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body image

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 

Before I get into how I'm feeling now, a little background:

 

Always-fat (since 2nd grade) me, I had a long struggle with body image and I have been at my biggest in the past several years. I spent a lot of time on Celexa which could be part of it, I just went off when I got pregnant. When on the meds, I seemed to have a pretty laissez faire body image, I wouldn't engage in much self-criticism. I found the fat acceptance/size acceptance movement online and had one close friend who was similarly minded. Then about a year ago she lost a ton of weight by some suspect habits, she had had eating disorders in the past and the things she was saying to me caused me to cut off the friendship pretty abruptly (i.e. "I will never let myself get like that again") so I sort of felt like a solo act, and started to doubt a lot of my self-acceptance.

Because it took us awhile (17 months) to conceive, I was really worried it was because of my weight and that I wouldn't get good fertility care, but it turned out all I needed was Clomid and Metformin.

 

Now I'm pregnant and not on any antidepressants, and I am sort of unsure how to feel about my body. I had an experience at my first appointment with a new OB where my gown wouldn't close over my breasts and I felt humiliated and exposed (I usually don't have that problem, I think most offices have a range of sizes now) For some reason I didn't speak up and advocate for myself. I still have yet to meet my doctor (sort of my own fault because I canceled an appointment with her yesterday) and I am a bit scared about how I will be treated, especially addressing my concerns about higher rates of C-sections in women with my BMI.

 

I also have a coworker who is pregnant and only a few weeks ahead of me. Nobody at work knows yet and if I'm showing a bit (not sure), they would never be able to tell because, I dunno, I'm fat and I don't feel like people notice fat vs. fatter. Today she was wearing a really tight t-shirt that showed her belly (not really a baby belly yet, I KNOW, because her fundal height can't be much beyond mine at 12 weeks). Of course I haven't gained any of the weight that straight size women gain. I think I've lost weight. She's been very attention seeking this whole pregnancy and I sort of dread everyone knowing about mine because I don't want my body compared to hers for a second.

 

I guess I don't have much of an overall point, but I really wanted to start this conversation.

post #2 of 49
I've been overweight my entire life, even as a toddler. I have so many memories of my mom telling me not to worry about it and not to worry about what other people think, and that I'm fine just the way I am. I clearly remember the first time someone burst that bubble for me, and it's been downhill ever since. My body image got worse and worse through highschool and afterwards. Every guy I dated made me feel like he dated me in spite of my weight, like I should be thankful he would put up with my weight, kwim? Anyway, it was bad.

Actually, it didn't get better for me until I met my DH. He was the first guy I ever met who not only likes a larger woman, but was willing to admit that! I'd never even known there were people out there who would admit they were attracted to anything but a model-perfect body. Being with someone who likes my body the way it is has really helped me improve how *I* feel about my body.

I was pretty worried that when I got pregnant my self image would tank again. I talked to DH about it and he helped me through a lot of it - particularly for the period before I looked obviously pregnant. That was the hardest for me. I was never really comfortable with showing off my pregnant belly the way some women do, even when I was obviously pregnant. Two things helped me - getting a great photographer to take some maternity photos of me that I actually liked, and the fact that once I was really pregnant, my "B" belly went away. And post pregnancy the "B" is much less pronounced. WOOHOO!

Ok, my early morning ramblings probably didn't make much sense. So, I'll just say, I am right there with you on body image problems.
post #3 of 49

I've always had a terrible body image.  I have a sad feeling that even if I was back at a "normal" weight I'd probably still hate my body.  It's just ingrained in my personality and self image.  :(

 

My pregnancy with my first was the first time in my life since about age 11 that I liked my body and didn't mind form fitting shirts and loved how I looked.  I hope to feel the same way when I'm a bit further along, but right now I feel like I look huge and much more pregnant than I am because I'm carrying so much more fat in my belly.

post #4 of 49

I don't like my body--if there were a magic pill to be thin, I'd take it right now even if it cost $100,000 and I had to be in debt for the rest of my life--but I HATE the feeling that I "should" hate my body. If that makes any sense. As down as I am on myself, I feel very protective of my body and of other fat women. Very little makes me sadder than women obsessing about thinness and hating how they look.

