I don't love my body. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 11-13-2008, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's my confession. I can go on and on about body acceptance and how powerful and wonderful my body is. I can acknowledge that if I committed to "losing weight" then I would probably drop to a more comfortable weight pretty quickly.

The thing of it is, that it's not my weight that's the problem. I may weigh 50 lbs more than I did when I was 18, but let's face it, I needed to gain some weight! My problem is my SHAPE. I'd rather weigh MORE if it gave me a better shape, TBH. It's this darn muffin top, which sounds cute, but really is not. I look like I'm 7 months pregnant, all the time. I almost want to get pregnant again just to have a reason to look pregnant.

I get that a lot of this is my perception of myself. I am sure my friends don't notice it at all - they're all mamas and probably are dealing with their own body issues. My Dh still seems to find me attractive, even though this isn't the body he married. (Probably because he didn't marry my body, but ykwim.) I don't feel any negativity from anyone else, just myself.

None of my clothes fit right - and with this shape I don't think they make clothes that fit right (except maternity). I have very little libido anymore, and I know that my body image has a lot to do with it. (And I've never been shy about lights-on intimacy - until now.) I can put it out of my mind and get on with my life, but I'm never really comfortable in my skin. I feel like I'm wearing someone else's body and it's not made right.

I want to love my stomach. I do. But it occurs to me that unless I acknowledge right out loud (or in type) that I really don't, that's not really helpful to me.

So my insight is: I am afraid to lose weight, because if I do, I'll find out that my shape is still this one, just smaller - or that it will be even worse than what I have now.

A recent poem in the Sept/Oct issue of Mothering got me to thinking about this. I've had four babies, and after their births I felt like a goddess. I don't know why I can't hold on to that awareness. The "fat acceptance" sites have also been helpful to me... but I'd really like to delve into this and really give my body the adoration it deserves. How are some of you dealing with feelings of not liking your post-baby body, feeling like you're in someone else's skin, etc. I know that this is probably a very pervasive issue.

ETA It's funny, when I think about my mama friends, their bodies seem perfect and right and beautiful for them. I wish I could see myself how others see me, because I bet they think my body suits me in the same way. Like I said, this is a perception thing, but I am having trouble shifting it without some objective insight, kwim?

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#2 of 23 Old 11-14-2008, 04:16 AM
 
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I'm tired so I'm not going to be very articulate, but I could have written your post.
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#3 of 23 Old 11-14-2008, 10:54 AM
 
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Are there aspects of your body that you love?

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#4 of 23 Old 11-14-2008, 12:10 PM
 
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I almost want to get pregnant again just to have a reason to look pregnant.
OMG, yes. me too. Actually, I had JUST been thinking about that right before i clicked on your thread. And... I never ever had much of a waist-line, but now it is just STRAIGT up and down there, no pull in at all - unless my pants are a bit tight, but then there's the muffin-top effect My Dh actually will come up and lovingly rub my belly, but it makes me uncomfortable because it just feels flabby to me. He says he likes it.

The kicker is that I'm only about 5 lbs up from my pre-pregnancy weight... but I have so many stretchmarks/loose skin on my belly that things just didn't firm back up at all, really... and I can't imagine they ever will without a tummy tuck. I'm having a really hard time accepting that I'm helpless to change it.

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#5 of 23 Old 11-14-2008, 03:16 PM
 
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i don't think i really started to love my body until this year. i also have the squishy tummy and have looked five months pregnant since i was thirteen. i have not aged well from the neck up and genuinely believe that i don't need a mask to dress up as a halloween witch

but i can laugh about that now. my body is the thing i live in, not a piece of art to look at. i love what my body DOES. i love the work that went into feeding it healthy organic produce instead of eggamuffins. i love the muscle definition in my arms that ONLY comes from babywearing. i love the fact that i can stack my own wood and enjoy walking across town instead of wishing for a baby who could tolerate cars.

