My Body and the Lies (Anonymous)

number of pregnancies and births: 1 (boy)
7 months post partum

I gave birth to a handsome and precious baby boy. He was 7 lbs and 9 oz. Right now he is 7 months old and i now know how it feels to have my heart living outside of my body. Im with him 24/7 and even though im exhausted at the end of the day, i adore every moment. The things im ddevastated about are my body and the fact that now im the typical teen mom you know? I’m 18 now but i had him at 17. I was 16 and pregnant and boy, did i suffer from nausea, vomiting, fainting, fatigue, puppp (a rash), etc. I never thought i’d be the one to get pregnant. At 14 i was in an early college taking college classes and doing high school at the same time. I just knew i was gonna be somebody. My whole family seems to have turned out succesful. There are doctors, engineers, journalists, teachers, etc. When i was barely 14 i met the man that i fell in love with and it might sound crazy and insane, but it happens. We were in a long distance for 2 years and now we are going on 4 years of being together! we have gone through hell because the long distance was so hard to deal with and no one understood that. I feel like people who go through long distance dont get enough credit. we’ve been through great and horrible times. He is a great man and I still get butterflies in my stomach when i hear him coming up the steps after a long day of work. Hes a hard worker, a great daddy and a loving future husband. But i still somehow feel like i am not enough sometimes. I was 100lbs before having our first baby with a flat tummy and overall happy. i never had to watch what i ate. Now evrrything has changed. I feel disgusting when I see my stomach and it is sad because that part of my body is what once held my son. I did an amazing thing in this world and im complaining about my body? I just feel so horribly sad when I feel so insecure and i feel like my boyfriend will eventually get bored of my body and want someone else who’s beautiful. When i was smaller i was in a Vogue magazine and sometimes id love to try to get into modeling, but then i remember how my body looks and id probably get laughed at if i went to an audition. Even though i get told all the time that im beautiful and that i look like a doll, i dont feel attractive. I am generally happy with my face and parts of my body, but then all of a sudden BAM! I get these sudden thoughts about how disgusting i feel and sometimes how fat I look. I have good days and bad days. A lot of the time i try to lie to myself that its not that bad although i know that for me, it is. I had my son in august, so since it was extremely hot, i lost weight super fast after having him. right before i had him i weighed 140 lbs! And now i am 120. But since im short i feel like it just looks like too much. Sometimes i still look pregnant and i still wear a gyrtle. When my boyfriend and I get intimate, i feel like he shouldnt look at me and i just want to hide. I want to look as sexy and beautiful as i can for him but i feel like a huge failure. Im 18 and i already Have a belly full of stretch marks and wrinkles? I feel like maybe he just acts like he loves it because he doesnt want to hurt me. The weird part that my head will not understand and sometimes the frustration makes me cry, is that he is always all over me telling me how good i look and how much he wants me, but i feel like anyone who really saw how i look will say it looks gross. My mom, sister, aunt, and mother in law all made a grossed out face when they saw my tummy after the baby. So how can my boyfriend say it looks good to him and how can he want me like he does? Anyone in their right mind would say it looks bad! When we go out somewhere and a beautiful girl walks by, my heart burns and turns into coal because i just know sometimes he might desire a girl like that. He might compare and thats what scares me. I feel so small when i see someone who looks great and they look confident and i just dont. I dont know what to do. I know working out will help, but i know i wont get a flat tummy unless i get surgery or something because my muscles are so far apart. Im actually content with my legs and stuff so if i work out, i might lose weight everywhere else, get more stretch marks, and at the end still have a hanging stomach. What do i do? I dont know, because there are bigger things to worry about but this knaws at me Every. Single. Day.

Welcoming Our Twins (Anonymous)

Age: 34
Pregnancies/births: 1/2
Age of children: 8 months

I found out I was carrying twins when I had a scan at 6 weeks because of some pain and bleeding. Turns out it was my uterus stretching quickly because there were two of them in there! Even at that early stage they located two heartbeats, although the babies were like tiny kidney beans on screen. The ultrasound tech had been called in at short notice because it was a Sunday in the ER (my health anxiety got the better of me), and I’m not saying anything either way but he kind of smelled like whisky. Anyway it was a really fun session once I stopped laughing hysterically and shaking (“what do you mean there’s TWO EGG SACS?!!”), he took a load of pictures for me and explained what everything was and I was sent home to break the news to my husband. He actually laughed as well which was something of a relief.

