Something I just thought about - need advice from veteran moms. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 27 Old 07-07-2011, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why oh why did I open up an email titled "what your belly will look like after birth". It had a link to all these pics of women's bellies several wks to months after birth.

I had not thought about how different my belly is going to look after birth.

I've struggled with weight issues- I've never been extremely overweight, but slightly plump. Even when I was plump, I have NEVER carried any weight on my stomach. It doesn't really bother me now, because there is a baby in there. But I'm really wondering how I'm going to feel once the baby comes out and its just a huge mass of flabby, saggy skin?

Will I be so enamored by baby and exhausted I don't even pay attention to it? Is it not as bad as I'm thinking? Did anyone else have this issue? How long did it take to get back to semi-normal?

I feel so vain talking about this, but at the same time, I want to prepare myself for what it will be like so it won't be a huge shock. I'm at risk for PPD to begin with and I could see something like this making it worse.

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#2 of 27 Old 07-07-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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Gah, I got that email and looked too.  This is definitely something I worry about, and then feel superficial and silly for worrying about it...and then worry about it some more.


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#3 of 27 Old 07-07-2011, 09:01 PM
 
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I haven't seen the e-mail, but I've been trying to remember how it was with DD. I tend to be a pretty slim person, and I feel like I didn't look at my belly for a day or two, and then when I did I was like "Okay, this isn't like normal but it isn't terrible." I kind of liked the more womanly look to my stomach, and with nursing a baby and going on occasional walks it didn't take long before I was comfortable with my body. This time I'm looking into belly binding, more for the support and medical benefits, but also a little bit for vanity I guess eyesroll.gif. I think it's different for everyone but is wasn't horrifying. I didn't have bags of skin or anything. I felt comfortable in a bikini by 6 months, maybe earlier.

 

I'm a little more worried about my body and weight this time around, too. I've gotten bigger with this baby and I feel like I'll be more aware of how I look because I have a partner, whereas with my DD I was single.


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#4 of 27 Old 07-07-2011, 09:12 PM
 
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I think most of the problem is that in our culture nobody knows what the normal range of postpartum bellies look like because it's this shameful taboo thing--so sad that normal, beautiful mothers are made to feel ugly and feel they must hide what they look like!

After my first pregnancy the skin on my belly was saggy and wrinkled, and I had NO idea that would happen. Even after a year of hardcore workouts, when I was totally ripped and in the best shape of my life, the skin still never went back to the way it was pre-baby. That doesn't happen to everyone of course, but if it does happen to you it's out of your control and it's honestly not that bad. I've made peace with my body now, for the most part, and I'm actually kind of curious to see what happens after the second baby.

Focusing on your health and happiness reaps great rewards, while focusing on your looks too much can only lead to more self-hatred. I wish it were easier for us women to see our own beauty and worth!

www.theshapeofamother.com is a great website that made me realize I'm not alone!
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#5 of 27 Old 07-07-2011, 09:27 PM
 
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Yes to Shape of a Mother---love it!


Our culture has vastly unrealistic expectations for women and their bodies, especially after giving birth.   Being beautiful or sexy has nothing to do with having the thighs of an adolescent----it has to do with who we are as people.  I wish we could all be more gentle with ourselves and have some realistic expectations for what a postpartum body looks like.  Being healthy is so much more important than trying to attain someone else's expectation of beautiful, which is like chasing the wind anyway.  grouphug.gif

ETA:  Everyone's different, but I have found that my post-baby body needs time to adjust to not being pregnant, and that includes a different size of clothes for a while.  This time I planned ahead and bought some summery 'in-between' clothes in a size larger than I usually wear for postpartum adjustment.  My body is definitely not perfect, but hey. . . I grew PEOPLE in it.   That's amazing.


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#6 of 27 Old 07-07-2011, 09:31 PM
 
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“What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil: envy is evil, hatred is evil, to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil.”
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#7 of 27 Old 07-07-2011, 09:43 PM
 
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I have had extra skin since my first child was born, but I never made a real effort to get rid of it. I've always been at least slightly overweight and I've always had some flab on my stomach even before I had kids. My sister on the other hand has had 3 kids (the youngest is 2) and after a few months of working out she's in better shape than before she had kids. I think it depends on your genes and also how much effort you put into it. I know it's hard to deal with body issues and me saying "Don't worry about it!" won't make it all better, but it will really be okay. After your body has a chance to heal, a combination of breastfeeding and exercise can definitely help you return to normal. I'm just too lazy wink1.gif


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#8 of 27 Old 07-07-2011, 10:02 PM
 
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I know where you are coming from...I am in my 30s and this is my first babe so I am unsure as to what to expect. I have been checking out the www.theshapeofamother.com ever since I started searching for what others' experiences have been. Whenever I find myself thinking about this, I feel very guilty of thinking of how I will look instead of my family's health etc. 

