I am 24 years old, I have 2 beautiful little girls – a 2 year old and a 6 month old, and I love them with all my heart and soul. However, I am so disgusted and ashamed of my body that I won’t let my husband see me naked. I gained 40 pounds with both pregnancies and lost all the weight plus some 2 months after each. What I am left with is horrible rippling stretch marks, loose dough like stomach skin, saggy breasts and a flat tush! I have always had insecurities, especially about my face – pretty has never been a word I have ever described myself with, and now that my body is ruined too, I just feel so ashamed. My husband calls me beautiful, and I know he’s lying since he watches porn and has always been very critical of other women’s bodies. When we do have sex and I’m not covered, i can’t enjoy it. My doctor told me there is nothing I can do about my skin. So now I need to find a way to cope with my body as it is. It is to the point where I can’t concentrate or have fun with my children because all I think about is how ugly my tummy has become.
I am 39 years old, wanting to accept my changing body, 3 pregnancies (3P/2B), both birth were vaginal, My “normal size”, 160cm, 55 kg (110lbs). Breast 32B,
I was 37 at the time I was pregnant with my second baby, I did gain a lot of weight and when I was 39 weeks I weighted nearly 76kg (150lbs), and I am only 160cm, 5 ft 3 in – I did look like an elephant, but somehow I liked my body, I was adored by my hubby and he was regularly taking pictures of my growing body.
Disaster came after I gave a birth … 5 months postpartum I still looked like I was pregnant, (First 11 pictures), stretch marks on my belly was the worst, my breasts got saggy and my nipples changed shape. My hips and legs look like I was 20 years older that I am, WHAT TO DO !
~Number of pregnancies and births:3/2
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 12/2, I am 2 years PP
What beautiful, brave women you all are for opening up and bearing your hearts, minds and bodies here on this site! I have been reading stories on here to learn and prepare for some of the physical and emotional changes I may experience after I’ve given birth since I have no previous experience to draw on. I look at you all with utter awe and admiration, and in my opinion you are as feminine as it gets and I feel so proud to be about to join your ranks.
I am only part way along the motherhood journey, approx. 6 months pregnant so far. I am 30 yrs old and this is my first baby. I haven’t developed any stretch marks on my tummy or breasts as yet, but I have gained some weight on my thighs and my bottom, and developed a few varicose veins on one of my legs as you can see in the pictures.
I don’t have a picture-perfect body by magazine standards, but it’s mine to live in and so I do treasure it, especially now that I’m pregnant – it constantly amazes me. I don’t really feel sexy in the same way as I used to, but I feel more womanly and powerful in my body than ever and therefore sexy in a whole new and much deeper way.
I have not always felt as free and loving toward myself and my body. I had painful experiences with my body image, depression and anxiety in my teens and early 20’s. Over the years since recovering though, I have come to see my body more as a way I can express my spirit and receive/share with the world around me, than a purely physical form that defines me, and is either “attractive” or “unattractive” to the world.
Reading many stories I really feel the grief expressed by different women about what they once were and are no longer since having babies… the permanent features that they can never change or undo (without surgery, or even with the help of surgery)… and the unrelenting sense of pressure/expectation from partners, society or just themselves to improve or restore themselves to their former glory, as if now they are less than they were and lacking in various ways, even though they have just become SO MUCH MORE.
I feel the pain particularly as many women talk about taking wonderfully healthy actions like being physically active, eating consciously, trying to be positive and proactive without experiencing any tangible results and the frustration, self-loathing and hopelessness that ensues. Wonderful, extraordinary women feeling like they need to take all sorts of extreme and harsh measures, even against their own intuition, to eliminate the ways in which they horrify themselves. I don’t judge one single one of you, because I have felt these things about myself in the past, without even having the excuse of having had a baby and the very real physical changes that come with that. I simply wish you did not have to suffer that shame/pain/grief/self-loathing, when you are actually so incredibly worthy and deserving of boundless honour and admiration.
My pursuit of perfection when I was younger, although I didn’t know I was doing it, eventually led to complete exhaustion, self-loathing, anxiety and ultimately depression. My self-esteem was blown apart and my perception of myself shockingly distorted. I shudder to think what effect pregnancy might have had on me at that time in my life and how I would have dealt with it.
