Learning to Accept Myself (Daniela)

-My age: 18
-Number of pregnancies/births: 1
-Age of children: 5 months

Last year, I was very depressed and had recently gone through a break up. In an attempt to “numb” myself and my feelings, I began drinking and hanging out with the wrong crowd. One thing led to another and I slept with a boy I barely knew. I ended up getting pregnant on June 2015. I am 5’5 and before my pregnancy, I weighed 130 pounds. By the end of my pregnancy I weighed 190! I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl Jade on March 27, 2016 weighing in at 9 lbs 10 oz. I was so happy and still am, she is the light of my life. Everything in my life would be perfect right now if it weren’t for my body and my insecurities. I got lots of stretch marks and because of the excess weight I gained, I now have a belly pouch. At 5 months PP I weigh 160 so I still want to lose at least 20 pounds. My stretch marks were so dark and ugly that I would cry myself to sleep. I started doing derma rolling and dry brushing and it has helped them immensely. I am still quite young so looking at other 18 year old bodies makes me very sad because I look nothing like that. I am also terrified that no one will want me, but I am slowly trying to accept myself. I keep reminding myself that my body is this way because I carried the love of my life in there for 10 months and I would do it all over again for her. She is so worth it

-1st picture: me at 40 weeks pregnant
-2nd picture: 1 month PP
-3rd picture: 5 months PP

Not What I Planned (Anonymous)

1 pregnancy & 1 birth

I’m not really sure how to tell my story, I had it all typed out and deleted it because it ended up being a jumbled mess. It’s much easier to just list the major points so bear with me! (:

-18 when I got pregnant..5’2 and itty bitty with curves in all the right places
– Didn’t gain much weight at all through my pregnancy (overall about 15 lbs in the first and second trimesters combined)
– Developed severe preeclampsia and full blown HELLP syndrome at 31 weeks
– Emergency C-section 2 hours into 31 weeks
– Delivered a tiny little 2 lb 8 oz baby who thankfully has no long lasting health problems and is thriving at 8 months old ?
– spent 7 weeks in the Nicu at my daughters side
– told that I can’t have anymore children because my body just isn’t strong enough to handle it
– After she was born I had stretch marks show up EVERYWHERE and the little weight that I did gain went directly to my tummy
– While I’m not necessarily happy with my body physically I think my hatred for it is more of a mental thing..I despise it for not being strong enough to carry my daughter to term and not being strong enough to bare any more children :(

Depressed and Confused (Anonymous)

I am 21 years old and pregnant with my 3rd child, I had my first when I was 17 and second when I was 19. I am currently engaged to the father of these three beautiful babies. But things are rough. I am so uncomfortable with everything about my body. Before I got pregnant I was 115 pounds, after I was 160 I stretched everywhere and I have so much extra skin on my belly it just hangs and even though I’m 6 months pregnant now it’s still there. After being pregnant the first time my areoles stretched so much, I’m still uncomfortable having my fiancĂ© see my breasts. He tries to joke about it because they sag, but it really just hurts. I can’t take it as a joke because I feel disgusting and he doesn’t understand. He just says if he doesn’t care what I look like then why should I? But just to have your body change so much and none of your clothes fit at all.. It’s heartbreaking. I go months without leaving the house at all. Not even to the grocery store. It’s been like this for 3 years. I cut myself secretly for a long time because I dont know how to deal with the pain. I feel like nobody understands, over the summer everyone would ask me why I dressed the way I did.. We would go to the beach and I would wear an oversized t shirt and men’s swim trunks. I don’t even own a bathing suit. I would love to have a daughter but I am terrified that if I do she is going to go through what I am now. How am I supposed to teach her to love her body when I can’t love my own?

Shape of Me: Take Two (Mom)

Age : 28
Number of pregnancies : 2

I am a mom of two beautiful and I mean beautiful children. Not just saying that because I am mom ! My son was born ten years ago and two years or so after that, I completed an entry into this forum with photos. It was the scariest thing I had ever done. It was the first time anyone saw me naked, and in the light. It was the first time I shared my insecurities with what might as well have been the entire world. It was a freeing experience and though it did not resolve my body image issues, it did bring about a sense of adventure and a step into the unknown. It also allowed me to relate with hundreds of women and hopefully provide understanding with other women. Their comments truly made me smile. Their feedback was appreciated and it never left me, their words of positivity and wisdom.

I had my son at the young and impressionable age of 18. Back then media was worse than it is now. I was devastated to see the impact pregnancy and childbirth had on my body. I was a single parent , no visitation, nothing. Previous to that pregnancy I struggled with a major and almost deadly eating disorder. I was very small, underdeveloped. When I became pregnant I made the brave and selfless decision to devote every day to growing and making that little being as healthy as possible. For the first time, I ate and enjoyed meals. I gained a whopping 100 lbs. considering I was less than 100 prior to pregnancy, I gained a healthy weight and then a pregnancy weight. My son was born weighing in at 10.2.. I had major stitching, was hospitalized myself.