I love how good it feels to be a nonsmoker, but I'm also proud that i quit smoking because I didn't want to support the tobacco industry and not because I wanted to feel good. I love being on the athletic side, but I think i would have felt differently if I acheived this body from spending money on gym membership instead of from parking the car and riding my bicycle (sometimes several towns up the highway) during my pregnancy.

it's not a statue, it's something i live in. if you want something pretty to look at, go buy yourself a gosh darned petunia. i am not here to decorate your world.i love my body, squishy tummy, halloween witch chin and all.

Yes, my son was born unassisted three weeks before my 43rd bithday and the weirdest thing about that to me is that people think it's weird.

oh, and i also LOVE the low rise jeans that are fashionable now because they don't cut into my muffin top and make it hard to breathe. getting rid of the old lady jeans with the painful waistbands was one of the nicest things i ever did for myself.
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#6 of 23 Old 11-14-2008, 03:29 PM
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oh, and i also LOVE the low rise jeans that are fashionable now because they don't cut into my muffin top and make it hard to breathe. getting rid of the old lady jeans with the painful waistbands was one of the nicest things i ever did for myself.
I think you are extremely cool...

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#7 of 23 Old 11-14-2008, 04:26 PM
 
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I think one way to refocus your negative body image is to see what your body can do (pick up something heavy) as opposed to what your body can be (looking like a model). To focus on the active (doing) takes emphasis of the passive (looking). I think you reached that with your goddess body after giving birth. So now, since you're not going to give birth everyday, find something that you want to, or do do regularly and focus on how your body does that. It's the whole idea of going from an object (being) to the subject (doing) that I've seen time and time again in all kinds of literature (specifically geared toward women, usually).

One thing that really makes me feel like I can do (and therefore takes my mind out of the 'geez I'm such a major chunk" realm) is weight lifting. For me it has to be something very physical like that. (not that I'm doing it now, but I am trying to get back into the gear of it). Taxing - not quite like childbirth - but depending on how you want to do it, it is something that is physically taxing to a degree, to make you feel like you've done something amazing and hey look what this body can do! The physical activity has the added side effect of making you feel better (endorphins) and whatever activity you take up, you just get better and better at.

I hope this makes sense, it sounded better in my head than while I'm reading it.

Also, NOS is wise... she writes it out better than I do!!

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#8 of 23 Old 11-14-2008, 08:43 PM
 
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Colleen, I could've totally written that post Somehow I'd convinced myself that I wasn't *that* overweight.. I bought a couple of new tops a while back and they balloon out from hip to boob and I've decided they are awful. Till I saw a reflection of ME in a window, then I realized it wasn't the shirts

(the following is all about me, no inferences to anyone else here and I hope I manage to make sense lol)
I, too, want so badly to love my body but in my case I've come to the realization that I'm just abusing it. I am not HONOURING my body when I've gained 10KILOS (thats 22lbs) in the last 18months, I am mistreating it. Something has caused a bit of an epiphany for me recently, and I took over my husbands gym membership (that was going unused for health/work reasons) and am making a commitment to take better care of this body that's seen me through so much!

I have given birth to FIVE babies, 4 of them Vbacs! I totally respect the power of my body and how amazing it is so I've decided I'm going to do my absolute best to treat it better. I'll never be tiny with 18% body fat, and I don't even want to be. But I want to be able to love the outside of my body as much as the inside

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#9 of 23 Old 11-14-2008, 08:53 PM
 
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I came to accept my body once I decided that I would never love it.

I decided that when my mind got caught up with obsessing about my weight or any aspect of my imperfect body, I would stop myself immediately and think of the positives in my life - my children, my husband, having good food on the table at night, etc etc.

I found that just stopping the thought process entirely worked for me, rather than striving for an acceptance that honestly, was never going to come.

Just my way of coming to terms with the screwed-up obsessiveness that I grew up with, with a mother who weighed herself every.single.morning and whose mood when dealing with her children for the day was set by the results of that weigh-in.
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#10 of 23 Old 11-15-2008, 07:58 AM
 
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i too could have written your post.

i can just say that even at 33 weeks pregnant, i look at myself and think, i would look so much better if i were thinner and pregnant with little bitty arms and no fat around my baby bump. i just want to be comfortable in my skin. and able to lay with my dh and feel beautiful. he tells me all the time that i am, so it is not anything that he does to make me feel bad, i just feel like not me.