I was fortunate to have a lot of professional guidance, loving supportive people around me and I was quite committed to being well again, but even still it was a long road to learn the lessons and tools for loving myself that I needed to be healthy and happy. I eventually was blessed to discover the power of a beautiful guided meditation process for healing called “The Journey”, which is all about uncovering the unconditional love that resides within you and allowing it flow through you. You learn to see yourself through the eyes of an innocent child/best friend/loving parent all mixed together and effectively let go of so many unhealthy ideas about what determines worth in the world – incredibly healing. Out of everything, learning this was what made all the difference for me, and still makes the difference for me now.
For someone who was ridiculously diligent, self-disciplined and compulsively trying to “fix”/”improve” myself, learning how to relax all that mental pressure, stop forcing myself constantly and just surrender to the knowledge of how extraordinary I already was WITHOUT BEING PERFECT was the most powerful key in my journey towards healing. I gradually learnt how to accept myself exactly as I was BEFORE I was better, healthier, more attractive, more capable, successful, etc. My life’s not perfect and nor am I, by my whole life has become much easier and more beautiful, and I feel beautiful just as I am.
A line in the post called “I Want My Body Back” (Anonymous) is what ultimately inspired me to share some of my story with you all here. The line was: “I just want to love myself for what I look like now”. I wanted to share the way that I learnt how to give myself that gift of self-love for her, and for all of you beautiful women who deserve that gift too, just in case it helps in any way.
I hope it’s ok to quote a couple of ladies who’ve posted here on this site – these are just some of the most beautiful and uplifting words I have read and I will hold them in my heart as I continue on my journey of becoming a mother:
“I was beautiful then and I’m beautiful now… Size does not equate worth, or love, or beauty…” (It’s oK To Feel Beautiful – Jennifer)
“Tears running down my face… This body was the look of true beauty, of work and reward, of suffering and love.” (My Post Partum Body – Courtney)
Thank you for all of your stories.
I married my husband on my 18th birthday. A little over a month after our first anniversary, we found out about our oops baby. We had been using condoms, and I guess one failed. We were scared, since we were so young, but excited. I knew my body would change, but I was fairly confident that my belly would bounce right back like everyone said it would because I’m so young. Then I developed preeclempsia. I am 5’7″ and started at 121 lbs before pregnancy, dropped down to 119 right after I got pregnant, and then barely gained 12 lbs in the entire first two trimesters. Then I started jumping up at least 5 lbs a week from water weight with preeclempsia. Nothing I did prevented this, not even the extremely low sodium diet I was put on. When I went to the hospital at 41 weeks to be induced, I weighed 189 lbs. I lost nearly all of the water weight within three months of giving birth. I breastfed/pumped until my milk dried up at 4 months pp, and none of the real weight (all located in my belly and lovehandles) went away. The rest of my body looks the same as it did prepregnancy (aside from the one saggy boob lol), but between my bellybutton and vulva I am stretchmarked, saggy, blobby, and jiggly. It looks gross and makes me a little sick to look at it. My stretchmark color isn’t what bothers me, they’ve faded to a light lavender/pink/silver, it’s the fact that most of them are a 1/4 inch wide, and I even have a few over a 1/2 inch wide. Not long. WIDE. You can physically see the tears in my tissue under the skin. My tummy skin is saggy and floppy and makes me think of Adam Sandler’s tongue belly on Click. My love handles FORCE me to wear mom jeans up to my bellybutton, because anything lower gives me a muffin top of colossal proportions. I can’t wear sexy underwear, because the effect is ruined by all the flab spilling out over the top and my cellulite and stretchmarked butt. I’ve dieted, eaten right, walked, done yoga, and every other exercise I can do without danger to my health (I have exercise induced asthma attacks so I can only do exercises that don’t make you breathe fast or hard). Now my daughter is walking and running, and I’m also chasing her around. Nothing helps. My husband says he loves my body, and tells me I’m beautiful, but I know it’s because he doesn’t want to upset me. He may love me for me, but there is NO WAY to be attracted to my midsection below my bellybutton. I have always been a person who hates clothing, and if given an opportunity I would never wear them, but it’s sad now for me to have to be fearful of wearing certain clothes because they make me look lumpy or gross.