One of the nicest things about being newly pregnant with twins was that I didn’t have to wait very long until I started to show. One of the other nicest things was that I first felt a tiny kick at 15 weeks; I was so excited! I found it difficult that I didn’t feel confident to exercise, as I’m usually pretty active. I didn’t want to ride my bike or rock climb; I know that some women continue to do both until quite late in pregnancy but I was too worried about having an accident. I love to hike and continued to do that until I got pretty big.

I ate a LOT in the first trimester as I’d read that gaining 25lb by 25weeks was a good way to ensure that your babies would get a great start on their weight gain. Subsequently I got a great start on my own weight gain! I started at 130lb which I felt was slightly overweight for me (but probably isn’t – I was constantly working on losing that “last five pounds”). By the time the twins arrived I was over 200lb, I stopped weighing myself about 10 days before they got here because it was mildly terrifying. So, I gained 70+ lb, partly because I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and hospitalized at 35 weeks. The preeclampsia made me retain a lot of fluid and added to my weight gain.

I wasn’t severely preeclamptic and my blood pressure never got too high (no medication), but I had a horrible case of PUPPS rash (aka Satan incarnate) and it was the hottest summer since about 1411 and the hospital didn’t have air con. I spent most of my days stark naked, standing in my bay on the prenatal ward with the curtain drawn round and my arms held out at my sides (I couldn’t bear any of my own skin to touch myself, that’s how itchy the PUPPS was), scaring the staff when they popped their heads around the curtain. Seriously most of them had never heard of PUPPS, I felt like some sort of teaching aid.

The hospital wanted to induce me which I was dead set against as I was scared it wouldn’t work properly and I’d end up with a c-section, or it’d work too well and the contractions would be too intense and I’d end up with an epidural and then with a c-section (did I mention the health anxiety?). As it turned out my waters broke at 2am when I was 36 weeks, and our girls were born naturally 17 hours later. My husband and my mum were amazing. Labour was more painful than I hoped but nowhere near as painful as I feared. I’d wanted a water birth at home with no pain relief and giving birth in theater while hooked up to a continuous fetal monitor wasn’t exactly the plan but considering the circumstances it was the safest and best outcome possible. No drugs apart from beta blockers to lower my blood pressure, and a vaginal delivery, which I had very much wanted.

I’ve struggled since the birth with my body image. I’m still 20lb overweight and the skin on my belly will never be the same. My breasts have dropped (they went up to a G cup so it’s not surprising!), but I remind myself how lucky I am to have been able to beast feed my girls. I never really liked my boobs that much but I did love my flat, smooth stomach and I do get sad when I look at it now. I’m 5’ 6” and I carried the girls straight out in front, and the skin was stretched beyond repair. It’s wrinkly and crepey and I have a diastasis so my belly sticks out and I still look pregnant. My stretch marks are very fine and pale and hardly noticeable, which I’m grateful for. I wasn’t prepared for the extent of the changes to my body and have found it hard to deal with – my husband tells me that he still finds me attractive but it’s difficult for me to see how he can.

The hardest thing for me to cope with has been the multiple prolapses I suffered since the birth. I have a cystocele and a rectocele (my bladder and rectum both bulge into my vagina); luckily I don’t have problems with incontinence but I do feel uncomfortable most days. It’s been difficult for me to return to exercise. I love to climb, hike, cycle and backpack, and I worry that I won’t be able to do those things in the future. The backpacking is especially hard to think of losing. My husband and I have done many long trips of two or three weeks duration during which we walked for 15-20 miles a day up mountains while wearing 25lb backpacks – right now I can’t imagine a time when my pelvic floor will be able to take that kind of strain, and it kills me. I cry about the prolapse often. I wish that people talked about this issue more because I wasn’t even really aware that it could happen to me until it did and it was a horrible shock. I know that I need to be patient for a while longer as a lot of healing happens in the first year after birth and I don’t yet know what the final outcome will be, but it’s hard and I get scared.

