2 1/2 Years Later- Anonymous

Age: 21

A couple months after I turned 18 I found out I was pregnant. Since my boyfriend lived in California and I was so young, I was very nervous. Having my daughter changed my entire life around. I become responsible, mature and learned how to put my daughter’s needs in front of my own. My boyfriend (now fiance) became such a great dad and having her made our relationship so much stronger. However I have had trouble accepting the changes my body have gone through due to pregnancy. When I got pregnant I was 140lbs, and at 5’2, is slightly overweight. I struggled with an eating problems since I was 11, but pregnancy forced to me to learn to eat when I was hungry and choose nutritious food. I ate so healthy that I only gained 10lbs during my entire pregnancy. My doctor was not concerned at all because my baby was growing great and I was a healthy weight. I had a easy and fast labor and delivery and brought my daughter home a couple days later. I was so stressed from being a new mom, and breastfeeding, that I lost weight really quickly. 2 weeks after I delivered I was down to 128lbs and then a month later I was 118. I quit breastfeeding when my daughter was 2 months and my weight loss slowed. I now weigh 113 lbs 2 years later. I got stretch marks when I gained a little weight during puberty but I was surprised when stretch marks showed up darker in my first couple months of pregnancy- since I only gained a couple pounds and didn’t show until about 5 months. Once I gave birth I discovered a couple more stretch marks on my lower belly. My breasts, however, went from a C to a double D, got stretch marks all over them and when I quit breastfeeding I was left with soft, saggy, stretched out breasts. My stomach went pretty flat fast, but my stretch marks have not faded so well. I hated my breasts so much that I got a breast augmentation in November. I LOVE my breasts now, but still feel self conscious about my stretch marks. I plan on losing about 10 more lbs, but will have to wait to save up some $$ until I can get laser treatment to fade them. When it comes down to it, I would have a million stretch marks for my daughter :) She is my angel and my saving grace. I love her more than anything and I love spending each day watching her grow. Ladies: don’t worry about you bodies so much after birth, just focus on being healthy and the amazing ability we have to bring life into the world!

Updated here.

Triplet Mom + One – Update (Tabitha)

Original entry here.

23years old
Riley(g) Aiden(b) Chloe(g) age 2 1/2
Brennan 11months

This is an update, i had GGB triplets in 07 and then a singleton boy in 09. I was a mother to 4 before i turned 23. The stress my body underwent was amazing! I had a gap in my ab muscles big enough to feel my spine through, i also had a TON of sagging skin that i couldnt see my feet past. I eventually got to the point that i was so unhappy with myself that i would have done anything to get it all taken care of. I went to my doc to see about a tummy tuck not thinking it would happen. After about a month of physical therapy for my back because of the gap in my muscles and a few appointments in a plastic surgeon and eventually a hernia, my surgery got approved! Being that my husband is military its extremely hard to get a surgery like that approved without having problems directly involved with the pregnancies. My hernia was a blessing in disguise! On Dec 4th 2009 i got to go in for my tummy tuck. I was really nervous leaving my babies for something like this. I never leave them unless its just for a minute and thats normally only to head out for a break. So i was beside myself because i always seem to think of the worst possible outcome on things like this. The surgery went great! I dont think ive ever been so happy besides when my babies were born. I never thought i would look like a 23 year old again! I cant play with the kids better and longer now, im not so down and depressed because i hated the way i looked, i get dressed and actually put my face on and do my hair now, when before it was hard to just get out of a big t-shirt and sweats! I can happily say that i love my body! I still have a few left over stretch marks to remind me of the pregnancies which i love! The doctor did such a great job that my tummy looks natural, like its always been that way. My triplets are now 2 1/2 and my littlest is almost one, a lot has happened in the past couple of years but its all been amazing!

Struggling to Accept My Body’s Changes (Anonymous)

My Age: 29
1 Pregnancy, 1 Birth
7 Months Postpartum

I was 27 years old when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I was 28 when I delivered him. My husband was 28 as well. I had separated from the military, married my husband, and gotten pregnant all within 8 months so to say my life was changing is an understatement! My husband was (and still is) on active duty in the military. We found out shortly after our first ultrasound at 9 weeks that he would be deploying overseas. He left at 15 weeks and was gone up until 3 weeks before our son arrived. It was very tough to be pregnant with no family around and only 1 or 2 friends for support. I also lost my grandfather during this time. I believe that everything going on during the pregnancy, as well as the circumstances directly afterward, set me up for postpartum depression.

