Will it ever get better? (Anonymous)

My biggest body-related fear once I became pregnant was stretch marks. I oiled and lotioned my belly as often as I could. I was hopeful that I’d escape stretch marks altogether because my mother never got one throughout her six pregnancies. And I almost made it. Around 37 weeks they started to appear. A few purplish-red marks below my belly button. I slathered on the vitamin e oil, as if it wasn’t too late. My husband came home that day and I told him “I think I’m getting stretch marks” and burst into tears. Why did I care so much?

Then it got worse. The marks spread upward and outward until my belly was covered. And I got smaller ones on the sides of my stomach/waist as well. I felt helpless. There was nothing I could do to stop them, and my belly was still growing. I started Googling tips and tricks until I couldn’t stand to look at the computer screen for another second.

Up until that point I had loved my pregnant belly. It was nice and round and beautiful. Now I wouldn’t even let my husband see it, let alone look at it myself.

My beautiful baby boy was born a few weeks later and I couldn’t bear to look at my stomach in the mirror in the days that followed. When I finally did get a glimpse, the stretch marks had become all loose and saggy, and seemed to cover even more of me now that my stomach had shrunken down.

It makes me so mad. Mad that there was nothing I could do to stop it. Mad that so many women seem to get through pregnancy without getting any. Most of all, mad that I cared so much about what I looked like. After all, I had a beautiful, healthy baby – something I had always, always wanted – so what should I have to complain about?

Don’t get me wrong. He is absolutely worth it. I don’t even really associate my baby with my new body. He is this perfect, wonderful gift that has made my life better in every way. I just feel like my body has somehow failed me.

Almost 3 months later, and it’s not any better. My stomach is still covered in dark stretch marks. And it doesn’t stop there. My breasts – which I used to love – are now big and saggy, and my stomach is loose and jiggly. Despite the fact that by my 6-week post-partum checkup I was back to my pre-pregnacy weight, my body is nowhere near what it used to be. My clothes all look weird and unflattering. I had thought that losing the weight would be the hard part. No, the hard part is realizing that my body, regardless of how much weight I lose, will never, ever be the same. And I just don’t know if I’ll ever be happy with it again. I can’t even fathom ever putting on the bikini I wore on my honeymoon just over a year ago.

My husband still tells me that I’m beautiful and sexy, and I love him for it, but I simply can’t believe him. I don’t think he’s even seen me naked since I gave birth – if he has, it was by accident. It’s hard to want to be intimate with him when I’m so unhappy with how I look. Not just unhappy, but actually embarrassed. I’m embarrassed about my body.

I guess what really bothers me is that I feel like I can’t do anything to fix it. I’m 26 and I feel like my body is ruined forever. And what about my next pregnancy – will it get even worse? That scares me too.

Until then I continue to do sit-ups, watch what I eat, and buy all those expensive stretch mark creams. Still waiting for it to somehow get better…

#1 – pre-pregnancy
#2 – 40 weeks pregnant
#3&4 – just under 3 months post-partum

~Age: 26
~Number of pregnancies and births: 1
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 3 months

13 thoughts on “Will it ever get better? (Anonymous)

  • Friday, December 24, 2010 at 8:45 am

    It does get better :) You are only 3 months pp! Soon enough your stretch marks will be translucent. You have a really nice shape, and your boobs look pretty darn good to me! You will look fabulous in a bikini! Believe your husband, because you are beautiful.

  • Friday, December 24, 2010 at 9:15 am

    From the perspective of someone who’s been where your husband is now, remember there are only 3 people in your life who really matter today: You, your precious son, and your husband. Please do not allow the tokens of what your body went through for 9 months to distort your self-image and the love your son and husband have for you. Women who have been through your experience can give tips about dealing with the stretch marks. The important thing for your husband is this: do not allow the image in your own mind to negate your husband’s input.

    In this life, attitude determines your altitude. (And, for what it’s worth, I think your tummy looks fine.)

  • Friday, December 24, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    You have an amazing hour glass shape. It is “the ideal” woman shape. You look fantastic. Your stretch marks are not as bad as you think they are, it just seems that way because they are on you. They will fade in no time. I wouldn’t worry.

