Body Image and Fear of Second Pregnancy (Anonymous)

I am so amazed and impressed by the women on this site. I think I am at a healthy weight for an American woman, 130 as of this morning, but that hasn’t always been the case. When I graduated grad school, I was fat. Most of the women in my family are obese, and many are morbidly obese. My mother was an obsessive dieter, and destroyed her thyroid to the point where she will be on meds for the rest of her life. My aunts died in their early forties from obesity-related illnesses. My younger sister had gastric by-pass last year, at the suggestion of her doctor, who expressed worry that she may also die young. Keeping trim has been a lifelong struggle for me, including starving myself, taking diet pills, over-exercising, binging and purging. I’m not sure I have it completely under control, which is something my husband doesn’t know, and I fear him discovering. I’ve lived with a bad body image my entire life, I have hated watching my family die from obesity-related illnesses, and I fear the same fate. I was 33 when my daughter was born, and married for 13 years. We waited because I was afraid of being pregnant, and my husband was very patient. I’m turning 36 soon, and my husband has been begging for a second child, and he is losing patience with me. He tries to be understanding, but we always said we’d have a big family. I gained 37 pounds during the pregnancy, lost almost 20 of that in the first week post-partum, and only lost maybe 2 pounds over the next two years. I breastfed her for almost 16 months, yet I didn’t shed the weight. I tried to lose weight, ate healthy foods and exercised, but didn’t take pills or starve myself. Right before her second birthday, I finally started to shed the weight, but it is mostly because I really don’t eat much anymore and I walk hours everyday. Today, I weigh in at exactly what I weighed when I got pregnant, but I look nothing like I used to. I have cellulite everywhere – on my legs and bottom most of all, but also on my arms and back. Losing the weight was such a battle, and I fear going through that struggle again, and I fear getting even more cellulite. As I get older, I know that it’s now or never if I want more children, and I am ready to go for it again. I have a little red-haired, blue-eyed girl who is beyond beautiful. She’s two and a half now, and I love being her mommy. I really want to give her a brother or sister, but I am afraid. I can’t seem to shake the fear of being pregnant again. I fear what it will do to my body. Even though I have already been through it, and can hide the cellulite I now have under clothing, I worry that I will get more of it, or that my weight will balloon. I don’t like to starve myself, but it seems to be the only thing that works to keep the weight off. I took these pictures an hour ago. The cellulite doesn’t come through that well – I am not a great photographer – but it is everywhere.

16 thoughts on “Body Image and Fear of Second Pregnancy (Anonymous)

  • Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at 8:48 am

    you have an amazing body! i have much worse cellulite than you, and im bigger than you. when im at my best, a bit slimmer, and a bit of fake tan on, i can look nearly as good as you but not quite! you have a fantastic body!!

  • Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at 8:52 am

    I can certainly relate to your story, as I come from a family with a history of obesity as well. In college I was a bit chunky, but in my early 20s I became fitness-obsessed and have been running at least five miles/day for the past 10 years (I’m 32 now), even up until my 8th month of pregnancy. My daughter is now nearly 11 months old, and I was lucky enough to have my body return to its normal thin state. My husband desperately wants another child, but I can’t stop myself from thinking that I was somehow spared during my first pregnancy, that maybe I won’t be so lucky a second time. And then of course, I look at morbidly obese family members and wonder, what if this time I’m too old to lose the weight? I was spared body changes, stretch marks, sagginess, the whole shebang — what if next time I’m not so lucky? You have to weigh your fears against the love you have for your child. After all, even if you went into it knowing that your worst fears would come true, wouldn’t you do it all over again for your child? I know it’s more difficult when the second child doesn’t yet exist… just know you’re not the only one who is nervous about the 2nd time around!

  • Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at 8:53 am

    P.S. You really look fantastic in the photos!

  • Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Well, what can I say.. I read your story, sub consciously imagined the pictures that would follow…….and am amazed at your after pics!!! You are gorgeous!!!
    I must admit, I understand your feelings towards having more children. I’ve struggled with body image since 15 years old (now 31), and although I’m at my pre preg weight, I’m still not happy with how I look, ( but then again I wasn’t b4 I became preggers!!)
    I think some of us are born to be down on ourselves, thats the only answer I can come up with.

  • Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 1:27 am

    First off…You are hot!!Your breasts are still perky and your are very thin!!!

    I wanted to comment bc I am feeling the same. I have a 2.5 year old( 2/17) and I just got most of my figure back.;-)

    I loved being preggo but fear ruining my body. I cant imagine becoming pregnant again.

  • Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Exactly what is it that you’re not happy with?

    I think that you have an unrealistic expectation of what your body should look like. Cellulite? Maybe you do have some … but who doesn’t? I can’t see it in your pics at any rate.

    I think you should spend less time scrutinizing your body for imperfections and more time just enjoying life. The more you examine yourself physically – the more unhappy you’ll be.

    Does your body function properly? Are you healthy? If the answer to both of these questions is ‘yes’ – you can add that to having a really nice body and just get on with being happy in life.

  • Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    you should be proud of your body 1. simply for how it looks and 2. for the fact that it and you brought a miracle into this world. Your body is amazing and you need not fear how others perceive it. Put on a bikini, hit the beach with your little girl and watch the men stare. You are beautiful.

  • Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    I don’t know why you’re unhappy or frightened because you look beautiful!!! Flawless! You have gorgeous skin! I’m 23 and I’m covered in cellulite and stretchmarks lol. I’d say at 36, I’d throw caution to the wind… you won’t look that fantastic forever, honestly. We’ll all become wrinkled and bent over eventually. And if we become wrinkled and bent over with the rest of them and have one extra child to show for it, I’d say go for it!!!

  • Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 4:23 am

    I am 19 years old, 5’1″, and 125lbs. I am by no means overweight, and guess what? I am INCREDIBLY jealous of your body. Your breasts are perkier and better shaped than mine, and I have always wanted my butt to look like yours does. In my mind, you have the perfect body. Please stop starving yourself to fulfill an unrealistic image of what your body “should” look like. It causes just as many health problems as obesity does, and saying that your body doesn’t look good is just ridiculous, because you look amazing.

  • Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 7:18 am

    In all seriousness, you really do seem to be in great shape overall (beautiful boobies!), but I totally understand how you feel. I’m 38 and I absolutely love being a mom to my amazing 2.5-year-old son, but the body I had before is only a distant memory. I look ok in clothes, but I’m still working on toning up again (strength training, moderate cardio and a very clean diet). To combat the cellulite I’ve found green smoothies (blended salads) and lots water very helpful. Other than that, focusing on the amazing things my body can do, rather than its many perceived imperfections, has really helped me keep a positive perspective. I’m still debating the second baby though, for lots of reasons including yours.

  • Friday, July 11, 2008 at 12:30 am

    I understand how you feel. I am 41 weeks pregnant now and have had a wonderful pregnancy, gaining the “average” 30 lbs, and getting only a few tiny stretch marks around my naval peircing. But still, I am terrified of getting pregnant again too soon or at all, fearing that I will never again look good to my husband or anyone else, namely, myself. But- One thing I know about my husband and the way your husband seems, is that he is a good father, loves his children, and loves his wife. Maybe we’ll be stuck with a few extra pounds or stretch marks, but the way our husbands look at us afterward is with adoration, not disgust, and it is so worth it to have our children. Besides, if I look like you when I get done, I will feel pretty darn lucks. Pregnancy was kind to you!

  • Friday, July 11, 2008 at 1:19 am

    Oh honey, your body is gorgeous! Please, please look at yourself through more positive eyes and maybe even consider getting professional help. You owe it to yourself and to your daughter! You are the role model for her body image – YOUR body is amazing (cellulite, schmellulite – my 16 month old boy has cellulite!). PLEASE take this to heart.

  • Friday, July 11, 2008 at 9:36 am

    We could be body twins! I just had my son 4 months ago and I am currently 130lbs and have the same shape as you. I had the opposite problem then you and was VERY naturally skinny my entire life so I struggle with accepting the fact I have a women’s body now. I understand the cellulite problem. I feel like one huge lump! I am trying to exercise to get back in shape but calm myself by realizing like the other post said that we ALL get old and wrinkle, shrivel and eventually turn to dust so why obsess with striving for an impossible goal that will never matter in the long run. We are human, we are women, we all have lumps and bumps and imperfections… who cares!

  • Friday, July 11, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    You have a lovely body! I am honestly amazed at how well your breasts have kept, after having a first baby! Mine, not so much!

    I also have body image issues about birth, but I know that there are two things that really do a number on me. 1.) realizing that my body isn’t going to be YOUTHFUL and tight anymore (and that that’s a big part of becoming a woman). And 2.) no matter how I ACTUALLY look, I’ll always see a skewed version in the mirror, based on how I feel or my self-esteem.

    My own body-image was skewed for many years because my mother was obese and, as a child, I didn’t distinguish myself from her. It wasn’t really the fact that she was overweight that hurt my self-image, it was the fact that she was so pained by her weight and lacked confidence and hated herself. I identified with her and put those issues on myself. It wasn’t until VERY RECENTLY that I was able to really see myself in the mirror without her weight and self-disgust. I think sometimes, people who have struggled with weight issues spend years still seeing the weight, every time they look in the mirror, even when it’s not actually there. Do you feel like you might do this?

    You are truly lovely and will remain lovely with a new baby and after, cellulite and all, but you have to find a way to come to terms with that yourself! So many of us post these kinds of things (I do it too!) looking for outsider body-acceptance, and that can HELP. But it won’t really change the way you feel about yourself. That work you’ll have to do, inside and out.

  • Friday, July 11, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Oh honey. I know how you feel, I really do. I’m 25 and 11 weeks pregnant with my first. I can’t get over the fact that I’m likely to never be this thin again–and I already dislike my body!

    I know this probably doesn’t help (because it never helps me when people tell me I look good), but you really are beautiful. You are smooth and tight and perky and just gorgeous. I would love to have your body.

    I hope you can bring yourself to have another child. That child will be with you the rest of your life, and no matter how little you eat or how much you work out, your body will eventually gain flab and cellulite and wrinkles. You know how to take care of yourself while pregnant–you’ve done it before. You can do it again.

    I also hope you consider getting therapy. Your focus on your weight and your body are interfering with and harming your quality of life. A therapist can help you to accept yourself and enjoy all of the wonderful things in your life. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your daughter. She will take her cues from you with regard to her relationship with her body. Kids pick up things even though we might try to hide them.

    Please also remember that not eating enough can harm your body just as eating too much can. You can develop all sorts of problems, including heart problems.

    You are beautiful. I truly hope you can learn to see that, and love yourself.

  • Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    okay I am jealous!!!!!!! you have beautiful, perky boobs, a thin & flat tummy, & a killer ass!! sweetie you are LOVELY. & I am jealous. I mean that.

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