Pregnancy also ruined my health. My immune system is shot. Before I got pregnant, I was the kind of person that got sick maybe once a year. I developed recurrent strep after I had my daughter, and get it at least once a month. I also get recurrent sinus infections, and catch any illness I am or am not exposed to. I exercise regularly, and yet normal everyday activities like getting off the couch and cooking dinner make me out of breath. I am not overweight for my height 5’7 at 132 lbs, but I FEEL fat. Not like the way I look, but the way I feel when trying to move around. Fat and old and unhealthy. I just want to be healthy and pretty again so much that I go on good sob fests probably every week. I can’t afford to go to the doctor to see what is wrong, and I am so sick and tired of being sick and tired. Does this ever end? Will I ever feel like a healthy happy woman again, comfortable in my body?
~Number of pregnancies and births: 2 pregnancies, 1 birth at 41 weeks. 1 miscarriage at 8 weeks.
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 1 year old
When I was only 18 y/o I had my first son at 10 pounds and 22 inches. I am only 5 ft. I gained 60 pounds and wound up with nasty stretch marks. I’m now pushing 23 and it has been 4 yrs since I’ve worn a bikini. I had my daughter in june 2012. She weighed 6 lbs and left me no marks. This beginning of march 2013 I started training hard at a local gym. I do cardio and intense weight traning. I feel so let down sometimes when I look in the mirror, I hate comparing myself to friends putting sexy summer photos on their web pages. I just want to be sexy again and for my husband. My husband met me with all my marks, but hey I’m young, so why shouldn’t I get fit and prove to myself that I can do this. I’ve come a long way already….has anyone actually reduced the marks with exercise? I’m thinking of laser or bluelight therapy.
(Excuse all the upside-down photos. My computer won’t save them upright for some reason. Gah. -Bonnie)
I had only been dating my boyfriend for 3 months when we found out I was pregnant. I was on depo for 5 years, took antibiotics, then freaked because I forgot about the effect that antibiotics have on BC, so I took Plan B. Still got pregnant. I never wanted children. I had no desire to be a mother. I panicked when the test came out positive. All I could think about was how big I was going to get. As the months went by, and the number on the scale kept getting bigger and bigger, I just could not wait to not be pregnant anymore. Everyone kept telling me that the 65 pounds I gained would just fall off, because my son is my first. I was one of the lucky ones who did not get one single stretch mark. However, I got an ass full of cellulite, as well as cottage cheese thighs. I noticed cellulite on my calves too. What gives! Anyway.. Two weeks postpartum I stepped on the scale, and noticed that I had lost 30 pounds, and I was at 205 pounds. So, I was hopeful that what everyone said about the weight falling off was true. Lies. I am now nearly 6 months PP, and am just now starting to lose weight. I am at 192.5 today. It isn’t because I am exercising, or watching what I eat. It is because I just flat out, do not eat. I eat only when my boyfriend is around, and very little at that. This is where the problem starts. All I can think about, is how disgusting my body is. Never mind that it carried, grew, nourished, and nurtured an absolutely adorable, funny, amazing baby. That just does not impress me. Pregnancy destroyed my body. Not just my skin, but my hair, teeth, and nails. Everything about me just absolutely repulses me. I found out my boyfriend was visiting a website that promotes teenage porn. He says that he didn’t know that the girls were underage, but it is QUITE obvious. He was viewing videos of girls masturbating. Which, has made me feel even worse. He has apologized incredibly, and vows to never view porn all together. Which, I don’t know if I believe him. He says that he only wants me, but my warped mind can’t help but think that if this were true, then why does he feel he needs to watch videos of 17 year olds shoving dildos in their vaginas? Might I also add that he made an account with a questionable website where he tried to view live webcams of girls masturbating. Let me make this clear. Pre-pregnancy, I had NO PROBLEM with porn. I watched it, we watched it together, and I had no problem with him watching it. I’m just incredibly insecure now, and am in a very fragile state. I can’t even watch a television show that has pretty women in it with him, or even by myself for that matter, because it makes me very uncomfortable, and all I can think about is how much my body disgusts me. I know that my train of thought is fucking ridiculous, and that “I’m beautiful no matter what,” but how do I make myself believe that? I just so badly want to be OKAY with myself. I constantly beat myself up. I cry every day. I can’t even look in the mirror without thinking how ugly I am. I was so vivacious, optimistic, fun, and bubbly before I got pregnant, and now I feel like nobody wants to be around me because I am such a drag. I fear that my new found pessimism will drive my boyfriend away. I feel like I am no fun. I can’t go a whole day without being in a bad mood. No matter how hard I try to just be OPTIMISTIC, something happens that just destroys that. My moods are like a light switch. I tried anti-depression medicine, but it did not help. I tried talking to family and friends, and they all said the same shit, “You’re beautiful no matter what.” Frankly, I’m sick of hearing that. I need someone who can whole heartedly relate to me, who has gotten over their funk, to give me advice on how to get over this state of sadness and evilness. I want to feel like ME again. I want to be able to go to the store with my boyfriend, without feeling like he is comparing me to every single woman there, thinking “I wish she looked like that.” I have no idea how to change this, but it needs done. I want to believe my boyfriend when he tells me, several times a day, how beautiful I am. I want to feel NORMAL.