    Believe your husband. You are totally sexy (I wish I had that sexy shape).

  • Friday, December 24, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    look on the bright side at least your breast didnt go away…like mine :(

  • Friday, December 24, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Holy mackerel you are so darn skinny and just three months postpartum! I’m super jealous! You are so gorgeous! You have great genes! Don’t worry about those TEENY ITTY BITTY LITTLE stretch marks! They will fade and soon will become hardly noticeable! :D

  • Friday, December 24, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    You look absolutely fantastic. Look at picture 1 and 4, your shape is almost back to pre preg. The stretch marks will fade with time, though they are beautiful as well.
    Have some faith in your husband, to push him away because you feel bad about your appearance is not going to be good for your relationship. Marriages take a toll just with the addition of a new family member.
    Take care of yourself in all aspects this is just as important as taking care of your child. Congrats.

  • Friday, December 24, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Give your body more time! It’s true that it took 9 months to make the baby and another 9 months to get back to your normal self. I’m 11 months PP and can still see all my stretchies, but they’re no longer that deep purple/red. Just take care of yourself, and take care of that skin–it deserves to be pampered after having a baby stretch it so much.

    PS, You look great!

  • Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 4:43 am

    I am 7 weeks post-partum and the same thing happened to me during pregnancy, just when I thought I had gotten away with no stretch marks – there they were everywhere same as yours.
    I feel the exact same way as you now, I just can’t show my husband my tummy… it’s funny though I look at you and don’t feel the same way as i do about myself – I think you look amazing.. why are we so hard on ourselves??

  • Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Hey, pretty lady :)
    Sit-ups can actually be harmful to postpartum abdominal muscles, believe it or not. Try doing “planks” and “supermans” instead. If you aren’t sure what they are, google them. They are simple excellent exercises for strengthening the abdominal muscle group that is most impacted my pregnancy.

  • Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    I identified with the first part of your post–I was TERRIFIED of getting stretch marks. I’m not going to lie, there were entries on this site that scared the crap out of me before I got pregnant. I had such a small belly even at 37 weeks (when I delivered) that I avoided them on my stomach, but they showed up all over my hips and butt months before my daughter was born. I guess I was lucky in that regard because they don’t bother me so much there–my butt’s chunky enough that a few stretchies don’t really mar it that much.

    But you know what? They’re pretty much invisible now (17 months PP). I can still see the silvery lines when I sit down naked (TMI, sorry) and there’s pressure on the skin, but that’s it. It gets better, i promise.

    From reading your entry I expected so, so much worse. Your pictures surprised the crap out of me. Don’t be so hard on yourself! You have a beautiful shape, your stretch marks really aren’t that bad at all, and those “big, saggy breasts” would look AWESOME in a bikini. Did you know people PAY for breasts like that? Give yourself a few more months for the marks to fade and you could totally rock that bikini. Hell, you could rock it now and people would be amazed you just had a baby!

    Try to work up the courage to ask your husband to take sexy pictures of you. I know it sounds ridiculous to suggest when you’re feeling so down about your body but I find that doing so really makes me aware of how amazing my body actually is–and seeing how my husband LOVES the pictures he gets out of it makes me realize that he isn’t lying when he says I’m beautiful. Posing for the camera really does help your self-confidence, I promise. You never have to show them to anybody else EVER but please at least consider giving it a try.

  • Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Sometimes it’s the simple stories on this website that break my heart. Everything seems right, but for you, it isn’t.

    You look beautiful.

  • Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Thank you all so much for your sincere and helpful comments. You have no idea how much it has helped just to write all of this out and have someone read it. I’m not comfortable sharing all of these feelings with people in my life (yet), so this has been very healing for me.

    I still have a long way to go, but this was an important first step. Thank you all.

  • Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 1:04 am

    I think you should share your thoughts with your husband. He has already expressed how he feels about you, I believe he will tell and show how he feels about your body. Honestly its time to stop listening to yourself. In this situation you are your own worst just of beauty.

    Listen to what Colleen suggested. If I was your husband I would jump at the chance and then kiss every one of those stretch marks. They are something to be celebrated as the sign of motherhood.

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