I still remember the joy of my first birth with my son. I was 21 years old. When I found out I was pregnant it was so exciting, but what I was not ready for was the stretch marks and the awful body that came with it. My whole life I have been physically fit. I always had a great body and prided myself on having worked so hard to look healthy. During my first birth I worked out and ran nearly every day and to no avail. Days after my joy had come into the world came the shame and disappointment. I became severely depressed and to top it off my first husband shamed me more by repeatedly looking at Porn and then saying to one of his friends, “ If I were single I would do her friend I am trying to hook you up with.” I was so embarrassed and pretended to not hear the comment. Several years went by and eventually we divorced for a multitude of reasons. After the divorce I had trouble dating and being intimate with people because of my stomach. I would wear long shirts to bed, never wore anything that was remotely form fitting, and I was embarrassed and disgusted with how other women looked at me and judged me when I would change. It has been a gut wrenching journey. I went through dating multiple people, until one guy was honest and made fun of the stretch marks that I
had during an argument and called me fat and disgusting repeatedly. I felt my pride hit an all time low. We continued dating and I eventually broke up with him. I joined the military and became even more physically fit and while in the Army met a man I really liked. We were at training together and the other women around me were trying very hard for his attention. They would tell him that I was disgusting to look at and that despite what I looked like in clothing I was an ugly and disgusting person physically. Now I know I should not let what people say hurt me and being that I am a master’s trained therapist, I did exactly what I would tell my patient’s not to do…. I allowed it to crush the last of any self- confidence I was already lacking. The guy ended up not caring about what they said and continued to date me and eventually we married. I still would never get undressed in front of him and it strongly inhibited our sex life. He would tell me it didn’t matter and that he loved me, but then I got pregnant and again I worked out every day and tried to maintain my physical fitness. I gained 23 pounds and then went into distress during my second delivery and they pumped me with fluids. I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby again. However, he doesn’t touch me like he used to anymore and I now weigh 163 lbs. I am trying hard to lose the weight, but every day I look at myself I hate what I see. To make matters worse before I gave birth to my daughter I found out that he had been contacting women via facebook to flirt with and making propositions to. I was crushed even more. He said he did it because we were having problems, but now he claims that he finds me just as attractive and beautiful and even more so because I am more curvy after having our child. I can’t get over it and I cannot let it go. It is so hard to look at myself in the mirror every day. I want to throw up at what I see and I don’t see beauty anywhere. I walk around in sweats or lounge clothes all the time because I feel so fat and disgusting and the stretch marks make it worse because they are permanent. I am so grateful for my beautiful children, but there are days that I have selfish thoughts and wish that I never had any children just so I can remember what it feels like to have self-esteem again. It’s horrible and I feel so trapped and hateful about myself. I don’t feel as if I will ever be thought of as pretty again and I don’t feel connected to my husband in any way as a result and I barely have sex anymore because all I can imagine is that he is thinking of someone else. THIS IS SAD TO WRITE and I am going to be 30 next month and I can’t find anything to love about me, but I love my kids more than life itself and I would not trade anything in the world for them.
7 thoughts on “Low Self Esteem and Damaged (Tan)”
I wish I could give you a gigantic hug. No woman deserves to be treated like that by a husband. It is so easy to get crushed by husbands insensitive unloving remark. You are worth so much more than just the looks of your body. Think about it for a minute. Your ears are there to listen to your children. Your mouth is capable of speaking kind words. Your hands are capable of taking care of your children. Like cooking delicious meals for little tummies. Your legs are there to go places and make memories. To take your little ones for a walk. The list can go on and on. I understand you are emotionally crushed because of all the negative remarks from men and women alike. They are not who define your worth and your value. We as women want to be loved and cherish. But you know what sweetie… you have to love yourself first before anybody else. Get out of yoga pants for a day, 163 lbs is not the end of the world. Take one day at a time to slowly start loving yourself again.