 

I've always been fat too, so I think part of it is that I know that being fat is not as terrible as people think. It's not the worst thing in the world. It's fine most of the time.

post #5 of 49

Thanks for starting this thread, it's a subject I spend altogether too much time thinking about.

 

I hate my body. I really do. I feel at odds with it. I do not feel it reflects who I am at all. I feel betrayed by it.

 

That said I want to feel differently. I admire those people who really are ok with their bigger bodies. I'm not sure how to get there. A big part of me feels that if I accept this body then I accept all the ways in which I feel I am a failure... I'm not wording this right.

 

I was skinny as a young child, pretty average if not athletic as a teenager. I felt GREAT about my body. I use to change my clothes multiple times in the morning 'cause I couldn't decide which looked the most spectacular! I laughed at the silly girls obsessing over their weight or asking if they looked fat in ... 'cause obviously they were not fat. I really & truly loved my body to the point of being somewhat vain.

 

Enter the birth control pill when I was 18 & I gained 60lbs in a year. I even went to the doctor partway through that year looking for help but she told me to watch what I eat, that it's normal to see changes as you become an adult. Even she was shocked to see a 60lb jump in a year. I have never gotten below that 60lbs since - I've just slowly gained more & more with a couple big losses which were never enough to bring me below that. Turns out I have pcos & I truly believed the damn pill was the catalyst for it all. If I'd never messed around with my hormones perhaps things would not have gotten as completely out of control as they did. I don't actually believe the pill caused the pcos or the depression or the infertility but I do believe it was a major catalyst.

 

The thing is that I am very athletic. I currently powerlift. I was previously a lifeguard. I no point have I been completely inactive. I am in better physical condition than the vast majority of women I know irl but put me in a line up with them & I'm the one a stranger would guess sits on the couch filling her face all day. It enrages me beyond belief. That coupled with the fact that the weight gain coincided with 10+ years of depression & many, many failures & have this strong association that the fat reflects my failures so the whole world can see how much of a failure I feel I am.

 

I do believe that as long as I am "big" I will not be ok with my body & I fear I still will not once I reach a better weight 'cause there will be "scars" that will remind me of this time (there is no way my belly will ever not be droopy, extra skin, stretchmarks, etc.).

 

I really do have realistic weightloss goals. In fact I do not really believe I could ever be within the appropriate range on those ridiculous bmi charts - I'm not shooting for a size 2 here!

 

As for being pregnant - it was one time I actually felt pretty good. Because I normally carry my weight primarily in my middle I often can look rather pregnant & have avoid a lot of styles but when pregnant I can wear a lot more things & even feel ok about my belly as it is carrying life.

 

post #6 of 49

In similar news, people in my DDC are currently complaining about their "fat faces" and one-upping each other in an exercise thread. Half the time I really like the DDC, the other half I feel like an alien for not weighing 110 lbs. and end up feeling like crap about myself. irked.gif

post #7 of 49
scowgirl - oh man, I'm with you. In my DDC there were a lot of people who were saying - "Oh man, I'm so fat now, I hate how I look and how everyone looks at me." They'd gained all of 5 lbs. I try really hard tor emember that everyone, thin, overweight, fit, unhealthy, tall, short, whatever, all has their own body issues to deal with. But it's hard. Sometimes it makes me want to ask if pregnancy weight actually makes them consider how they look at overweight people the rest of the time.
post #8 of 49


Yeah, I don't even read these threads.  Not because I'm offended by them (being a larger woman) but because I began to become judgemental - and I hate that part of myself.  Some of them can seem so shallow to me.  It's like, is that the only thing that makes you up - that makes you feel good - how thin your face looks?  Pregnancy is temporary.

 

See.

 

This is why I don't read them.  Anything with the word "fat" in it, I skip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scowgirl View Post

In similar news, people in my DDC are currently complaining about their "fat faces" and one-upping each other in an exercise thread. Half the time I really like the DDC, the other half I feel like an alien for not weighing 110 lbs. and end up feeling like crap about myself. irked.gif



 

post #9 of 49
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I'm getting a little sick of the "I'm so fat" comments in the due date club. I thought that it would be really funny to invite them to this group every time someone says that. But no, like literally you are NOT fat? Then shut up. :) I agree, though, I know it's not only fat women with body issues, but I wish people were more conscious of what they say to a diverse group of bodies.

