Admitting It (Anonymous)

I found out I was pregnant on Thanksgiving Day 2009. I just kind of knew, and I took a pregnancy test early that morning. I then ran to the store and took several more — all positive. My emotions were all over the place, as the father was someone I was only casually dating and I had no idea what his reaction would be. We had faithfully been using protection. I told him a few weeks later, and his reaction was not a good one. It became evident early on that he was choosing not to be involved. Though I regularly sent him updates during my pregnancy, we haven’t spoken in 10 months. So I settled into the reality that I was going to be a single mother, and struggled with the stigma that is unfortunately attached to that title. I suffered from depression throughout my pregnancy, but was carried through by an amazing support system of friends, my midwife and a social worker I had been seeing. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes around 24 weeks and struggled to control it with diet until the end of my pregnancy. Unfortunately, my blood sugar got out of control toward the end (this is typical of GD) and I was hospitalized and put on insulin. I stayed in the hospital the last two weeks of my pregnancy, and my daughter was born vaginally on July 20, 2010.

I’ve never been a petite woman, and I guess I have always technically been “plus-sized.” I was a size 16 pre-pregnancy and weighed around 210 lbs. I never really had issues with body image though — I liked my breasts and knew how to dress my body to feel attractive. I gained around 40 lbs during my pregnancy, and the last month or so stretch marks started to appear everywhere. They weren’t just on my belly, but on my sides, arms, thighs and breasts. They didn’t bother me at the time as all my focus was on trying to stay healthy enough to deliver a full-term baby (I was just over 37 weeks when she was born).

I’m now almost 4 months post-partum, and I’ve been lying to everyone concerning how I feel about my body. I’ve told people that I’m proud of my stretch marks, that my breasts are feeding my child so its ok that they are saggy, that I’ve accepted that my stomach hangs down and I’m fine with it. I’m not. Taking pictures for this submission was the first time I have stood fully naked in front of a mirror since having my daughter, and I hate what I see. I have stretch marks for days and if I sit down without a bra I can actually make my nipples touch my belly button! My belly is all fat and loose skin and it hangs down horribly. I have two pairs of sweatpants that I switch off, and that’s all I wear. If I wear fitted pants you can see the pooch of my belly and it just looks so awful. I haven’t worn “real” clothes in months. When I did try and buy some better fitting clothes I found that even a pair of size 20 jeans were too small. I couldn’t bring myself to try on the 22s. I make excuses to myself and everyone else that as a new single mother its my “right” to wear sweats as long as I want. I don’t want to. I have to.

Here is my biggest fear. I’ve never admitted it, but here it is. I don’t think that I’ll ever find a man who will be able to see me as anything other than “damaged goods.” I truly believe that, at 24, I have no choice but to be single for the rest of my life. Of course people say its what’s on the inside that counts…but we all know that’s not always true, especially to men. They want what they see splashed all over the television and in magazines, and even if I lose 100 lbs I will never look like that. Ever. I feel unloveable. There. I said it. I love my daughter, and I will willingly sacrifice anything for her. And I did — I sacrificed my body.

~Your Age: 24
~Number of pregnancies and births: 1/1
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 3.5 months

28 thoughts on “Admitting It (Anonymous)

  • Friday, December 10, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I want to cry for you. I am also young, 24, and I have 2 kids. I had them both by cesarean, so I also have the overhang. It will get better. You only had your baby 4 months ago…give it more time! Someone WILL love you. I PROMISE. My sister is 28, has had 3 kids (she is getting divorced bc her husband was cheating on her 1.5 years). She weighed 260 when she started weight watchers about 9 months ago…she has lost 65 pounds!!! Men flirt with her and ask her out all the time. She has confidence, dresses up every day, and is continuing weight watchers :) You can and will love yourself again! Any man would be lucky to have you, you sound like such a smart and loving person. Chin up mama!!!