My girls are beautiful, healthy and I love seeing them change every day. I couldn’t have imagined how much I would love them (and I imagined that I would love them a lot!). As I said I wish that prolapse was more widely discussed as I feel that I would have done a few things differently if I’d known that it affects up to 50% of women. I would give anything for the changes to my body to be merely cosmetic and external. I am hoping against hope that if I continue to lose weight and do my kegels religiously then I might eventually be fairly symptom free, although I know that prolapse is lifelong. I am very much hoping to avoid surgery.

The first picture is my stomach at about 6 weeks pregnant, second is me at 8 months post partum. Third is a close up of my stomach post partum, and fourth is a side view. Fifth and sixth are our gorgeous girls :)

Two Weeks Postpartum Baby # 2 (Anonymous)

My first child is 7 years old and I had the pupps rash and severe stretch marks that later faded. I had some lose skin but this baby has given me a hanging pouch. My son was born 9-22 and I carried him straight out front like a watermelon. I gained about 26 lbs and have lost all but about 12 . I had lost that after about the first week but I’m staying steady at 130 now. I am swollen or have a hard spot above belly button(uterus?) I don’t remember this with DD. my belly button is awful. It’s flipped completely out. Here I am 2 weeks and 1 day pp, 2nd child.

C-Section, Droopy Tummy, & the Bright Side (Anonymous)

Photo 1: PUPPS rash and stretch marks at 7 months pregnant
Photo 2: 38 weeks pregnant. 1 week before my delivery
Photo 3: 4 months PP boobs and stomach (front view)
Photo 4: 4 months PP stomach (side view)
Photo 5: Close up of stretch marks
Photo 6: Close up of C-Section scar
Photo 7: Postpartum booty. Not too shabby

~Age: 32
~Number of pregnancies and births: 1
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: PP 4 months