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#11 of 23 Old 11-15-2008, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by nummies View Post
Are there aspects of your body that you love?
Yes - there are parts of my body that I do love. It does help to focus on them, to really allow myself to appreciate my great calves (for instance) instead of ignoring them to worry about my belly. It's funny, when I really think about my legs, I have visions of running, dancing, yoga. And I feel strong and inspired. Much different than when I see my belly and think, "Ugh."

I would love to look at my belly and feel joyful about it. To see it as a giver of life, powerful, nurturing, the embodiment of mothering. In my head I can say that but apparently there are all these other voices under that screaming "Suck it in!" and then getting frantic because it doesn't suck in the way its' supposed to. ("Supposed to" - there's a phrase for you. Evil words!)

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I think one way to refocus your negative body image is to see what your body can do (pick up something heavy) as opposed to what your body can be (looking like a model). To focus on the active (doing) takes emphasis of the passive (looking). I think you reached that with your goddess body after giving birth. So now, since you're not going to give birth everyday, find something that you want to, or do do regularly and focus on how your body does that. It's the whole idea of going from an object (being) to the subject (doing) that I've seen time and time again in all kinds of literature (specifically geared toward women, usually).<SNIP>
You did make sense, lots of it! So true - I had really never thought of it in these terms, but it's so true. When I see myself as subject, I feel strong and beautiful and peaceful and joyful. And when I see myself as object, I don't measure up, I feel bad about myself, I compare myself to others, etc. I will definitely start to keep this in mind and try to cultivate an awareness of when I'm allowing myself to objectify me. Wow.

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Originally Posted by CariOfOz View Post
<SNIP>...and am making a commitment to take better care of this body that's seen me through so much!

I have given birth to FIVE babies, 4 of them Vbacs! I totally respect the power of my body and how amazing it is so I've decided I'm going to do my absolute best to treat it better. I'll never be tiny with 18% body fat, and I don't even want to be. But I want to be able to love the outside of my body as much as the inside

Bolding mine... what a great thought, and I love how it comes from a place of love for your body when every message from all corners tells us that our body is our enemy that needs to be conquered. : Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts!

~ Colleen ~ Joyful Unschooling Pagan mama to hearts.gifenergy.gifsuperhero.gifjog.gif and babyf.gif
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#12 of 23 Old 11-15-2008, 06:35 PM
 
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I have the opposite problem-my weight drops too much after giving birth, and now that I'm tandem nursing I'm starting to look like a sickly stick figure. Doesn't help that DH loved the way I looked pregnant and immediately after, and I know he likes "voluptuous" women. I think "gosh if only I could eat more and gain some weight" but even if I ate Mcdonald's every day (and yes I tried this) I'd still be a stick At least I still have some boobs and butt right now...better enjoy them, because they'll be gone by the time Fleur is a year old.

And I hate it when people say "You look so good for having three kids!". But I think of my flabby, stretch-marked belly and I'm miffed that I can't wear a bikini ever again and think "You've got to be kidding!" To prove my point I even lifted up my shirt and showed my nasty belly to a friend and said "THAT does not look good" :

However, I find that wearing pretty clothes and "dressing up" more seems to really help me feel better. I've been accessorizing a lot more lately and I really like it. I've also started wearing "impractical" shoes because I started feeling frumpy just wearing comfortable sandals or my ancient black Skechers all the time. I also try to at least put on some foundation and lipstick every day, otherwise I look washed out and tired.