  • Friday, December 10, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    First of all, you need to pick yourself up off the ground. Nobody is “damaged goods”. Nobody.
    Second of all, do you realize that you’re only three months postpartum? That’s NOTHING! I was losing weight for more than a year after my daughter was born. I didn’t begin to “see myself again” until my daughter turned two.
    Thirdly, you are beautiful. The sooner you see that, the sooner others will see that. Period.
    Finally, a good pair of tummy-sucking undies that go up to your boobs and a pretty bra will take you a long way. It’s like dominoes – One thing leads to another and soon enough you’ll be smiling again. You need to go and buy those 22s and wearing regular clothing. You’re really not that big at all! Your tummy will tighten up and your breasts will look fab in a sexy new bra and you’ll see all of the things that I can see right now, soon enough.
    Smile, OK? Enough of that notion of “damaged goods”. That’s last century talking. That’s sad “you” talking. It has nothing to do with the truth. :)

  • Friday, December 10, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Ok so first off, you are not damaged goods. You are a beautiful mother! That is the sexiest thing ever! Also, focus on what fits, not the number. I wish jeans didn’t come in numbers. It makes people focus so much on that crap. I recommend counseling and exercise. That will help you so much emotionally and then you can realize how sexy you really are! I am a mother of 3 and men are more attracted to confidence and how good of a mother you are than anything. Congratulations on your beautiful baby! (hugs)

  • Friday, December 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    I remember a few months after I had my Daughter – I went shopping and had the worst time in my life – i forced myself to buy some nice jeans and a few nice shirts. I hated the sizes that I was trying on – but I still suffered through. I strongly suggest that you go back to the store and buy those jeans (regardless of whatever the size is) Once you start working with what you have you will realize that you are beautiful and not damaged. Best of luck in the future :)

  • Friday, December 10, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    I think you are beautiful! honestly you have to give yourself more time, stretch marks fade remarkably with time, I feel the same you do, and Im 4 years post partum, but I also know that we are our worst critics, and you already know someone who loves you just the way you are…….your baby. The right man will come eventually, and he’s not gonna give a damn about the stretch marks, and if he does, hes not the right man. Hang in there, youll have your bad days, and good days, but it does get better.

  • Friday, December 10, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I think all of us have a pooch belly, honestly. I exercise (when I have time) and I eat right, but nothing will get rid of that except plastic surgery. I don’t even want to get rid of it. It’s my reminder of where I carried, grew, and loved my babies for so long before they came into this world. You WILL find a man who will love you unconditionally – regardless of how you feel about your body. Be proud of your body! It gave you the greatest blessing.

  • Friday, December 10, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    You are a goddess who brought a beautiful baby girl into this world…she will love you unconditionally. Someday, the right man will come along who can see the goddess in you will love you unconditionally, too! You are beautiful.

  • Friday, December 10, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    First of all you are only 3 months postpartum, you can’t expect to be back to normal yet! A wise woman once told me 9 months on, 9 months off, and I think that’s the best goal to shoot for. Secondly even if nothing changes with your body at all you are perfect just the way you are! REAL men will find you all the more attractive for your womanliness. And I have no idea why you think your boobs are saggy, I think they are lovely. I am breastfeeding too and mine are like rocks in socks lol.

  • Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Hey! You are not damaged goods!! Considering you are almost 5 months postpartum, you look good! I found out Thanksgiving last year I was pregnant too. I was supposed to have my son on July 22, but ended up having him on July 12 because I had pre-eclampsia. Because of that, it made me gain 40ish pounds of water weight within a few weeks. Talk about saggy skin….or fat. It’s hard to tell sometimes. My sister’s had 3 kids (last one 5 yrs ago), has way more saggy skin/stretchmarks and because she has some confidence, guys go gaga over her…. :) You’re beautiful, and your daughter is proof of how strong a woman you are!

  • Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Honestly, you look really good. And honey, real men don’t want what they see splashed all over tv and magazines. Real men see the beauty in a mother’s body.

    My husband and I recently separated last month. My third child just turned a year old. I am noticeably a lot larger and saggier than you. And I have already been asked out by several men, because they think I am beautiful. So trust me, if there are men out there that want me, there are men out there that want you. Exactly the way you are at this moment. And you aren’t very far post partum. Your body will very likely firm up. You will lose more weight. You won’t look like you did before, but real men will find the changes even MORE beautiful than the body you had before.

  • Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    No one is damaged goods. No one is unlovable. No one. You are young. Don’t discount yourself or your chance at finding a man to love you so early in life. You know what, just don’t ever discount yourself. You are a strong woman. Be a proud mama and do not worry about the stigma about single mothers; the people who think the negative stuff have no clue about reality. They are usually self righteous judgmental douchebags, who cares what they think? Your body is not ruined and neither are you.

  • Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    I have found that to be so true about the confidence thing,,,I’ve struggled with horrible self esteem my whole life,, and found that even my own husband seemed more attracted to me when i didn’t complain about my looks all the time and carried myself with confidence. Its sooooo hard, and right now I know it’s EXTRA tough. But i agree,,, buy the jeans,, its not just the number, it’s how it looks and feels on you. I have an unbelievably gorgeous plus size friend,, and when she’s having an “im pretty moment” she is unstoppable! Go get it beautiful Mama!!

  • Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    9 months on 9 months off is not true…it is different for EVERYONE! It depends on genetics, diet, exercise…you will lose it when you lose it! Just enjoy your baby :)

  • Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    When my daughter was 6 months old I finally gave in and bought some new jeans. I had one pair of pre-pregnancy pants that I fit in but they were really too tight, people probably thought I looked horrible. I started off taking in a size bigger than I had been, and was mortified to have to send my sister (who is a size FOUR) out to get a bigger size. But you know what? They look awesome on me. A body that is dressed well always looks better than somebody who is bumming around in sweatpants. I have seen plenty of larger women who dress themselves well and look darn good. Plus, you have GREAT breasts! Good heavens woman and I thought mine were big! You put those girls in the right shirt that flatters them (without being slutty, lol) and the guys will go crazy!

    I think you need to treat yourself to a shopping trip where you buy at least one outfit that really fits and flatters you. Ignore the number on the tag, buy what looks great. Having something that makes you feel better about the way you look will hopefully start a chain reaction of good feelings. Try taking a friend with you who is about your size (or another mother who may have struggled with body issues) for emotional support.

    You CAN do this. You are beautiful and you are strong, and once you learn to believe in yourself somebody will want you. A man who believes you’re “damaged goods” is a dirtbag in the first place. Real men love WOMEN’s bodies, and there is one out there who will love yours.

  • Monday, December 13, 2010 at 12:19 am

    You’ve been through an awful lot of stress too; give yourself credit for the way you’ve handled it all! You haven’t had an easy pregnancy and you are giving your daughter the best start anyone possibly can. You rock! And gosh, I think jeans are the hardest thing to buy, different brands and styles make the size go all over the map. I agree with taking a friend shopping with you and finding things that show off the awesome.

  • Monday, December 13, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Damaged goods? I think not!!! Any man who thinks that .. well he doesn’t deserve you. You. Are. Beautiful. Take your time, re-discover yourself and the men will discovery you.

  • Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Youre my stomach twin! seriously…we look the same. except i have small boobs so my stomach looks super huge! i have a three year old son and i was a single mom and wore nothing but sweat pants and maternity pants for literally 11 months post partum. i didnt have a great support system and as a single mom i didnt want to just dump my son with people to go do someting “selfish” like work out to improve myself. anyways, when my son was 11 months i met someone who is now my significant other and he and i have a 3 month old together. i didnt think someone could love me for the way i look and having a kid but, someone did..and he thinks im beautiful. i think youre beautiful. i have the same body.

  • Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Number one, you are NOT damaged in any way!!!! I cannot stress this enough!!! Number two, my Dr said to give it at least nine months and then see where you are. The weight took nine months to get on your body and it might take longer to get off. But don’t lose hope!!! My little girl is 2 today and I still have weight to lose. I made the mistake of being put on the Mirena and packed all that I lost and more on. But now that I’m not on it I am losing it slowly but surely. And if I can do I know you can too!!! Just look at your beautiful baby and then look at yourself as a miracle worker!!!

  • Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Shannon, I think “nine months on, nine months off” means that you shouldn’t expect your body to undo nine months of work in less than nine months. Yes, some people take less time, some take more (I’m still 15 pounds heavier than before and I’m 16 months PP), but it’s a good rule to at least give your body as long as your pregnancy to recover.

  • Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Please, wait AT LEAST a year before passing judgement on your body! It takes time. I’m 3 years pp, and it’s first now I feel I’m settling into life and my body again.