Me and my husband of 3 years are the proud parents of a 4 month old baby girl born in October 2011. She is amazing and truly one of a kind. No really, she is a rare one. She weighed nearly 12 lbs at birth! I called her my sumo baby. I was really just happy to get her out since I had one hell of a pregnancy. I had morning sickness for the first 6 months. Not necessarily puking my guts out but just nauseous and dizzy more often than I would have liked. I also had ridiculous heartburn, sciatic nerve pain and round ligament pain the entire time which woke me up every hour of the night. In regards to the heartburn, I really got sick of hearing “Your baby is going to have a lot of hair!”. Then I got the dreaded PUPPS rash which covered my arms,legs and stomach. It was the worst thing I have ever experienced. I wanted to burn my skin off it was so itchy. I thought, things couldn’t get worse than this. The bright side, baby looks great and healthy with each screening. Yay! Another plus, I passed all gestational diabetes screenings. Then, I go in for my 36 week ultrasound. The baby is measuring almost 10lbs at 36 weeks! I have also developed some high blood pressure (146/90). My Obgyn sends me to a high risk clinic for further testing. Ummm…now I really have high blood pressure, haha! So, I go to the high risk clinic and have a more in depth ultrasound. Again, baby is measuring almost 10lbs. Eek! And again, my blood pressure is high so they diagnose me with Preeclamsia and want me to go to the hospital. Double Eek! I spend 4 hours at the hospital getting my blood pressure monitored. Again, baby looks perfect. My blood pressure finally goes down to normal so they send me home. Now back to the Obgyn. She strongly recommends scheduling a delivery via C-Section. She says my pelvis is pretty narrow and is afraid if the ultrasounds are even close to being right there is no way I can push that baby out. After much debate, I finally cave into scheduling the C-Section at 39 weeks. I should also point out, my stomach was massive! People thought I was carrying twins in that bad boy. I gained 40lbs during my pregnancy which is about average but I swear every pound was in my stomach. I was stretched to the max. My stomach was so hard. I steered away from sharp objects for fear I may pop, ha! Paired with being covered in stretch marks and the PUPPS rash, it looked like a mangled creature in a horror movie or a burn victim. Horrendous! I had a feeling my stomach would never be the same after childbirth. I was certainly right. So, here comes week 39. I go in for my C-Section scared to death since I have never had surgery in all my 32 years. Hell, I didn’t even know how to put the hospital gown on. Clueless! Everyone is super supportive and they hook me up to the monitors. The nurse asks if I have experienced any real contractions. I say “Not that I am aware of.” Then she proceeds to tell me “Uh, you are having some pretty good ones right now!” Well considering my stomach was so stretched and hard as a rock, it would be very difficult to feel anything until they became painful. Thank goodness they scheduled me today. Phew! The C-Section went great aside from the 8 attempts it took to get the epidural needle in. Talk about uncomfortable! They kept thinking they were hitting bone but it was just my hard ass ligaments. Lucky me! The only other discomfort I experienced during the C-Section was the uncontrollable shivering. My arms shook like I was on a vibrating bed. It was really annoying. Other than that, I didn’t feel a thing. Out comes the baby! Whoa! That is what I hear from everyone on the other side of the curtain. She is huge and has a full head of hair! I guess the heartburn myth was right! I see her adorable plumpness for about 10 seconds before they whisk her to the weighing station. 11lbs 11oz! Holy crap! She checks out healthy except with all big babies her blood sugar is low. So, she is sent to the NICU. It was actually kind of funny visiting her in the NICU. Here is this giant baby surrounded by all these premie babies. If a baby death match broke out, we wouldn’t need to worry about her. Anyways, her sugar stabilized after 3 days but we couldn’t leave until I passed gas. OMG! It was the worst pain ever being so full of gas and not being able to release it. Even my shoulders hurt from it. Finally, I let out the best fart of my life! Still full of gas for a couple weeks after but at least I got to go home and be with my baby. The first couple of weeks being first time parents were a bit scary but after that we adjusted. Let me just say, I thank my lucky stars since we were blessed with a baby who likes to sleep. By 6 weeks, she was sleeping an average of 6 hours at night then by 10 weeks sleeping an average of 8 hours at night! I think God gave me this gift for having such an awful pregnancy. It has been 4 months now and I couldn’t be happier. Our marriage has gotten stronger and we have this beautiful little girl. She is now at an average weight for her age and is the cutest thing ever. The only thing I am not happy with is this sorry excuse for a stomach I now have. I know it has only been 4 months but it is frustrating when you drop all 40 pregnancy pounds within the first 2 weeks following birth but still have to carry around this relentless growth in front of you. I look fine in clothes and feel great when people compliment me but it is a whole other story when the clothes come off. That droopy thing just stares up at me snickering. My boobs are sagging a bit too but they aren’t that bad. I think it helped that my boobs were super perky before hand. I keep looking at the bright side which is my backside. Haha! I am pleased to say my ass still looks nice. A little bigger but nice. All I can do is keep on working on the tummy and eventually will see some progress. I need to keep telling myself, your stomach looks damn good for being stretched to the max and giving birth to a giant baby. I have a loving husband, a comfortable home, wonderful friends and the most beautiful baby ever. I am loving life so suck it droopy tummy! Quit raining on my parade! :-)

How my life has changed (Anonymous)

Age: 27
Children: 1

I found this site about 3 years ago while having a hard time with my postpartum body.

I had always been thin and weighed about 103 lbs before pregnancy. During my pregnancy I gained about 50 lbs and also developed gestational diabetes. At 33 weeks I developed a rash referred to as PUPPS. It was a horrible itchy rash that spread all over my belly and on my thighs. The only choice I had was steroids or to deliver and it was too early to deliver. My baby’s health was most important to me. I took steroids to control the rash and began noticing that my “small” stretchmarks were becoming longer and wider. i later learned that steriods thin the skin. I am light complected and the marks looked hidesous. My stomach was so huge by 36 weeks. At 36 weeks and 2 days my darling daughter was born. She was healthy and beautiful.
I struggled for so long after that. My stomach stayed large for months and people still acknowledged me as pregnant. I finally got in gear and lost almost all of the pregnancy weight but have been left with the scars from the stretchmarks and a large amount of loose hanging skin. It is so much more apparent when I bend over and just hangs there. My breast also became very large during pregnancy. they also hang now.
I love my daughter so much and she is worth all of it yet I still feel so insecure about my body. I hate not being able to wear a swimsuit or a tighter shirt because of the form of my belly. If these changes came from one pregnancy, I have often worried what another would do to me…Although I long to have another child. I wish there was something i could do to tighten the skin other thean surgery.