My water broke 4 days before my due date around 10 pm. We went to the hospital first thing the next morning because my contractions weren’t picking up on their own. I wanted a natural childbirth and I was devastated when I ended up on pitocin. My husband didn’t understand how important natural childbirth was for me and he didn’t support me in trying to get that in a hospital setting. I was on pitocin for 9 hours until I asked for the epidural. It was 8 more hours before our son was born. The staff kept pushing a c-section because it had been so long since my water had broken, but I refused and I am so glad I did at least get the vaginal birth I had hoped for.

I had gotten breast implants in 2006, they were put in via an incision around the nipple and placed under the muscle. I was curvy on the bottom and always felt out of proportion. I felt so good about my breasts and my body after the surgery. The plastic surgeon had assured me I’d be able to breastfeed one day and my OB told me the same. I was again devastated when that wasn’t the case. My right breast functioned but my left did not. I barely produced any colostrum and later could only get a small bit of breastmilk from the left, about a quarter ounce at the most. My son would scream and scream when I put him on the left breast from frustration at sucking and not getting enough out. I ended up supplementing because of this, I didn’t feel confident that he could get adequate milk from the right side only.

The first 3 months postpartum I struggled hard with body acceptance issues and postpartum depression. I weighed 145 when I left the military and started gaining weight from having a sedentary job and not exercising. I was 160 when I got pregnant and weighed 205 at delivery. The first 2 weeks postpartum I dropped 15 pounds. I had expected to lose more right away and felt there was something wrong with me when it didn’t happen. I was stuck there at 190 until the end of February (that’s when I started trying much harder to drop pounds) and I felt disgusting because of it. I wore sizes that made me ashamed because I couldn’t shop in the sections or stores that I used to. My husband didn’t look at me the same way either and didn’t even try to help me feel better (we’re now going through couples counseling for many issues we’re having). I felt so guilty that I couldn’t exclusively breastfeed. We had moved at 6 weeks postpartum to a new duty station where I knew no one so I felt even more isolated and lonely. I began to feel angry all the time, I cried frequently, I told family and friends I hated my life. I lashed out at my husband and even started to resent my baby and feel angry at him because in my head it seemed like he caused so much of it all. I realized things weren’t right and went to my doctor. I started taking medication for postpartum depression, stopped breastfeeding completely, and saw a counselor. I felt much better almost immediately, I’m off medication today but I wish I had started it sooner.

I’m 7 months postpartum now and weigh 170. My goal is to reach 145 again, that was my weight in the pre-pregnancy pictures. I don’t know if it will ever happen or not, right now I’d be satisfied with losing another 10 or 15. I still have a stigma attached to the sizes I have to buy. I’m nowhere near fitting into any of my old stuff and I hate buying new clothes until I lose more weight. I realize my body has changed – my butt, hips, and thighs are wider, I have back fat that made me go up in bra size, the pooch on my tummy shows through my shirts – but I don’t know yet how to come to grips with that. I have tons of clothes in storage that I’ll probably never wear again, that’s the worst part because I had a great wardrobe. Even if I do lose all the weight I’d like to, he shape of my body has changed so much that the old clothes won’t fit right anyway. Maybe one day I’ll be okay with this, I’m continuing to work on self-acceptance. For now I’m happy that I get to be mommy to a beautiful, smart and fun little boy!

16 Months Update (Anonymous)

16 Months Update

Age: 27
Number of pregnancies: 1
Number of children: 1, 16 months old

See my first post, from 4 weeks pp, here. And my second post, from 8 months pp, here.

And now here we are, 16 months pp. Whoa. Where did that time go? I had a tiny newborn and now I’ve got a toddler! He’s a force to be reckoned with, too, but in the past 16 months I have seen myself swept up in his magic and find myself happier and healthier than I have been… well, ever.