 

I am enjoying this frank discussion although it is sad to hear about other women and their struggles with self-acceptance. I do think that those of us who were fat our whole lives have a different experience than those who gained weight later. Both are hard in their own ways. I don't ever think about "the thin me" because I really haven't ever been thin. I do sometimes think about going back down a few sizes, but that would still leave me shopping at the big girl stores.

 

I actually have lost 10 or 12 pounds. I"m not showing at all, as a reminder I'm over 300 lbs. . I can feel my uterus, especially when I'm lying on my side, but aside from when I'm really bloated and the top of the B-belly is rounder, I look the same or smaller. I finally feel like I can eat somewhat normally, so I may gain some weight now, but who knows.

 

I am 13 weeks, I don't know when I'm going to start to show more. I think even when I do show more, many people won't notice because they'll just assume I'm getting fatter. So I'm having trouble seeing my coworker and belly pics online. I kind of assume that I'll show more when my fundus moves up to my belly button or higher. I hope so.

 

Livingsky, I think I am going to take your advice and get some pregnancy photos done when I am farther along. I don't want to end up with no photos of my body during this because of some insecurities. When do you think your B started to diminish? I don't even mind the B, I am so used to it, if it looked like a pregnant B. :)

 

I got my hair cut and dyed today and I feel better about myself already. I was so miserable first tri I barely took care of myself.

post #10 of 49

Gosh, I relate to all of this SO much. I do feel that I have mostly stopped hating myself and my body but I'm not sure how pregnancy will change that. I'm already seriously concerned about fitting in the car when I'm 9 months! LOL

 

But if there's one thing I've learned through this journey its that self-hatred is as strong as an addiction and that we all have relapses. Even some of the awesome, empowering fat acceptance bloggers that I read, admit that they often still have times when they complain about their bodies or moralize their eating habits. We do this for the same reason that many fat women say they were never as fat as they thought they were. People tell us how to feel about ourselves and we listen because the bad stuff is easier to believe. It's one thing to tune out a negative family member, but it's impossible to tune out the world and it's only natural that it would get to us.

 

The thing is though, the world is just wrong. Fat is not the enemy and we should not allow other people to use it as a tool to make themselves feel superior. It's absolutely possible to be fat and fit, it's possible to be thin and unhealthy and it's not morally wrong to be any combination of those things. As Reagan at DancesWithFat said recently, "People come in different shapes and sizes. This is the size I come in."

 

I'm with LivingSky, I fully intend to take weekly pregnancy photos. At first I wasn't going to because as a fat woman with a large belly, I didn't figure I'd even show until well into the 6th month. But at only 5 weeks, I can already tell that my boobs have changed size and shape. I want to DOCUMENT these changes. And I also can't help comparing the reactions of co-workers to thin pregnant women and thinking of all the comments that will be made about my body. But to hell with all that. I'm going to love my flabby belly and I'm going to fall in love with watching it change.

 

We have as much right to enjoy our pregnancies as anyone else. We may not be able to count on society, the media, doctors or family to help us celebrate our bodies, but we can count on our partners and we can count on each other. *hugs*

post #11 of 49
boots - I think my "B" went away between 30-32 weeks. It was starting to get less by about 20 weeks and then just got better as time went on. And I had my maternity photos done at... hmm, 37w6d. 2 days before I went into labour smile.gif I have a few photos from earlier in the pregnancy but I really didn't like many of them.
post #12 of 49
Thread Starter 

I'm struggling so hard today with this. The main reason is because I have a skinny woman who is REALLY showing that i work with, and she's only one or two weeks ahead of me. And she's wearing cute maternity tops and constantly rubbing her belly (She's a huge attention seeker). Nobody knows about my pregnancy except two people at work, and I don't know, maybe that needs to change but I don't even know how to tell everyone. I HATE when she talks about her pregnancy. I need to get over my issues, but I don't know how at the moment. She was really insensitive when she was trying (for two months) to get pregnant and I tried for 17. Ugh. I so want to be over this but I am just not. Sometimes I feel like I'm not even pregnant or my pregnancy is less important.