Im glad to see a site where Mothers can share stories and support each other. Thank you.



Age: 23
Number of Pregnancies/Births: 1
Almost 13 weeks postpartum
Keywords: postpartum, pregnancy, 1st time mom, vaginal birth

After trying for months to conceive unsuccessfully, my husband and I visited a new OB who prescribed clomid. I believed that I was not ovulating, however he thought everything was fine. I got pregnant on the first round of clomid and we were so excited. It was shortlived because the entire pregnancy was a roller coaster from the very beginning. I thought that I just had a cyst from the clomid because of extreme pain, the gyno (not ob, different office) asked me to take a pregnancy test to make sure. I just KNEW i wasn’t pregnant because I had been in the hospital around february 22nd for the same pain which they attributed to my interstitial cystitis and I was negative. Last period was 2/2/09 & I took clomid on days 3-5. We ended up conceiving on February 14th, between all of the pain and my interstitial cystitis flair that was the only time we had sex within the correct time span.
Much to my surprise, the test was positive. I was like, “what the hell is this?!” So i waited a few hours and took a digital test to be sure.

I went in and had an ultrasound done, which showed I did have a large cyst and it looked like my uterus was getting ready for an implantation but the egg had not yet implanted. This was on March 4th, I went to Florida that week for a vacation with a friend and had alot of pain. The ER dated me 5 weeks 6 days and no heartbeat but not ectopic. A week later exactly I went back to my gyno here, they dated me 5 weeks 6 days, low heart rate (low 80’s) and said to prepare that I would probably lose the baby. I was devastated. Then i got to thinking..I couldn’t have been 5 weeks 6 days that week prior and they must have measured wrong and I was so upset that the doctor didn’t think of any alternative reasoning. Plus the heart had just formed so it’s going to have a low rate. I got a 2nd opinion 2 days later and our babies heart was still beating, still on the low side but she ended up being just fine. I was on bedrest from 16-19 weeks then i had a partial placental abruption and hemorrhaged at 22 weeks, so I was on bedrest for another 3 weeks after that. I had spotting the entire pregnancy and I didn’t start to really enjoy any of it until the 3rd trimester.

I’m 5’1 and pre-pregnancy I weighed around 123. I’ve never had a flat stomach, but I was happy with my weight. I wore a size 5 jeans/pants, however most of my jeans were bigger 3’s that I shoved my fat butt into anyway. We all have our favorite jeans that we don’t want to give up. When i was 18 I weighed 107, and by the end of 2007 I weighed 115 and then ended up around 123. I actually ate better during the weight gain but honestly i wasn’t every super skinny, imo. For my height/build I was pretty average.

I started to get stretchmarks around 16 weeks..on my butt, and ended up with them everywhere. I have them on my stomach, thighs, butt, CALVES! I got PUPPS also, which made them appear much worse.
Upon delivery I weighed 165lbs. I remember how upset I was when i went over the 160 mark. I didn’t gain a single pound up until the 19week mark and I was pretty upset by that. My clothes didn’t fit & I had to wear maternity clothes but weight was I was not up at all. I ended up making up for it, that’s for sure!
I had a very quick labor (under 7 hours start to finish) and a completely natural birth complete with 40+ stitches from an episotomy. Even with a not so great pregnancy and hard birth recovery we both wanted #2 right away. We are now on the one & done train, for multiple reasons. One reason is that I can’t stand to see what my body would like like after #2, and I know thats selfish but thats how I feel, honestly.

I’ve seen a couple women on this site who look EXACTLY like I do which is comforting. I’m hoping I will, “go down” more, but don’t have much faith in that.

I wouldn’t be having such a hard time dealing with my new body if six, SIX people in public hadn’t asked me, when I was due/didn’t know I was expecting/wow you’re having 2 really close together/when are you gonna have that baby/is it a boy or girl. SERIOUSLY? That’s what has really given me serious body image issues.

I also think that if my breasts were even slightly bigger (i’m a small A) maybe my stomach wouldn’t look so’d be more proportional.