Oh, and might i add, that my baby boy is my most proud achievement. When ever he smiles at me, I can’t help but get a huge smile. He is the only thing that is getting me through life right now. Please help me. I need a strangers advice <3 ~Age: 29 ~Number of pregnancies and births: 1 pregnancy, 1 birth ~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 5 months, and 5 months pp [gallery]
~Number of pregnancies and births: 2 pregnancies, 2 home births
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 4 weeks PP
I am 4 weeks to the day PP with my second pregnancy. And like with my first pregnancy I don’t have much to show for it. During the course of my first pregnancy, I gained 18 pounds (although, when asked I lie and tell people I gained 20). And why for God’s sake is anyone asking what a woman gained during her pregnancy anyway? She gained a baby! Anyways..
I was cognizant of my weight gain, or lack there of. Comments from my friends or strangers pointing out how skinny I was only made me feel worse. I even had a few people tell me that I was going to have a tiny 5 lb baby. I bit my tongue and thought I (we) will prove them wrong. I was determined to gain weight. I wanted to have a home birth and so I knew how important it was to maintain a healthy and low risk pregnancy. I kept a record of what I ate, I ate every few hours, whether I had an appetite or not and I made a goal to eat at least 80 grams of protein a day. In the end, my son was 5 days over and I gave birth (at home) to a beautiful and healthy 8.0 lb 22 inch baby boy.
My second pregnancy was along those similar lines. I gained 25 lbs. I wore my regular clothes until I was 7 months pregnant. No retaining water, no stretch marks, no vaginal tear during delivery, blah blah blah. You are hating my right now. But please let me take this time and space to get this off my chest, because I can’t talk about this with my sister-who gained nearly 90 lbs with my nephew and has stretch marks covering her hips. And I can’t explain my feelings of dismay about my body with my best friend-who just had her first baby and gained 70 lbs and looks like Freddy Kruger tried to claw his way through her stomach.
This is my husband’s first child. At 5 months pregnant, he started to lose interest in sex and by 8 months it was completely gone. For me it was the exact opposite. If I had been a sexual creature before being pregnant, I had become a sexual MONSTER during pregnancy. So when he finally told me he wasn’t comfortable having sex until after the baby was born, I was… sad, mad, disappointed, confused.. etc. He blamed it on my huge belly (which really wasn’t that huge). Finally he admitted that he just wasn’t attracted to me. Ouch.. I tried being empathetic while at the same time I was completely enraged. ‘ I have needs God Damnit! I don’t care if you are not attracted to me!’ But instead I told myself to be patient. And even though I was told by strangers constantly that I was such a cute pregnant woman or that I looked great being 9 months pregnant or getting whistled at (twice) while getting into my car, the only person I wanted to find my attractive didn’t, so none if it really mattered.
I stopped being comfortable being naked around him and would wear my towel from the bathroom to the bedroom. I got dressed standing behind the closet door. I started sleeping in his t-shirt and boxers instead of just my underpants. I had the sense that he was completely repulsed by me. I tried explaining to him how this was affecting me and that I needed to feel desired by him. But my pleas didn’t hold any water. I was worried about how this tension between us would affect our planned home birth. If I am this uncomfortable around him now, would I feel comfortable laboring with him? Would it cause me to have complications during my labor?
