Body Dysmorphic Disorder after childbirth? (a little long) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-18-2010, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't really know where to start with all of this, I have had many body issues most of my life. Was anorexic for about 10 years but was able to stop that on my own, I still had issues with how I looked but was able to start eating like a normal person again, it was very gradual. Had my first daughter emergency c/s 3 years ago, I was so upset, it was hard to feel a connection at first I was totally unprepared that a c/s was always a possibility in childbirth, I just felt like I was handed this baby I never felt like I actually gave birth, it took a while but I kinda got over that. I got pregnant again and decided that I would be having a vbac and no doctor was going to tell me any different, so I had my vbac and all was great for a while. I must have been so focused on having my vbac I never really realized there could be physical changes to my body, so anyway she is 7 months old now and for the past couple months I have basically been obsessed with feeling like I am ruined. I feel like I am really stretched out like i have this gaping hole where my old vagina used to be. Sex doesnt feel the same to me I think about it all the time, Ive asked my husband about it, he says it's slightly different but not much, barely noticeable, but it is very noticeable to me. I guess it doesnt really look the way my mind thinks it does but that does me no good because I always feel that it looks that way. I feel like kegels are useless I don't think they are making a difference. I am now pregnant with #3 and am so stressed about how to give birth to this baby. I do not want to risk stretching anymore than I feel I already am and the thought of another c/s is scary, i hate thinking about being cut open, I dont know what to do. I talked to my midwife about this she thinks I have BDD. She also thinks that my obsession with my vagina is "unusual" I don't understand that all women don't feel this way, is that true? or do people just not talk about it? well anyway she wants me to see a therapist about my issues but at this point I feel like it's almost a waste of time. What are they going to tell me? that it's normal to be bigger after birth than before? that won't make me feel better, I want it the way it used to be. I really feel there is nothing they could say that would make me not feel this way. I just really don't know what to do. Has anyone felt this way? This is going to be our last baby and I feel like I'm ruining my last pregnancy with this craziness.
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#2 of 6 Old 08-19-2010, 03:21 PM
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Did you tear with the birth of your daughter? I would imagine that ALL women have this cross their mind atleast once, esp since society has its jokes and opinions about vaginas. Our bodies (and vaginas) are MADE to do these things, and amazingly, they spring back to almost normal. I did say almost bc, well, after sex, having babies, and age we will not have our "virginal" tightness back again. Unless you opt for surgery, of course. Is sex painful or less pleasurable for you? You are only 7 mo PP, so give your body a little more time. It is still healing from birth. If you think therapy would help, esp with your issues with the next birth, then I say go for it. Also, try doing kegels and see how they feel for you after awhile. Find ways to make yourself feel beautiful, inside and out. Celebrate your body and the amazing changes that come with motherhood. You are a VBAC mama, so I know you have strong will. Just love yourself and be gentle to your body.

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#3 of 6 Old 08-20-2010, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
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no, I didn't tear, my midwife was really great about helping that not to happen. Sex doesn't hurt, it just doesn't feel as good sometimes and as soon as i get that feeling then the thought of a gigantic vagina takes over and I can't stop thinking it. My husband says that it really isn't much different but for me it seems to be very different. I can't really ask people I know because so many have c/s now and the others have had tears and stitches so I don't know if being stitched after would change size or if it just fixes the torn skin. I feel so bad for not just being happy that I was able to have a vbac, I think if I knew I would eventually get my old vagina back I wouldn't be as upset about it but maybe I still would be. And now with another baby coming I'm afraid it'll be too much for my body to recover from with 2 births being so close together. This is hard because I feel like I have no control over the recovery of it, with my weight issues that's not a big deal to me because I know I can control that, and for years I've wanted implants , which I still plan on doing but i'm not into the idea of vagina surgery and just bringing that up before my husband says is ridiculous and that it is definitely something I don't need. I wish so much I could just be happy with the way I am, I don't know how I ended up like this
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#4 of 6 Old 08-20-2010, 08:17 AM
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I think you should take your midwife's advice. I think it's spot on.

I've had two vaginal deliveries, and the thought has passed through my mind that things may be different down south, but it's not anything I've ever fixated on. My husband has assured me that things are the same as they used to be. I do think kegels help, or at least they help me feel like I'm doing something.

Now, the sensation of sex does change for a while post-partum. It can change when you're pregnant, too, but that's a situation with hormones, not anatomy. It took some time for my body to regain all of it's sensitivity, and with two pregnancies so close together, I imagine it may take until some time after you deliver this next baby before things are regulated again.

I also do think breastfeeding helped, because it helped my hormones come back to normal more gradually, rather than a crash after birth.
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#5 of 6 Old 12-05-2012, 05:51 PM
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Hi! My name is Lande Yoosuf and I am An Associate Producer for the Steve Harvey Show. I'm reaching out to you because we are working on a show that's very relevant to your story and I would love to chat with you more about it. Can you please contact me AS SOON AS POSSIBLE at or at 312-836-4835. Or if you know someone that would be great for this opportunity, please have them contact me as well. Thanks so much.

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#6 of 6 Old 12-08-2012, 04:39 AM
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I know my body is a little bit different after having babies, but it doesn't bother me.  The only thing that bothers me is the small umbilical hernia that developed during my second pregnancy.  Someday I'll get it fixed, but surgery scares me, so I'm stalling.  Hahaha!  Just a suggestion of something that might help you feel better is to start doing some kind of low-impact exercize.  Try yoga or dancing or some kind of easy fitness class.  It will make you feel good about your body.  Think about loving and honoring your body for all the amazing miraculous things it has done.  You made people!!!

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