I became pregnant in August of 07 and weighed around 175-180lbs. I gained at least 30lbs while pregnant – I stopped counting when I hit 200lbs. Today I fluctuate between 132 and 134lbs and my final goal is to maintain at 128lbs (but believe me, it’s challenging. I still haven’t broken 130.) I haven’t weighed this since I was about 19 – almost 9 years ago. It’s pretty cool.

Now I am living a life that I never thought I could achieve. I’m a stay at home mom hanging out with a very cool dude every day. I find I am gaining more confidence in myself and realizing that, seriously, stretch marks are so not a big deal. I’ve got tons of them all over my thighs, but seriously, life has SO much more going on that I forget they’re even there. I still don’t like my oogly belly, but oh well. I suddenly like salads and this year I learned to garden. All the things that seemed intimidating and scary and “too hard” for me are just… not. I can do it. I can do anything I want.

Seeing your child grow up puts a lot of things into perspective. I want to be around and healthy and set a good example for my son. A positive attitude, healthy habits, and appreciation of small things are the lessons my son has taught me – now I just hope I can return the favor to him.

Having a child was the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m so much happier, healthier and complete than I was before him. I hope someday I can tell him how much he has changed me for the better!

PS: When my son turned one I had a medically recommended bilateral breast reduction mammaplasty surgery. I’m not going to tell you or anyone else they should or should not have breast reduction surgery. I was referred for the surgery before I became pregnant and it took me 2 years to get in to actually see the surgeon for a consult. You can see the scars in these photos. It was the right move for me, and I’m very happy with the results.

Toddler Plastic Surgery?

I caught a glimpse of this video on some show last night (honestly I don’t even know which one – the husband was flipping channels and I made him stop so I could see this) and went straight to MomLogic.com to see the whole thing. It’s a commentary on plastic surgery and, perhaps, a plea that we as a culture take a step back and really LOOK at ourselves and our obsession with fixing what’s not broken.

The video is quite funny, but really brings home the message that we are being a bit ridiculous about changing our appearances – from nose jobs (I was SO SAD when Ashlee Simpson got a boring nose) to bellies, are we sending the wrong message to our daughters (and sons and to each other)?

Truly, I do not judge another woman’s choice, for I have not walked in her shoes. And I also want to make it clear that all mamas are welcome here, regardless of your opinion on this subject. But I feel that – in general – we are just applying band-aids to this problem of self-esteem our culture has created within us. I believe the only real way to heal ourselves is to learn to love (or at least not hate) bodies in all the shapes they come in. Once our stomachs are “fixed” what part will we hate next? We have to fight for our diversity!

I have a fantastically ugly belly by society’s standards, but I flat-out refuse to feel that way about it. I am determined to love my belly no matter how hard it is. And I will do that for myself and for my daughter and for anyone else who is inspired by the act. What are you determined to love? And who do you do it for?

The Doctor Said I Need a Breast Lift, WHY? (Anonymous)

Age: 27
Pregnancies: 3
Five months PP

I consulted a cosmetic surgeon about having cosmetic surgery. I wanted breast implants to plump them back up a bit as they are a bit smaller than they were before baby number three, but was told that I needed a breast lift too. I don’t mind about implant scars, as they are in the arm pit, and tiny. But I feel that an uplift operation involves too much obvious scarring, and would make me look worse, not better!!!!!!

I personally don’t think I need them lifting anywhere, unless he wants to put them on my shoulders!!! I may be wrong, I don’t know!

So, I got to thinking, is there a need for me to have this done, or is this man trying to make as much money as he can from vunerable women who feel so bad about them selves after having a baby that they get procedures carried out just because a doctor said they need it done?

I can see a need for a breast lift operation for some people, as the results can be amazing, but I question if cosmetic surgery is being offered to readilly, and to people who don’t really need it. It’s like people have become customers, not patients.

In the early stages after having a baby (I’ve had three), I always get down about the way I look, but I am kind of offended that the doctor I consulted seems to be taking advantage of this.

So, please beware if you are seeking any surgery after child birth!!!!