And then the day came and we labored together just fine and it was the happiest (along with the day my son was born) day of my life. And for the next few weeks I contentedly set about fulfilling the task of 24/7 care of my daughter. Then last week I stopped bleeding. Hurray! I cautiously talked to my husband about the cessation and opened the discussing with him about when he would feel comfortable having sex again. He didn’t seem so thrilled. But the next day we tried. It was OK. Probably pretty average for the first time you try to have sex after baby. But that was a week ago and even though it’s been two months since we have had sex (except for our first “try” last week) he is showing no interest at all. And my self esteem is plummeting. He blames it on, ‘I am a mother now’ and he sees me in this “motherly light” and our daughter is always nursing and she is in bed with us and blah blah blah.
Just because I am a mother doesn’t mean I handed over my right to being sexy and that I no longer want to be desired by my husband.
So SOAM, here I am 4 weeks PP with my body in great shape for just having had a baby and…. I HATE it! I want my husband to desire me and he doesn’t. Fat or skinny, it does not matter what you look like if the man you are madly in love with has no interest in being intimate with you.
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.
2 children 2, 4
After searching ‘bodies after baby’ I came across this site and posted photos of my body (left photos) a month shy of a year ago. Even though I still felt huge, unlike myself and down about my body…the comments that were posted made me feel so much better. Throughout this last year, I have lost 22 lbs. I’m down to 127 now…but it’s so weird that I’m still this big. My 127 pre-baby would have been skinny, now after babies…I still have so much loose skin and fat. I am working hard at adopting better eating habits and working out. I’ve began running again and am trying to get this extra weight off. I know some will look at my photos and think I look fine, but I want to be comfortable in my own body. I’ll never be able to wear a bikini again (it seems that my stretch marks are becoming more evident the more weight I lose bc of saggy skin, hard to tell in these photos) but I would like to wear a swim suit without wearing shorts to cover me. I don’t want to lose weight to be a certain number, I want to gain confidence! My boyfriend and I have been together 1 1/2 years and he has never seen my belly…we were dating in this earlier picture I posted. I know that he loves me no matter the size I am…esp since we started dating when I was 22 lbs heavier…but I want to be comfortable around him. To not pull down at my shirt if its coming up, or to not jump if he accidentally taps my midsection.
I know I’ve definitely changed in this last year…hoping to continue on until I get to my goal. I want to do this for the physical aspects obviously, but more than that…the mental. It’s hard for me to stick with something like working out or eating right….I need to adopt the idea that self control is my super power :)
Original post here.
# of Pregnancies/Births: 1
Age of Child: 17 months
It’s been 1 year since my first post and I’m now 17 months postpartum. My body hasn’t changed drastically in that time, but there has been some progress. My once pink stretch marks on my stomach, butt, and hips are now invisible in photographs and not noticeable unless I stretch my skin to emphasis them. 1 year ago I was at 115 lbs and now have dropped to 105 lbs, which is less than my pre-pregnancy weight. My breasts are the most depressing part of my body. I feel completely flat-chested and embarrassed that I don’t have ANY natural cleavage. They make me so sad and I look forward to getting implants one day when I can afford it. Recently, I’ve become somewhat depressed and I feel like it’s getting worse. My boyfriend and I live separately because we can’t qualify to buy a home yet. In attempt to help our family and because I felt like I needed some independence, I got my very first job. I ended up never getting to see my boyfriend. My daughter wouldn’t adjust to daycare and it was so damn expensive that at the end of the day I hardly made $10. On top of all that, I cheated on my boyfriend with a guy I worked with. It was just a kiss, but I still felt terrible and my boyfriend got it out of me. I quit my job with my head hung low because not only did I not help my family financially AT ALL (I just about broke even after gas, daycare, and clothes/shoes I had to buy for work), I lost my boyfriend’s trust and violated our relationship. I feel like a failure. It makes me feel so horrible when I’m sitting at home with my daughter and I cry. She’ll bring me a tissue to wipe my eyes and give me a hug and kiss. I know that I need to be strong for her, but I feel helpless. Being self-reliant is completely out of reach for me at this point in my life. Now that I’m not working I need to get back into the swing of all the household cleaning and chores that need to get done, but I just haven’t been motivated. With all that being said, my body actually makes me happy most of the time, except for my breasts of course. I’d love to get into modeling, but I’m worried that my tattoos, scars, and lack of height will prevent me from getting anywhere. Every day is a struggle for me right now, but I know I need to keep my head up and tell myself that everything will turn out okay. Thanks for reading.
1-3. Postpartum body
4. My little Daisy