 

the truth is guilt or not we are going to feel what we feel and that has to be ok. I can only imagine that somedays this will be more on our minds and somedays we won't even have time to think about it. hopefully the ratio will be in our favor winky.gif

 

can not be much more different than getting used to wrinkles right? Just something that happens with natural stages of life that one just accepts?

 

another way to look at this maybe; hopefully this will be worst thing we will worry about!

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#9 of 27 Old 07-08-2011, 06:17 AM
 
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For me, I was almost 5 years younger when I had DS than I am now ... and it was basically 9mths to the day that I felt like I had my body back to where it was (or close enough) before pregnancy.

 

I did very little in the way of working out or anything, aside from regular life stuff --- we hike, camp, canoe, I started running again when DS was about 4 or 5mths old, but only 2x a week -- I'm never a very serious runner.

 

So, give it time. In the very beginning, it didn't bother me at all, the only real bother was that it forced me to go out & buy some clothes that fit, b/c I am not the type to live in my PJs or yoga pants, but I didn't get very much b/c I didn't know how long I'd be wearing them. After a few months, I was getting sick of the few clothes I had, but not really bothered by my tummy/skin, just bothered by not having anything to wear that was flattering!

 

I also stacked my jeans in my drawers with the 'fat' jeans on top, and the 'skinny' ones on the bottom. That way on days when I thought I was ready for them, I could try the most realistic ones first ... and not have to look at the skinny jeans that I knew were not going over my thighs yet, never mind my hips ...

 

That's the other thing ... your hips will likely move, and for some people they never go back to where they were. Mine did, but it did take almost that whole 9mths ....


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#10 of 27 Old 07-08-2011, 06:31 AM
 
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I've always had a bit of a tummy even though I am generally pretty slim. So I definitely expect to have one after giving birth too. The tummy itself doesn't bother me as I've learned to dress *for* my body rather than trying to squeeze into unflattering cuts or tight clothes, but I think the potential for loose skin is what I will have to get used to.

 

I used to look at SOAM a lot but I stopped going there because every entry had become "I had a baby and now I hate my body." It just got depressing.


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#11 of 27 Old 07-08-2011, 06:43 AM
 
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Aw hon!!

 

Right after you give birth, you'll  look about 6 months preggo still.  There's a lot of shrinking left to do, but it does tend to shrink down pretty fast.  How fast you lose all the weight is really quite personal and up to your activity level, diet, bf'ing, etc.

 

For me there was an inbetween stage.  We here in August are lucky b/c we are giving birth at the end of the summer, and have fall/winter clothes that can sort of hide extra fluff while we work to get rid of it.  Last time I gave birth in October and by December I was in a normal jean size (not MY normal jean size, but the biggest size I could buy at Express -- a 14) and those jeans lasted me until about mid-february.

 

I've been fat before.  In college I was a good 40 lbs overweight.  I lost it.  Then after DH and I started living together I really packed on weight and was quite fluffy -- I lost the same 45 ish pounds for our wedding.  Then I had Nora.  I lost the 50 some odd pounds then too.  It'll come off.  If you work at it and GIVE YOURSELF TIME, it'll come off.

 

By the time Nora was 9-10 months old, I was back in my size 6-8 and feeling really, really good.  After her 1st birthday I actually got SMALLER than I was prepreg, fitting in 4's.  So, it's possible and likely you'll be back to your old self in the time it took you to gain the pregnancy weight itself.  Not too long in the grand scheme of things.  


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#12 of 27 Old 07-08-2011, 08:41 AM
 
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After birth I usually describe the belly as a deflated ballon. It gradually shrinks, I've never gone back to the same body I had pre-children. Even after #1 I was down to a 0 but things are just different. Extra skin, hips wider... I do have to work at losing the weight, it just doesn't magically go away for me, more like months and months of counting every calorie and working out. Usually by one year pp, I'm doing ok. Like Carrie said, I am so excited about having an August baby, all winter long to hide in jeans and sweaters! My last baby was a late April one and I hated that, I was still so fat when it came to short season. Now it will be just a few weeks of warmer weather but I'll have a newborn to explain/hide the fluff and then the weather to work on getting it off. 


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#13 of 27 Old 07-08-2011, 11:22 AM
 
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One of the things I love about being pregnant is that it is the only time I'm all smooth and tight in my belly...I just love that. After my first son, I was 15, I was horrified to see that stretch marks didn't "stretch BACK"...no...I was left with a pouch. not fat...just...a pouch. I hated it.

It doesn't matter what I do, it always sags a bit. My kangaroo pouch.

DH loves my pouch. He reminds me that it carried his babies...and that he adores it for that. It helps to be lovingly touched in an area you feel is "ugly"...it helps you feel less ugly.