And, needless to say, I won’t be having a breast lift operation (although the implants still sound good if I can find another doctor)

6.5 Weeks PP (Misho)

I’m a 21 year old first time mum. I’ve never been skinny but mostly I accepted my body….I had more up days than down. I can’t say that I loved being pregnant, at this point I don’t want to do it again but I didn’t hate it either. I do hate what it did to my body. I gained about 35 lbs and the stretch marks appeared overnight the first time I had a larger weight increase in a week.
Strangely enough, now that my daughter is 6.5 weeks old I feel great, most days. I hate the way my body looks but I’ve been more physically active and soaking up the compliments that my daughter receives. I had a breast reduction last year, so I was unable to breast feed my daughter for longer than a week and a half. The scale is still stuck at 208 and I want to lose 30 lbs before my wedding in July. Unlike lots of women, I don’t wear my stretch marks and sagging tummy with pride. I think it’s ugly and can’t wait for the marks to fade and to reach my goal weight, or at least be able to wear regular sized pants again. I do love my daughter and I get butterflies in my stomach every time I think about how much she’s changed my life already. I’m slowly gaining confidence and self-esteem and my the time she’s old enough to know I can teach my daughter how to love herself no matter what because I will have overcome those obstacles myself.

This site is fantastic and I’m so glad to have found it….looking forward to the day that I can post my “after” pictures for the internet to see.

4 Babies, 1 Tummy Tuck (Danielle)

Previous entries here and here.

One year and one day after having my forth baby, I had a tummy tuck. Now I’ve participated in the past at how this site has made me feel liberated from the tone of how mothers should look after having babies. Well like some moms here I did get back to pre pregnancy weight will all my pregnancies quickly. The only problem I had was I had to tuck my skin in my pants too. I had muscle separation too. So 2 weeks ago I underwent a tummy tuck. It wasn’t easy. Actually the recovery was and is harder for me than than the 3 c-sections. But now I have a tight tummy and I still have faint stretchmarks that fall just under my belly button instead of all around it. I’m happy that I didn’t loose all of my strechmarks especially those that I had from my stillborn baby girl. I’m happy with my decision. The pictures that I submit show how I looked before my tummy tuck and after. Now I’m still healing and the rash that you see on my hips is actually a reaction to the medical tape they used under the binding, apparently I was allergic to it and we did not know it. But in time the scars & redness will fade and it will look much better.

Triplet Mom carries to full term for triplets 36 weeks and get 6″ of muscle separation (Triplet Mom)

I am a 22 year old mom of triplets (also non-IVF) I had been married only 2 months when we found out we were expecting. After two ultrasounds of one baby–triplets! I carried them to full term for triplets–36 weeks– and gained 80 lbs. I went from a size 6 to 230lbs on delivery day. After 3 months I was back in my size 6 jeans so I think a lot must have been swelling. Healthy babied did come with a heavy price tag on my body. My abdominals split 6″ apart leaving me at dangerous risk of a hernia. I had to have them sewn back together and got 5lbs of skin cut off as well. I hated my saggy skin every day especially being so young so surgery was not only medically the way to go for me but self esteem wise. Here is my pictures of pregnancy, post partum, surgery and post surgery. Enjoy! I’m baring it all for you. Hope this touches someone like all the other posts have touched me.





















Surgery Photos can be seen here and here.

Mention in Brain, Child Magazine

Author Melissa Stanton recently wrote an article on the controversial “Mom Job” plastic surgery package in Brain, Child magazine. She mentions this website in the article. Overall, I think the article is mostly balanced, but I would like to take this opportunity to clear up one thing about this website.

The Shape of a Mother is often misunderstood to be a site dedicated to loving the postpartum image – that IS a big part of my hopes for the site, but it is Step 2 for us as women. Step 1 is simply to put the images out there so we know we aren’t alone. Stanton mentions this in her article – the relief of knowing she wasn’t the only mom to face this. I think once we know we are part of a big, worldwide sisterhood, then we can begin moving down our respective paths of of self-love, whatever that may mean to each of us as individuals.

I know the images here are as scary to some women as they are reassuring to others. I think that’s normal – after all, this has been our deep, dark secret for so long. What I want is to let the secret out. If it’s not secret anymore, it will no longer be shocking or scary.

What did you think of the article?