 

 

post #13 of 49

Aww... hugs, boots. hug2.gif That really sucks that you are feeling pushed aside in your own workplace. I think I would find it very hard if I had a thin pregnant coworker too. It also sounds like she's frankly kind of a jerk. I don't blame you at all for feeling unhappy with her and with the situation. FWIW I think a person like that probably strikes a lot of people as kind of an annoying smug pregnant lady, and that would be the case whether or not she was thin. lol.gif

 

I know for myself, I also feel like my pregnancy is "less than" that of my sister-in-law and my good friend, who are both also pregnant right now. I've said before in this group that I have never been so aware of my weight and body shape as I have been since I've been pregnant. They are normal and thin, so I feel everyone "approves" of their pregnancies and they get to be cute little pregnant ladies, whereas I am thought of as some kind of freak of nature who probably shouldn't have gotten pregnant in the first place. I'm sure it's all my own issues, but I really didn't expect it to be this way. Usually I take my weight in stride and although I struggle with my body image quite a bit, I feel like I at least have a "right" to be around and live my life. It's been a while since I felt this weird, semiconscious feeling that I should feel guilty for existing in my own body. It's hard.

 

post #14 of 49

I am mostly pretty positive about my body because it can do so much. After my first DD was born and died of Spinal Muscular Atrophy we got connected with the SMA community and I remember the first charity run we went to. The little boy who was the honouree was 7 years old and he was in a motorized wheel chair and had no muscle control of pretty much his whole body :( He is now 12 and has to pretty much spend the whole time lying down. He can not even cough on his own. However SMA does not affect cognition at all and the children I have met are very bright, aware and very happy. They love life and they love to do as much as they can even with their bodies that don't work. My daughter if she had lived would never had been able to walk or run. I started running after I had my daughter because I could, because I had working legs and lungs and arms. Yeah I am fat and yeah I am slow when I run and yeah I had to start off running only for 30 seconds at a time but I could do it. My baby gave me so much more appreciation of my body for what it is now not for what I imagine it will look like if I lost a 100 pounds. Of course I still have the odd day where I hate my flab and when I first got pregnant with this baby I was in the process of eating really clean and exercising (mostly for health reasons but the side effect was also weight loss) I was bummed that I would gain more weight again, I was upset that I still had so much belly flab and I wouldn't look pregnant till I was well into my 5th month or so but hey I got pregnant with out even trying. That means my body was in a good sate of health (it took us over 5 years to get pg the first time) 

 

I have spent too many years and too much energy hating myself and my body for having more fat cells then what I thought was ideal. I don't want to spend the rest of my life doing that. It is true being fat is not morally wrong. Also being fat does not mean that I deserve any different treatment then someone who is not fat in life or in my pregnancy.

 

I actually wear stretchy fitting maternity shirts as soon as my B belly becomes a bit more rounded (I find the stretchy shirts help smooth out the lumps :) I also rub my belly and I tell people I am expecting if they haven't guessed. I know a lot of people, myself included, who will not ask someone if they are expecting unless they know for sure they are even if they look like they are. 

 

I love my pregnant belly and I do not hid from photos who cares if I don't look awesome in every photo. I have seen some pretty bad photos of my slim sister as well. I actually have to take a new belly picture tonight. 

 

I feel really sad for anyone who talks negatively about there bodies whether they are slim or fat. It is sad to me when people are made to feel that there self worth is based on what there bodies look like :(  All bodies are super cool and do amazing things like create and grow another human!!!! Then our bodies produce milk to feed and nourish that human for a long time! That is seriously amazing. I challenge everyone to spend time with the body part you are most detached from, rub those flabby bellies, caress those lumpy thighs, jiggle those jiggly bums and send love to that body part, even if you don't feel it at first fake it. Just no negative hate talk :)

 

Oh just wanted to add that my B belly is almost gone when naked now at 22 weeks. It is more of a D with a bit of flab hanging off the bottom now .

post #15 of 49

Aw, hugs to you all. I know exactly where most of you are coming from. I don't really feel so bad about my size on an average day, probably denial, LOL but I do wish I were thinner but I'm not yet, so I don't dwell on it too much so I don't get too depressed about it. However, when I'm pregnant, that's when the body image issue comes into play for me. Of course I already had a belly before getting pregnant, but when I'm only six weeks along and I get comments like "You're already starting to show!", it makes me feel bad, and I never know how to respond. I'm tempted to say "No, it's just the fat" but I usually choose to just keep it quiet. Then there are the ones who hear I'm pregnant but don't know how far along and they make a guessy, and it's usually something months away from where I am. When I correct them, I get "Oh, probably a big baby".