And you know what else makes me feel better about my body? *ahem* (are we allowed to say this?) masturbation. Seriously. Make a point to do it regularly, I swear to God you'll feel better about yourself.
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#13 of 23 Old 11-16-2008, 07:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Teenytoona View Post
I think one way to refocus your negative body image is to see what your body can do (pick up something heavy) as opposed to what your body can be (looking like a model).
While I completely agree that we need to take the focus off of how our body looks, I want to caution against putting to much weight on what our body can do. Just as everyone's body wrinkles and sags and softens as we age everyone's body also eventually(albeit at different times/rates) weakens gets more brittle and less endurance to one degree or another. I have MS so overnight I can lose soooo much of what my body can Do (luckily to date I always get my abilities back)
It was really hard to learn to value who I am (not my body but my self) as opposed to valuing the things I do because the day comes when we can't do much.
Back to the OP I also just pretend that I don't mind that I have absolutely no breasts since I lost so much weight on my MS controlling diet. I still choose managing my disease myself over having a figure but I can't say I love my body. But I do love the person that it houses.
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#14 of 23 Old 11-16-2008, 09:02 PM
 
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I'm really struggling with this right now.

After my first dd (born almost six years ago) my body relatively bounced back. I had some stretch marks, and was a bit softer around the middle. But not sagging, kwim? I've always been a bit chubby (I'm short too) so it felt good to me.

Fast forward to my second birth - a c-section about ten months ago.

Now my stomach is one of those horrid 'before' pictures that plastic surgeons show on their websites. All my tone and any definition is gone; I have major sag, like embarassingly so.

And it's not from lack of work. I've tried everything. I really think that when they cut the muscle to get through to the baby, it's damn near impossible to heal.

I'm not sure how to come to terms with this. I've tried buying new clothes that fit properly, but even with a very high, very low, or in between waist, my stomache is horrid.

So big to you. I'm really working on my issues too.

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#15 of 23 Old 11-19-2008, 04:01 PM
 
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Wow I could have written your post. Ever since having kids my body completely changed. I can't help but feel jealous toward women who can still wear bikinis after having kids and don't have a single stretch mark. Not only did I have two horrible and nerve wracking pregnancies (had severe pre-e) and two extremely premature babies but it also totally ruined my body. Before pregnancy I had no stretch marks, a nice flat stomach and a cute figure. Now I have stretch marks all over my body and a ton on my stomach and weigh 50 lbs more than before I had kids. My worst area by far is my stomach, it is big and I have the dreaded c-section pouch and it looks horrible. I hate the way clothes fit and I just do not like the way I look. My husbad doesn't care and still thinks I am beautiful but I just wish I could feel beautiful!

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#16 of 23 Old 11-19-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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I didn't have a c-section but I have that pouch, too... completely from stretched out skin. BLEH.

Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

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#17 of 23 Old 11-19-2008, 04:14 PM
 
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I'm wondering how much of this negative body image is coming from feeling depressed??? Have you considered you probably need a pick-me-up? Get your hair done, get a make-over; do something that will make you feel good about your looks and that might trigger you into action about the body issue. And check on your state of mind if you are truly depressed find some resources to get help!!!! Hope this helps!
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#18 of 23 Old 11-20-2008, 01:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much, everyone! It bothers me that this bothers me. It really really helps to know that other mothers have the same issues, because that says a lot more about our society than it does about our bodies.

Things that have really helped:
Reframing my self-talk about my belly. Usually I would think: "I look okay... except for this stomach!!! Hide it! Don't let anyone see!" Now I'm trying to think my belly remembers holding babies. Which is a much nicer thought.

Second, yoga. I used to do it more regularly, but since having kids I haven't. It just makes me feel more like my body is what it is. Not something it isn't supposed to be.... it is mostly a way of keeping my mind and my body in the present.

And also knowing that soooo many other women feel this. And knowing how much I don't want them to doubt their own beauty. Surely I can give that to myself.

Amy, I really like that link! Thanks for sharing.