    There are a lot of small things you can do to help yourself along. I’ve said it before, dry brushing your whole body (every day) works wonders on pp skin. Tightens you up, increases circulation, and it feels gooood. Rub your skin with nourishing oils. Most importantly, love your body for the things it CAN do for you. No matter what it looks like, it’s your vehicle for life, and it allows you to laugh, walk, play with your child, stretch and many many other wonderful things. We all have a certain amount of self loathing, that’s for sure, but you can self-love at the same time, for the good things.

    Don’t underestimate the good men out there. They really love our bodies, no matter what. I’m lucky enough to have one of them, although I hardly appreciate him enough.

    Big hugs.

  • Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    As Nina said, give it AT LEAST a year. Right now you are still in that hormonal swing that can knock your self-confidence on its butt.

    I am almost 3 yrs post partum, and the first year was the hardest of my life. I had severe PPD and didn’t realize it. I was 500 miles from my nearest relative and my husband was a truck driver. And to top it off, my daughter was overly sensitive to my breast milk. She screamed and cried for the first 3.5 months before I finally figured out what was causing the problem. Talk about an emotional roller-coaster.

    Focus on what you have (your daughter, good health, plenty of breast milk and a great support system here at SOAM) and not on the negative.

    Your body just did the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest. Congratulate yourself and treat yourself to some new clothes. You deserve it!

  • Monday, December 27, 2010 at 9:32 am

    I am 18 years old and I have never been pregnant, but you remind me of my own mother. Her situation was very similar to yours. My father was not interested in me (although we have now reconnected) and I was raised by a single mother for the longest time who did not date, did not go out and even though I knew she loved me and hid it well, I could see that she was a little unhappy.

    I am now the age she was when I was born and she is expecting her second child. four years ago she found herself and wonderful husband and me a wonderful step father who loves her. And if you can believe it she did get back into shape. Please don’t give up hope on yourself, just like my own mother’s case it may take years to find that special person but I truly believe it will happen to you eventually.

    I’m telling you this because I believe if your daughter could talk, she would tell you the same. Take care, and for the record, I think you’re beautiful.

  • Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I cried through this, I understand exactly how you feel. I thought the same things, until my baby daddy started talking marriage, but I think it’s really because we have a family, not because he finds me attractive anymore. I want to get the laser surgery for my stretchmarks. I want a tummy tuck. I want a personal trainer, but I sacrificed the money for those things when I sacrificed my body.

  • Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I think you are beautiful and real beauty shines through you not because of how you look. Enjoy your children and your life and appreciate the blessings in life and that will help uplift your spirits.

  • Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    you have a daughter your someones mom that takes courage to do this alone. Your strong and beautiful and if you do some “me” things like talking your daughter in the stroller for a walk and eating healthy you will start to have energy again(this happened for me). You will find someone who loves you for you. no mom is damaged goods i have felt that way also honestly. but you didnt chose to do this to your body it happened because you sacrificed what you had to bring your baby into this world. give your body time to heal ..

  • Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I got pregnant with my first child around your age. I had lost quite a bit of weight b4 hand and lost more while pregnant. I ended up gaining about 60 pounds and had such issues with sickness all through the pregnancy. My body was so messed up and still is in many ways. BUT I did get within 10 pounds of my pre-birth weight withing 18 months without much trouble. I did nurse the whole time and that was about it. I have since gained some of that lost weight back. BUT I am here to tell you it takes time even at your age!!! I may be a bit taller than you as I had to wear size 20’s, and close to 22’s. I got back down to 12’s at 18 months with only working hard at losing weight for about a month. Now I am a 14/16. Don’t freak out :)

  • Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I am your age and felt the same way about my body after I had my daughter. One thing that really helped me what just focusing on my baby, truly enjoying my time with her the first year of her life and then worrying about my body later. I’m now 16 months pp and although I haven’t tried to lose weight, because I’ve stopped stressing over it and just enjoyed my daughter, I’ve lost about 35 pounds. I’m not going to tell you to snap out of it and just be happy with your body because it doesn’t work that way. I too get worried about finding a man because of my mommy body. But I think you’ll find that a grown, mature man does not need or even like a teeny, tiny woman that looks like a boy. They like womanly women like us :)

  • Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I am 8 years pp. I am trying to lose weight slowly by changing my lifestyle so that maybe it will STAY off this time. I am currently rocking a size 22 darling. Those jeans turn heads almost everywhere I go. And those boobs! Girl! Most men would not hesitate to bury their faces in there! You are gorgeous! Go out and do it girl!

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