Oh honey. After my second pregnancy, I settled in at 185, and I am 5 ft tall! I can empathize. 2 things I’ve done to make me feel better-banish sweatpants and loungepants from my everyday, and sit ups. Getting clothes that I liked and made me feel presentable did so much to make me feel better-not Marilyn Monroe, but not ugly either. Sit-ups (100 a nite) made me feel like I was at least doing something about the fat part, which also made me feel tons better. I hope, if you try these, they will help you too.
hi tan, I can relate to the way you feel about yourself, as I once felt the same way… but you need to get over it!! that may sound rude and uncaring but that is exactly what my husband said to me after 3 months of hearing me whine after I had my son… I hated the fact that he told me that, it made me feel like he didn’t care. but the truth is that if you don’t move on, it will ruin your marriage and take away from the wonderful mother that you are… you don’t necessarily have to accept the way you look, that will happen over time… but just try to do things such as going to your local make up store and ask them to do you a make over, get a few new clothes, buy some new sexy underwear that covers the parts you do not like about yourself and wear it with sexy heals, make time to go to the gym even if its only for an hour a week… and I guarantee.. you will begin to feel better!! Tan I am not a horrible person, I just hate the fact that bringing life in the world has been the source of so many women’s misery, and what I hate even more is that your ungrateful ex husband didn’t help you during that time in your life to help you see your worth. I have no idea what you look like, but I sense that you are beautiful both inside and out… please do not let your ex husband win. x x x x x I say this all will love in my heart.. please be strong mamma
I can relate with your story, I was also fit and into sports after my first baby my body changed in a way I did not expect it. I did not opt for abortion even though I did think about it and even visited a clinic… I couldn’t do it and I’m glad I didn’t. The relationship with my husband changed, I can still not have him see me shirtless because of my saggy stomach :( He also changed but I realized all men change somehow after their wives give birth at least from the women I’ve been around … I just accepted it and I know my husband loves though things are not he same… I would say start by accepting yourself with that your husband will learn to see the value on you. I noticed that when I was not loving myself he was also not, until I realized I can be loved/desired by any other men and he also noticed and did not want to lose me.
Natalie, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Tan, my heart just aches for you and I just want to give you a big hug. I haven’t had children yet, but I do understand where you’re coming from (I posted in TIAW about my body and self-image issues). Have you thought about getting involved in therapy for yourself or at least couples counseling with your husband? From my own experience, it’s all a matter of perspective and learning to reprogram your mind to not listen to those negative thoughts and lies that others spoke over you for so many years. It’s a hard journey to learn to love yourself, but so incredibly worth it. You are so valuable. You are worth fighting for. You are worth it. You are beautiful. You have a purpose.
I highly recommend reading Hinds Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard.
How sad I am to read your story. After giving birth at 22, and then losing 50 lbs, my body looked horrific…everything was sagging..my so called books were deflated and the stomach was hanging and covered in stretch marks.
Then I started a new life without my ex husband and I started dating. Inside I was embarressed by by old woman body, but on the outside I pretended it didn’t matter. I looked great in clothes and was attractive for the first time in my life and got a lot of attention from the opposite sex, and when it came down to business in the bedroom I simply pretended I was fine with it, and you know what: that made it fine with them too.
All they saw was a confident sexy young woman who was hot in bed, and they couldn’t care less about my sagging skin…I had a great bottom;). Fake it until you make it.
And don’t let ANY MAN decide how you should feel about yourself. You only have ONE LIFE, why ruining it by hating yourself over such a tiny little detail as a sagging stomach?
It tells nothing about who you are, what you can do in life, the love and care you give to your children and the world. It is just skin.
Get rid of the people in your life that make you feel bad and start loving yourself because of you. Your self worth is NOT measured by the tightness of your skin or a number on the scale.
Love yourself, take care of yourself. Put on make-up and pretty clothes and sexy underwear for YOU, and forget the things you don’t like. If you radiate self hatred, that is what you teach people to show you as well, if you radiate self love and worthiness and pride (even if you don’t feel it) this is what you will attract.
Don’t hate yourself. Life is a gift, and it is short. Don’t waste another second hating yourself for something as completely unimportant as skin, that has been stretched to accomodate your children.
Thank you ladies for your kind words. It has been an uphill battle and I hate when we as women are so judgemental towards one another. I think women criticizing me is harder to accept. I will definitely read that book. I’m still not losing weight despite working out every day and I can’t bring myself to dress up because it is hard. I try every now and then, but my husband never notices… Oh well… I am seriously contemplating getting help because it is too much and I am struggling!