I started just nurturing my belly, just...telling it I love it. And then, that saggy baggy look stopped bothering me. It is my pouch. I am a mother. And, being a mother is beautiful. I'd rather have a mama belly than a teen belly any day at this point. Because...I'm REAL.

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#14 of 27 Old 07-08-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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My main income is through abdominal massage, so I have seen lots and lots of bellies. You just never can know how you'll end up!

I had one mama who I saw about a month after she had her son and you could NOT tell. Her belly was tight and flat. She said all the other moms were glaring at her in the waiting rooms.

Personally, I'm a tactile person and I LOVE the feel of stretch marks and I love that lose skin. After my friend had her babies, I liked to have her on her back and hook my fingers in the skin and spin it really fast. I have very patient friends ;) The lose skin like that has an awesome feel to it, very soothing to touch. I'd have that cheerfully :)

 

I think the closest you can get to knowing what will happen with you is to look at a relative who has a similar body. I'm extremely similar to my mother in body type and am carrying the way she did, so I just look to her to see. Except she had C-sections and I won't.


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#15 of 27 Old 07-08-2011, 04:10 PM
 
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hooray for the mamas who are happy at this point being real!! it is amazing, if your body does not go back to its pre-pregnancy stage, to look at all the ways your body has been and its personal evolution. my body has graced many different placing in my near-30 years, and it has never been any shape i have seen glorified on tv, movies, magazines, etc. yet, it is beautiful. i totally agree with eb about loving how tight and stretched my belly is in pregnancy. it is, in fact, the only time post teenage years that i have been seen in a bikini top.

 

my belly has stretch marks, always a least a couple of new ones or additions to older ones with each pregnancy. they do fade rather quickly. perhaps i would view them differently- but at my sweet 16 birthday party, which was in my first apartment and that night i had dropped acid with some good friends...... i saw my dear friend naked. she had lost a lot of weight (over 100 pounds) really rapidly, and had all sorts of strtech marks and loose skin. in the staqte where i was, myabe the lights were just right, perhaps it was the acid or a combo of all things...... i saw her as a zimbabwe warrior princess, part tiger, part huntress. the stretch marks created this identity in her to me that has forever altered the way that i see stretch marks.

 

perhaps that seems far out there to some, and to reel in a bit, my days of acid dropping and wild parties are faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar behind me. i truly value all of the perspective i have been able to glean in my time. stretch marks are beautiful. they speak of how our bodies have been able to transform and create. we are fearsome, lovely creatures. we make babies. we carry them and rear them once they make it to the outside.....there are truly so many ways to cherish our bodies. it does help when a lover sees with these same eyes....i have been loved starting at the belly. it is quite endearing. but ultimately? i view the beauty in my body not only in how it may look, but it what it is capable of. my daughters' beauties are an extension of my own......

 

 

there are certainly excercises and practices that can help bring you back into yourself (tummy-wise) once you've birthed. (i know i will be opting for some belly binding to help everything cinch back together) but i hope any mama here knows what beauty and magic lie in her skin no matter which way it is shaped.

 

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#16 of 27 Old 07-08-2011, 05:21 PM
 
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After my first baby my stomach was poochy but not saggy. I mean, I had fat deposits but not bags of skin. Will it be the same for this pregnancy? I don't know... So I'm just enjoying walking around right now (at home) in shorts and sports bras---I love having my nice tight belly out!

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#17 of 27 Old 07-09-2011, 10:14 AM
 
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The way some of you are so proud and fierce and real about your tummies and bodies is making me cry with joy. You inspire me! We are wondrous with our ability to carry and nurture new people. We are so lucky. Young flat tummies are cute but being cute and young doesn't last. Thanks to you moms for this inspiration.

And I too love the tight giant belly and am sad this will be my last time. Trying to enjoy it.

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#18 of 27 Old 07-09-2011, 10:28 AM
 
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I agree that I love being pregnant because it's the only time I feel like I can show off my huge belly LOL!

 

I also wanted to note that kellymom.com has a section about weight loss while breastfeeding. You want to be careful about not restricting calories too much and not losing weight too quickly so you can protect your milk supply.

 

http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/mom/mom-weightloss.html


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#19 of 27 Old 07-09-2011, 12:31 PM
 
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I think it depends on a lot of things. With my first baby I was back in my regular jeans three days after birth (I have a long torso) But it has taken me longer and longer with each baby. I don't fully expect to lose the baby fluff for at least a year...It's not THAT bad, at least I don't think it's as bad as you are imagining. 


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#20 of 27 Old 07-09-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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With each of my three, it was so awesome not having a giant, protruding belly that I felt super skinny right after the baby came out.  Each time, I can remember feeling and feeling it, because it feels so flat.