 

I won't even get on about the ones who look at my belly when I definitely have a baby bump and say "I can't tell". greensad.gif

post #16 of 49

Just a funny thing today about comments on bodies. I was working today (I am an assistant in a preschool/JK and SK room) and I was serving snack and mentioned something about how I eat cheese every day now that I am pregnant to one of the other teachers and the children started saying "Your having a baby?" and I said yes and then they said "But you don't have a big belly, where is your big belly?" I had to laugh that they didn't thing I had a big belly, when I think I have a big belly even when not pregnant. Goes to show it is all about perspective :)

post #17 of 49

grouphug.gif to all!  I too have been overweight my whole life and understand how pregnancy can affect body image.  My weight goes up and then down, but I always plateau and never end up being anything less than obese.  People don't realize the simple things they say can be really hurtful.  With twins you start to show sooner and it really made me very subconscous.  I blamed the belly on just being fat early on because I wasn't really that far along and it was difficult to read other moms of multiples talk about how they weren't showing at all until way past where I was in my pregnancy.  I've been lucky that my DH as well has helped me realize that my belly is now my growing babies.

 

Oh my work comments this week -   "Oh look at your round face"  (I still look the same.)  and my favorite was being called "Big Mama"  I guess thats because my other coworker still out on mat. leave was tiny so I am the 'big' one.  I laughed and said thanks....again after it came out they said they didn't mean it like that....uh huh.

post #18 of 49

I'm feeling really weird today after a coworker (who I didn't meet until 3 weeks ago) was talking to me about pregnancy and how she carried etc etc and then she said "but you might carry different, you're so petite, what do you weigh, 100lbs like [very thin coworker who was also there]?" I just laughed and said I already had my belly before pregnancy. But like... I weigh much more than 100lbs and I'm definitely bigger than her and do not think I look "petite" (which I used to be) or like a petite pregnant lady. It just messed with my head and makes me feel like I don't know my own body shape, even though I know I am factually "overweight" and I know my measurements and clothing sizes. And I don't even want to care how others perceive me, but it still has me feeling unsettled. 

post #19 of 49

well ladies i know i joined this convo late but i too am really over weight. back in 08 i was at 290 and i left for germany to see my now husband and lost 30 lbs boy was i excited and then i got married, pregnant and went all the way up to 317 had my baby and went down to 280 :/ sucks and now i'm back up..i am live sad overwhelmed and all negative now because i don't know what else to do. i recently started a diet and going to the gym so far dont see anything. i was last year in the process of get gastricbypass and didn't do it do to the move from cali down here so i was wondering what are you ladies doing to stay positive with your body i got so use to being fat that i love it but sometimes it makes me sad that i dont fit into my clothes anymore. i wear nothing butt leggings well my point is what do i do where do i start?

post #20 of 49

Aw, hugs, mamagoose. hug2.gif First of all I wanted to say that I love your avatar photo. You are so pretty and you have a great-looking family. As to body image, it is just so hard and sometimes I struggle with it more than others. I know one of the things that tends to make me feel better is to always try and have some clothes that I like that fit me. I know it can be tough when money is tight, but nothing makes me feel bad about myself faster than clothes that are too small. Then, trying to get some exercise on a regular basis, not to get thinner but just to do it because it's good for me. It makes me feel stronger and better about myself. I know the rest of you probably do better with working out than I do, though, so I'll leave it at that. smile.gif Then the only other thing is to try and counter negative thoughts with positive ones. I try not to let myself just sit there and wallow in thoughts that I am fat and ugly (who says those two words have to go together anyway? Fat is just a description) or worthless or whatever. It is easy to spiral into a really bad place when I let those thoughts go unchecked.

 

Welcome and I am sorry you are struggling with these issues! But you are definitely not alone.

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