When my parents decided to sign me up for modeling school, I was told at age 14 (at the time I was 5’9”, 135 lbs.) that I needed to lose at least 30 lbs. if I ever wanted to make it.
I grew up mostly living with my grandparents which is screwed up in its own way, but my grandmother shaped how I thought an attractive woman should look. When she was young, she looked like a movie star or a 1940s pinup girl. She was always large breasted and curvaceous, and told me when I was a little girl that I would look like her one day. Well guess what didn’t happen. When I was a teenager she would always comment that I was too skinny and needed to gain weight so my breasts would grow. She would also buy bras for me that were too small so that my breasts would be pushed up and appear larger.
So I truly did not gain acceptance of my body until I reached my late 20s . Then at the age of 32, I had my first baby. It was one of the best times of my life, I truly enjoyed being a mother and everything seemed right with the world. I did not have issues with my postpartum body at that time because I had very few stretch marks (mostly low on my belly) and my breasts didn’t change much after breastfeeding. After I had my 2nd baby it was a different story. More stretch marks crept up to my belly button and now there was sagging and stretch marks evident in my breasts after I weaned her at 13 months of age. I did not have time to focus on it much, though it did depress me, because my daughter had significant health issues that required surgery at 6 months old.
However, 13 months after having my last baby, I am totally devastated by what my body looks like. My breasts have totally deflated ( I finished bfing 1 month ago), one breast is almost 2 cup sizes bigger than the other and the stretch marks are so deep that my breasts look like they’re 80 years old. My husband is very supportive and tells me I’m beautiful all the time, but whenever I catch a glance at my naked body I actually feel disgust and shame. I wish I could say that I admire it’s ability to create and carry my wonderful children, but I just cry. It’s gotten to the point that I don’t want to have sex with the lights on anymore because if I look at my body while we’re making love, I end up crying when we’re finished. I don’t want this to ruin our sex life and I feel like my body shame impacts my mood almost daily. How do I get past the negative thoughts that nag me day and night, and how do I get to the point where I don’t feel like crying everytime I see myself naked? How do I get some confidence back? I want to feel sexy again for my and my husband’s sake!