 

After my first two, I didn't even have that pooch right after having the babies.  With my third, I looked about 6 months pregnant for several days after.  But after a week or two, my belly looked fairly normal.

 

I'm wondering how it will be after this little guy.  Since the last time it was dramatically different from the first two, will this one be even worse?  Time will tell!


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#21 of 27 Old 07-09-2011, 04:00 PM
 
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#22 of 27 Old 07-09-2011, 05:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kristandthekids View Post


I couldn't restrict while breastfeeding if I tried. And I'm usually very disciplined when it comes to diet. But suddenly you're "eating for two" AND the kid isn't squishing your stomach anymore. My appetite was scary!


yeahthat.gif

 

I don't know how some moms do it.  They exercise like crazy and eat a 1200 calorie diet and no dip/drop in supply.  I get all Chris Farley and LEAVE ME ALONE I'M STARVING when I'm nursing.   You best not take my food.


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#23 of 27 Old 07-09-2011, 05:19 PM
 
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I was about 115lbs before DS was born, and after about 2 years I went down to my standing weight of 120.  Never quite lost that last 5 lbs.  DS was born via c-section, and in a way I think it might have been even harder to lose the poundage, b/c my belly was tender for months afterwards, and situps and such were pretty off limits (not by the direction of a doctor, just by my own preference to not feel pain).  But while i knew the difference in my weight, I think others stopped noticing that I was heavier by about 1 year postpartum.  Before that time, my belly just seemed a little more round and poochy than usual. I HATED it, but think I'll be able to be easier on myself this time, just by the mere fact that DH is very reassuring that he still thinks I'm hot stuff. ;)

 

 

And as far as breastfeeding goes, I bf'd DS until he was 3 years old plus a month or two-- my appetite was back to "normal" after about a year of bf'ing, but before then, i'd say I was on about a 2500+ calorie diet (and that's on a light day! lol)-- and just like Carrie-- don't get in the way of me and my dinner plate! lol!!

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#24 of 27 Old 07-09-2011, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for sharing your experiences everyone! It has eased my mind a great deal!

Mama to a adoreable August '11 baby and two great dogs
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#25 of 27 Old 07-09-2011, 09:33 PM
 
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Haha I know what you mean! I can't either. Somehow I lost a ton of weight even though I was eating anything and everything that I wanted to.
 

Quote:
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I couldn't restrict while breastfeeding if I tried. And I'm usually very disciplined when it comes to diet. But suddenly you're "eating for two" AND the kid isn't squishing your stomach anymore. My appetite was scary!


 


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#26 of 27 Old 07-10-2011, 11:10 AM
 
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The need for the healthy appetite while bfing is definitely good to know..it is one of those things that if I think about it - makes a lot of sense that body would keep needing food for two...but somehow I always thought, you give birth and things go back to normal gradually (including appetite).

 

thanks for sharing and the heads up ladies! Now, I wont feel like I am doing something wrong if I find myself eating everything in sight loveeyes.gif

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#27 of 27 Old 07-10-2011, 02:35 PM
 
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Southern Stormy, no matter how your body ends up, you get used to it.  I think my postpartum tummy was a little shocking to me those first few weeks.  But I gradually just got used to it, and over the course of the postpartum year, it got smaller and more to be something I could live with.

 

I think for me, the real comfort with my postpartum body came when I was exercising regularly.  It didn't matter so much to me that my body didn't look the way it used to, because I was really taking care of it and putting energy into it.  Putting in the time for my own body (to exercise) made me love it a whole lot more.  It won't ever look the same as it did pre-baby, but it was obvious to me (and others) that I was taking good care of myself.  And that helps a lot!

 

If you know that you've had issues in the past with body image, and eating disorders, it never hurts to make a plan now.  Dieting and breastfeeding really don't go hand in hand, but you can exercise plenty while you're breastfeeding.  I think that exercising helped me to feel more in control, and more like my body was "worth it."
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elove View Post

The need for the healthy appetite while bfing is definitely good to know..it is one of those things that if I think about it - makes a lot of sense that body would keep needing food for two...but somehow I always thought, you give birth and things go back to normal gradually (including appetite).


I was so much hungrier in those early months of nursing than I ever was during pregnancy.  But if your baby is exclusively breastfed, their caloric intake is just greater and greater as they get larger.  And yes, the head's up is good...  I think DH was a little taken aback by how much MORE I was eating...


Wife to DH geek.gif, mom to DS (4/09), and DD (8/11)fly-by-nursing2.gif, and crafty and hardworking in my own right!  In my parenting journey I've  delayedvax.gif, signcirc1.gif, familybed2.gif, h20homebirth.gif, andcd.gif.  To each family their own!!

 

 

"There are words for people like me, but I don't think there are very many."

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