I’m hoping I can find the time to workout and stick with it, i’m working full time right now and I feel that I don’t have enough time in the day already!

Thanks ladies! (sorry so long!!)

My current weight is 140lbs.

ETA… I’ve since been diagnosed with PCOS, (I knew something was up because I still had not starting my period at 10 weeks post partum & I only breastfed for a few days before my supply dried up/she wouldn’t latch) So I really wasn’t ovulating which is why we couldn’t get pregnant.

Undewear only photo is today, 2.8.2010, bra photo was 12.7.2009 & at 38 weeks 3 days pregnant, I delivered at 39 weeks 5 days. And finally, my gorgeous daughter, Peyton. She really was worth all of it, don’t get me wrong.

My body is wrecked (Elizabeth)

Number of pregnancies & births: Four
Ages of children: 9, 6, 3, and almost 5 months

B&W photo taken four month post-partum after fourth child
Beach photo taken 11 months post-partum after first child

I guess you could say I was proud of my body after the birth of my first child. I bounced back fairly quickly despite the severe case of PUPPPs and my fresh stretch marks. It only took a year before I was able to confidently wear a bikini and actually go out in public. With each subsequent pregnancy, I got more stretch marks, contracted PUPPPs two more times, and during my last pregnancy, I had severe diastasis recti. And with each pregnancy, I became more and more uncomfortable with my shape. I thought that I needed to be able to fit back into that bikini I proudly wore after my first son was born. I thought that I needed to be able to wear my pre-pregnancy jeans. In fact, I have a pile of jeans of varying sizes in my closet that still don’t fit, yet I hang on to them anyway. Perhaps I’m fooling myself into believing that I’m going to slim back down. Is it possible to be proud of a body that birthed four babies? I’m proud of what my body did. My body was able to labor and deliver four healthy children and nurse them all without complications. Who wouldn’t be proud of that? But in this culture where celebrity mothers emerge months after birth looking radiant and toned, I can’t help but feel uncomfortable when I look in the mirror at nine-year-old stretch marks, scars, and an abdomen that sags over even my largest pair of pre-pregnancy pants.

Diastatis Recti (Katie)

Hi Mums,

I am 30 years old and mother to an 8-month daughter. Her name is Maja.

I used to be a fitness maniac before pregnancy, which you can surely see in my photo ‘before’. I used to be on the skinny side, but during pregnancy I gained 50 lbs and I was huge. People frequently asked me if I was carrying twins. Well, I wasn’t, and my baby wasn’t that big, with just 8 lbs.

Unfortunately, in late pregnancy I developed two miserable conditions, one of them was PUPPP (which made me suicidal) and the other one was diastasis recti. The diastasis recti brought along some stretchmarks around my belly button. These stretchmarks have cured fairly well, now they look like thin white or grayish lines, but when I sit down, my stomach is wrinkled. You can see them in one of the pics.

My belly button is deformed b/c of the diastasis recti. I have recently seen a surgeon and been told that I had a slight hernia and ought to undergo a surgery (a mesh implant). The diastasis recti gives me the funny pot belly which you can see in the pictures. I still look like 5 months pregnant. The trouble is, I will have to wait with the surgery until I’m done with having babies.

And I am still not sure if I want another one… It’s not about the body, I believe exercise can do wonders. What troubles me is PUPPP… Perhaps you have heard of it? Just after I gave birth (10 hours in labor), the itching was so bad that I didn’t even feel any pain. My mother had to move in and look after my baby, because I wasn’t able to sleep, I was restless and a nervous wreck. I even went back to hospital and told them to do ‘something’ or I would kill myself. It usually disappears after labor, mine was only getting worse and worse! I had it for six painful weeks and if it ever comes back… I think I can’t take it any more! Unfortunately I deleted all photos with my PUPPP, b/c looking at them made me itch!

8 months postpartum I lost almost all the extra lbs, with only 5 left. But as you can see, the body is not the same. No time for exercise! I hope this will change over time. And I am still thinking about the DR surgery. It would surely make my pot belly disappear.

I didn’t take any pics of my boobs because they haven’t changed a bit. They were two sizes bigger when I breastfed and now they are back to the original size and shape.

Anyway, Maja is the best thing that’s ever happened in my life!