Building self-esteem after husband’s affairs (Joelle)

Age: 23
Number of Pregnancies and Births: 2 pregnancies, 1 birth, 1 baby in heaven
Age of child and how far post-partum: Isabella 6 months and four days old. I am 6 months and four days post- partum

I found this site from a woman who posted this site on the Birth Without Fear facebook page. I thought how wonderful it was to see other women of all ages post up their pictures of post-partum bodies and share their story on how they felt, whether feeling upset or comfortable in their own skin. Pregnancy has done a lot to our bodies, including mine. I miscarried with my first pregnancy at the age of 18 at 8 weeks along. It took me a while to accept the miscarriage and move forward. After my second pregnancy, if you saw me walking in a tank top and jeans, you’d never guessed I gave birth. I’ve been blessed to lose all the weight; I gained 36 pounds and lost the majority of it when my daughter was born. She weighed 9.7 pounds and 21 inches long. I am only 5’1 and was 95 pounds pre-pregnancy. With her being so big, my belly was stretched to its limit and my body bloated really badly: in my face, my thighs, butt, and legs. By week nine in pregnancy, I could no longer wear my jeans. I automatically knew I was having a girl by week nine since all my friends who had boys could wear their jeans throughout their entire pregnancy and it was my instincts saying “girl.” Not going to lie, that devastated me to not fit in my jeans, so I stuck to dresses and skirts since I had room to stretch those out (did not want to see me go up in pants and it was cheaper). At my 21 week scan, the technician asked me if the midwife got my due date right since my baby was measuring almost 2 weeks ahead of her age and I said yeah, that I even tracked my fertility and ovulation for TTC. Turned out she was just a good size baby because she came four days after her due date, no interventions.

My body went through hell and back with my pregnancy and child birth. I had fallen on my tailbone. I went to the ER over that to make sure my daughter was fine, could care less about my body. My daughter was just fine. The fall caused me to have major back pain for the rest of the pregnancy and especially when she would kick my back or body slammed against it. I had a huge cyst right below my urethra, so sex was impossible as it hurt too much. The doctors refused to remove the cyst for me and it did not even burst while birthing her. I had sciatic nerve problems and bruised like feeling on my skin and muscles all up my ribs from her pushing out my ribs to make room in the last trimester. I started getting stretch marks in early 2nd trimester and by my due date, my butt and thighs looked as if a cat used me as a clawing post. I got a 2nd degree tear during child birth from being told to push with all my might since my daughter’s left shoulder got stuck. Two nurses were doing pelvic pressure on me along with my husband, very crazy experience so I tore horribly from all the hard pushing to get her out. The midwife who delivered my baby at the Naval Hospital (military hospital) stitched me back up but I have some insides kind of on the outside and my vagina just looks bad… Though I loved being able to have her naturally, I’m upset with how my vagina turned out. I asked my husband’s honest opinion on it, he said I’m little bit looser (I’m okay with that) and that it’s even prettier to him. Kind of hard to believe but I try to trust him on that. However, he cheated on me a month after I birthed my daughter and once while I was pregnant, so it’s very hard to trust him on his compliments to me. The only reason I stayed is because he went to rehab over his alcoholism (he cheated while wasted, still not a good excuse) and I want our family to be together. My self- esteem is shot to hell because he cheated on me with an overweight woman with large breasts. I’m opposite; I’m petite with A cup size breasts… I know I’m not ugly, I get other Marines (my husband is a Marine) staring and calling out to me even while I’m carrying my daughter. I just can’t help but feel my body is not good enough for my husband, that I’m not enough.

We’re in marriage counseling, we’ve been working on the marriage. I just can’t help but feel my pregnant body and PP body is not satisfying to him. I’m so terrified to get pregnant again after his affairs. Being able to share this to strangers kind of makes me feel better. Maybe some other women have been in a similar position or not… Just feels good to get it off my chest that I don’t feel good enough for the man I married.

20 thoughts on “Building self-esteem after husband’s affairs (Joelle)

  • Friday, July 6, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I think you look amazing! I am so sorry that your husband cheated on you. I think when men cheat it usually isn’t about not finding their wives attractive. It sounds like he is a selfish man. I think your butt and your stomach look amazing! Keep up the good work, hot mamma!