~ Colleen ~ Joyful Unschooling Pagan mama to hearts.gifenergy.gifsuperhero.gifjog.gif and babyf.gif
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#19 of 23 Old 11-20-2008, 02:03 AM
 
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I never liked my body more than when I was PG, and now that I'm way heavier and stretchmarkier I'm back to hating my body and am sure it is way worse than yours. EVEN SO, I have a wonderful sil who is very kind and giving and thoughtful and THIN and BEAUTIFUL and into her 40s has never had to worry nearly as much as I do about what goes in her mouth and can rest assured that guys will think she's sexy until she's 90, but----she was unable to have a child. I think of what I would give to have a kickass no-fuss body, and I would not give my son up for it, so I take stock in what I have.
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#20 of 23 Old 11-21-2008, 02:36 PM
 
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I had a really soft stomach after my first and it took about 2 years for it to get harder,now it's soft again but I gained less weight with this pregancy so I think that's why it seems to be doing better but still is soft.I really don't care much about it.I think there is some kind of conspiricy to make women feel lousy no matter what they do and I'm not buying into that.:
I know there are many men with Stretchmarks too!
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#21 of 23 Old 11-24-2008, 03:34 PM
 
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I know what you mean. I have always been heavy. After having kids, I got even bigger. I was tired all the time and I hated my body.

Then, I started working out so I can play more with my kids. I started slow. I found out that the more I exercise, the better I feel about myself. I started loving what I could do in the gym. The more fat I lost in my middle, the more I pushed my self.

I am not thin, but I feel healthier, physically and mentally. Maybe like me, you have to really push to get moving. And maybe when once you started, you will also learn to love what your body can do, more so that what it looks like.

Good luck!

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#22 of 23 Old 11-25-2008, 12:08 AM
 
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This is a great thread for me.

I do not love my body, never have, really. Even as a little kid (say 3rd or 4th grade?) I remember having angst about not fitting into my best friend's clothes because she was littler than me.

My biggest problem, I have recently come to realize, is that I never wanted to admit to anyone (and certainly not to myself) that I wanted to change anything about the way my body looks -- I didn't want to be perceived as failing, if it didn't work (if I didn't lose the weight, stick with the diet, look better with that haircut, do a good job on the make-up).

So for years, I did nothing about my appearance.

I really need to lose weight, and see getting healthier as a way to love my body, rather than over eating and carrying extra pounds. I haven't figured out a way to make that work for me, but I have figured out that it helps to take care of the rest of my appearance.

This fall, for the first time in my almost 32 years, I plucked my eyebrows, shaved my bikini line, have begun experimenting with wearing a little make-up, got my ears re-pierced...

All of that helps. Focusing on allowing myself to purchase and wear clothes that look nice on me and that I like helps too. I used to have this mentality that I should "save" my favorite shirt for a day that I was going some place. Now, I give myself permission to look good even when no-one but the kids will see me. Because I'll see me too.

Wow. This is a good pep talk for myself!!

Thanks:::
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#23 of 23 Old 11-25-2008, 12:59 AM
 
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This fall, for the first time in my almost 32 years, I plucked my eyebrows, shaved my bikini line, have begun experimenting with wearing a little make-up, got my ears re-pierced...

All of that helps. Focusing on allowing myself to purchase and wear clothes that look nice on me and that I like helps too. I used to have this mentality that I should "save" my favorite shirt for a day that I was going some place. Now, I give myself permission to look good even when no-one but the kids will see me. Because I'll see me too.
What.. you didn't WAX your bikini line? Where's the dedication mama? Good on ya for doing things that make yourself feel better! I have had that issue with clothing as well.. I'd buy what was cheap, so of course it looked blah on and didn't last so In no time I was back to the same old icky wardrobe!

I've found a VERY nice plus sized store and I'm going to buy myself a couple of things that will make me look great during my journey to a healthier me I have stopped waking up and putting on whatever 'daggies' (aussie for sweat pants and ratty tshirts ) I have a couple of nice casual skirts & tops and one nice summer dress (well it's not NICE as in high quality but it still looks good) and I'm rotating through those for the most part It really DOES help doesn't it

Pagan  lovin'  WOW playing mum to 5 boys in the wonderful land of Oz ... FOR THE HORDE! hehehe
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