The years that followed were emotional not just with having a baby, but having a new and not improved (in my eyes) body, new relationships, new experiences at school. As my body shrunk back, I was left with thousands of stretch marks from arms to legs.. Deep and dark, lifeless breasts and a shredded stomach (not in a good way). I wore girdles , push up bras, I fake tanned, cream tanned, ran … I dedicated every ounce of my time to my body and what I thought could repair it, and my self esteem. I had relationships that failed, friendships that suffered and a lack of parenting found that I’ll never get back. I was receiving media messages that I could not filter. I had to be beautiful , I couldn’t afford it. What was I to do? My efforts in my own eyes were fruitless. Small improvements were made. Days were good, and then so low. I took photos of myself , I compared, I cried. I had sex with the lights off. I knew all the ways to conceal imperfections in moments that are meant to let go, be vulnerable. I had never been. I moved around , squirmed, sucked, tucked , rolled and mainly bent over for any intimate relationship. Imagining revealing my imperfections was mortifying. Imagining being abandoned for it was devastating, a nightmare.

Years later, I met my husband. This was after countless failed relationships. We met on a whim. An absolutely breath taking and handsome man. More than I could have imagined and a glowing loving personality that could not be beat. We fell in love. We made promises to help me become vulnerable. He was gentle and amazing and over the past four years of our marriage I have opened up more than I could have imagined. A man who loves me as I am. A year ago I had my daughter. The most beautiful creature I have ever seen, wild and gorgeous. My body minimally changed as I kept up my fitness in pregnancy and did yoga religiously (a huge passion of mine), but most of all I was grounded and loving and calm throughout my pregnancy. After having her I continued my fitness (which is much more to maintain my shape than for health) on a regular basis.

You know, I love my life, I love my husband but we live with more than just our children. We live with this angry other person in the room. Someone who tells me I am hideous and not good enough for my husband. That he deserves a woman with the perfect body, not me , used and destroyed …. I look back at my first pregnancy and I would do anything to go back and have more self restraint about food and knowledge about exercise. I ask why did this happen to me? Why did I get this body? Why do I work so hard to fix it all for nothing ? I see women in social media and the news and I cannot believe they have been so blessed with breasts and bodies and smiles and how were they dealt such an amazing hand ? I know I’ve read some stories here and then looked at the pictures and wondered , “what’s wrong with her !? She’s gorgeous!!” , but this is my personal fight and I try not to judge.

Body dysmorphic disorder is real. We don’t always see ourselves the way we are, or the way others do. I don’t have any answers. I have lots of questions and lots to learn. I feel always at the beginning of my body journey and nowhere near the end. I’m only here to bare all again and share and show and expose myself because it’s a tiny piece of my healing that I wish to share with you. I don’t wish you all to be cured in one day, I just hope like me, that you find small ways when and if you can on some days and moments in time to really be in the moment, as who you are , as you are feeling the wind or maybe the sun or maybe just observing what’s happening around you and that not every moment is spent with focus on what you are missing or what you want. Sometimes we have so much and we don’t notice until we stop time. All the best to you.

Young Mom, Self Esteem Issues (Anonymous)

Pregnancies: 2, ages 2 1/2 and 1

Hey there! I am a young mom of two girls on the path to be healthy and feel comfortable in my own skin. After I had my first I was pregnant again my 9 months pp, my body did not snap back from my first and was even worse after my second. I gained over 50 lbs with both. I want to tone up and try to love myself again. Could this skin look better if I tone up? Will it tighten up anymore? Did anyone’s breasts tighten back up more after breastfeeding. Looking for hope moms out there thanks :)

8 Months Postpartum (Emily)

Your Age: (19)
Number of pregnancies and births: (1 pregnancy, 1 birth)
The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: (8 months)

I am now 8 months postpartum with my sweet baby boy. It was the summer after I graduated high school that I got pregnant. My parents were not to happy to say the least. My mom was always very cautious with me starting me on birth control at 15. I guess I was very lucky through high school but for some reason it did not work this time. I would not change what happened even if I could. I love my little boy and my parents love their grandson!

What I would like is to lose these last few pounds in my stomach and belly area. I try sit ups and crunches but it just does not seem to work. Does anyone have any advice? I had to have a C-Section and my doctor said my stomach muscles are just weak from that. I have had good luck putting lotion on my scar to reduce the look of that. Has anyone reduced the color of the scar completely or does mine look good? Also anything I can do for the stretch marks?

I have been reading stories on this site for a while now and thought it was time to contribute. It has definitely been helpful reading all of your stories and comments!

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.