  • Friday, July 6, 2012 at 9:48 am

    you look great!!

  • Friday, July 6, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I would not be with another man if he had the nerve to put his penis in some other womans vagina,he has zero respect for you, you look fine dear but I do hope you leave him, once a cheater always a cheater…and your body looks great!

  • Friday, July 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    just let me say.. you look good enough for ANY man!
    if there is a problem it is with your husband and NOT your looks!
    you truly look fantastic, make no mistake!
    mostly from my experience men have affairs to prove something to themselves, it is sad but true, it is rarely the girls fault, and certainly not an issue with how you look!
    good luck with your future

  • Saturday, July 7, 2012 at 4:33 am

    You are beautiful, and have a beautiful body! I love your pregnancy shot, so perfect ♥

    I hope that you are able to strengthen your marriage (since that is the route you are taking) and are confident enough to consider another child someday when the time is right :)

    I know exactly how you feel though, my soon to be ex husband cheated on me too, and I know all the thoughts that go through your head. It sucks. But just know that YOU did not make him cheat, it’s his own issues he has to overcome, and I hope for your sake he is able to.

    Keep trekking mama! I will see you over on BWF I am sure!

  • Saturday, July 7, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    you look stunning!

  • Sunday, July 8, 2012 at 9:03 am

    First off, you look sooo great!! I wish I was lucky enough to look that great after pregnancy! lol

    But as for your husband cheating, you have to just listen to your heart. Since you’re giving him a second chance he needs to understand what a second chance means! He should show you he’s changing, he needs to continue to stay sober, and he needs to stay focused on you and your beautiful little girl.

    A little over a year before I got married and found out I was pregnant my husband (boyfriend at the time) cheated on me while we were at a party. He was drunk and claimed he remembered nothing. After months of working on things, and me being a little nervous about it happening again, he told me that he “doesn’t have to stick his dick in fire twice to know that it burns”. To make a long story short, we agreed to work things out. This Oct. will be 2 years since he cheated on me and I still find myself nervous and sometimes I feel as if I’m disgusting to him. I was already chunky before pregnancy and now I’m even bigger. I get so nervous for him to look at me naked sometimes. I know EXACTLY how you feel! I’m still trying to stay confident and show him how lucky he is to have someone like me. I know I’m not his dream girl, but he married me for a reason. Just like your husband married you because he loves every little thing about you.

    I honestly think it could be stress that made him drink too much and made him cheat (Not saying that’s okay!!!) We’re humans and we mess up. Sometimes second chances turn out to be the best thing for couples because they realize what they can lose and that they don’t want to lose it, so they’ll do whatever it takes to never let that happen. But if he doesn’t show improvement or you just don’t feel right about everything, you should do what’s best for you and leave. People are too quick to end marriages, and I’d rather work on it everyday then throw it away (Unless I’m the only one trying to work on it…If he’s not trying then I’d have no choice but to leave). If things don’t work out and leaving is what’s best you should have no fear because you are absolutely gorgeous! But if it does work out I wish you the best of luck! Never let what he did to you effect on how you feel about yourself! You have a very cute little girl and an amazing figure that lots of women would kill for! I hope things work out for your family! :)

  • Sunday, July 8, 2012 at 10:25 am

    You are one gorgeous girl!!! And lil’ one is too cute for words , Hope that your hubby at least looks good, cuz he ain’t too smart to cheat on such girl!!

  • Sunday, July 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    You do deserve a man who is loyal to you. When he cheated that was a flaw in his character not your body. Marriage can survive cheating. But you can’t base your self esteem on someone else’s comments or actions. What will make you feel good, exercise, art classes, play dates, or maybe dance classes? Do something for you, get your mind & heart healthy. You children deserve a happy mama. I really think when your heart is happy, you will be happier with your body. PS: Your body is beautiful, birth marks are a badge of honor for mamas :)

  • Sunday, July 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Why would he look anywhere but toward you? You are simply beautiful Joella, keep your chin up sweetie.