Young but no longer youthful. (Brianna)

Pregnancies: 1
( 7 months pp)
Height: 5’3 Weight: 134

I had just turned 18 and graduated high school in 2013 when I found out I was pregnant. I was terrified to give birth because it was one of my biggest fears in life ( yay I did it! Lol) but nothing scared me more than knowing my body was never going to be the same, I was already insecure so as if I needed any more of it. I knew what pregnancy was going to come with. Stretch marks on the parts of your body that you want to show off the most , no more pink hershy kiss nipples that my boyfriend liked so much, and no more smooth skin to rub against while making love. The part that tortured my mind even more was realizing I was young and didn’t even have the chance to appreciate my body while I could. I couldn’t wait to pop out my son and I work off all the weight I gained during my pregnancy. I was so determined to come back 10 times sexier lol (i gained 33 pounds) Well I gave birth on June 5th 2014 to a healthy 6 pound baby boy and the moment I came home I looked at myself naked. Who even knows what I thought at that point. All I remember is that I was like whoa! What happened to you lol
My body was all of a sudden an obvious billboard sign advertising these stretch marks and saggy boobs and dark nipples. I was horrified. I definitely wasn’t buying it. Who could ever love me? Right? Now I could never be naked during sex and feel sexy. Sure I could do it but would i enjoy it? (No. Way!) My pregnancy was normal, no difficulties, same with birth. I was thankful for that. But now I was left feeling gross and unattractive. So I started to workout and lost most of the weight. Thank God for my boyfriend of almost 3 years ( yes, my baby’s daddy ) who is always encouraging me and telling me that Hollywood is just stupid for making girls feel like they need to look perfect. I have really been dealing with my insecurities, especially now. I am only 19 and I sometimes feel brought down when I see other girls my age able to work a belly button ring or a crop top. I hate that this world makes you think postpartum bodies cant be sexy and people just act like they dont know its normal. But this is me letting go because of all you ladies and this website. I am excited to be a part of this. You all are beautiful no matter what! Let the project live on!

Mom of 3 (Kimberly)

Hi my name is Kimberly, 29 years old, I have 3 children ages 13, 10, and 5. I had my first daughter at the age of 16…..I was 107 pounds, small breasts, bigger backside. I had never had any issues with my body other than like a lot of girls I wished I had bigger boobs lol. The day I had my first child I weighed 157 so a 50 pound weight gain and on my 5’2 frame that’s a LOT! I got stretch marks everywhere! Boobs, stomach, hips, thighs, back of my legs, arms…..everywhere! I was mortified to say the least! Luckily I was married and my husband at the time made me feel beautiful even though I felt hideous. I had got back down to 125 when I decided to start the depo shot, HUGE mistake! I got back up to 160, and quit the shot, lost down to around 140 and got pregnant with my second daughter, gained 28 pounds with her, didn’t get any new stretch marks but some on my belly and hips extended. I breastfed her for 16 months so the bigger breasts also meant more sagging when I weaned her. I lost all the weight, but was still not back down to pre pregnancy weight. 5 years after that I got a surprise and got pregnant with my son….miserable pregnancy, but only gained 12 pounds….no new stretch marks!!! And oddly enough I can say this is when body image issues started to control my life. I breastfed him for 23 months, I was happy with my breasts at that time, but once he was weaned they seemed to sag more than ever, COMPLETELY deflated! I had 3 c sections so I have the dreaded apron. I had lost all of that weight and more when my marriage of 9 years started falling apart, I ate away my depression and got up to my all time high of 183. I decided I had to do something and started eating better and hitting the gym and got down to 145, I felt great as far as losing weight but the more I lost the more EVERYTHING sagged! My husband and I got divorced and I reconnected with my first love and we have now been married almost 2 years. I wish I could say that all of the sweet and loving things he tells me about my body just clicked and I could believe him, but it’s hard for me to even begin to think that my body is something desirable. It’s an ongoing struggle I still fight with every day. I’ve gotten down to 135 and hope to get down to 120 sometime soon. This site has helped tremendously and all of your ladies are beautiful! Thanks for reading!

I Feel So Wide and Disgusting (Anonymous)

I’am 19 years old, I have two children ages 3 & 3 months both by natural vaginal births. My first (my son) was born when i was just 15 years old. Prior to my first pregnancy i was 160 pounds, it was a decent weight for my height which is 5’11”. On October 31st my son was born 5 weeks premature weighing 6lbs 15 1/2oz & i weighed 236lbs… By the time I became pregnant with my second child (my daughter) i had only lost a total of 16lbs (220lb) from my first pregnancy. To me this was horrible because i knew with pregnancy comes more weight. My daughter was born two weeks early weighing 7lbs 15.7oz & i was weighing 263lbs. My children are so beautiful & i’am forever grateful for them but i’am just so disgusted about what my body looks like.