  • Sunday, July 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I think you look good – you look normal. I’ve got the same marks and build as you (so I guess that means I look okay and normal too? ;p). I’m not sure about the motto “once a cheater, always a cheater”. I think that depends on maturity, and how your husband comes to view marriage, and his place in this world. Perhaps, over time, his perceptions in these areas will shift and he’ll see things for what they are. Perhaps he’ll learn that freedom comes from doing what’s right and good – and not from doing whatever you want, whenever you want. Good luck my dear! Enjoy your baby!

  • Monday, July 9, 2012 at 4:30 am

    I was delighted to hear your story, and tell you YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH! You should always be told: You are good enough.

  • Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 3:31 am

    You have a FANTASTIC arse! I’m sorry your husband cheated on you. I can’t tell you how I would react as it has never happened. I hope that you can move past your securities, because you are gorgeous.

  • Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Hi, I completely understand what you are going through. My husband cheated on me when i was 5 months pregnant- and we are determined to work things out. I thought it was because i was fat. It too made me feel like i wasnt good enough and a year and a half after that happened I can finally say that it wasnt my fault. I think what your husband thinks matters too- but way less, and more importantly it matters what you think of yourself. You are beautiful. You are good enough, and you are worth it <3

  • Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Thank you everyone. Sadly, my husband and I have decided to separate because some other things happened. Told him I need to heal away from him and decide if this marriage is worth it or not.

  • Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 1:13 am

    I cheated on a boyfriend once, when drunk. It was one of the things that really made me realise I had a drinking problem, as I loved him, wanted to make things work with him and couldn’t understand why I cheated. It is nothing to do with how he feels about you. If he keeps working towards staying sober, then hopefully you can work things out. If he stops working on staying sober, then he is risking cheating on you again. It breaks my heart to read that his cheating has had such an impact on you, for partly selfish reasons, as it makes me realise how my drinking could have affected someone else. You look fabulous – I really hope things work out for you both.

  • Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    I just happened upon this site via pintrest and your title caught my attention. I read your story and my heart aches. I could tell you were a beautiful person even before looking at your pictures. I also formed this opinion prior to looking at the pics. My opinion is just that, an opinion. You don’t have to agree because I only based it on what I read. As much as my heart aches for you, it aches even more for your husband. He seems to be very conflicted. You are probably the best thing in his life that he has or ever will have. I have a feeling he doesn’t feel worthy of a person such as you. His actions are purely self-serving. They really have nothing to do with you at all. Be it your personality, size, shape, beliefs, etc… this is all him. It may sound cleche to say “it’s not you, it’s me.” In this case, it seems to be true. He has a great deal of self- dissatisfaction and unfortunately you are the one suffering because of it. Moreover, if you stick around your daughter will also suffer because of this type of disfunction. You share a child together so you will forever be connected to him but you can do without the drama he brings you and be a happier person. This treatment is something we think is “normal” until we step away and happen to be with someone who is stable and confident. You will see a shift. It might be uncomfortable at first because this isn’t what you are accustomed to but the second you slip back into who you are used to, things will become very clear to you. Godspeed to you and your daughter.

  • Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Best of luck in your separation period, mama :( It always breaks my heart to read accounts of fathers cheating on the mothers of their children, or ignoring them intimately while watching porn alone, etc. These things really just wreak havoc on us and the images of ourselves we have worked so hard to build up…

    You are stunning. Your booty is especially cute! And I would love to have a tummy likes yours. I wish you lots of sunshine and healing on your journey, whatever direction it takes for you and your beautiful daughter.

  • Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Girl you’re so pretty! Looking good. XX

  • Sunday, December 13, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    I found out my husband cheated on me when I was 8 months pregnant. He cheated twice with the same girl. She was also the opposite of me but the opposite of your situation. I was the heavier one and she was the skinnier and younger one. We have been going to marriage counseling ever since. (4-1/2 years now). I did get pregnant again and was terrified that it was going to happen again. It didn’t. My husband has some issues that he is working out with different therapists. I stayed because I believed in him and I’m not a quitter. I couldn’t imagine my life without him and if I would have left I wouldn’t have my beautiful baby girl that I have now. We are doing much better. I hope this helps. You’re not alone by any means.

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