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It’s my own fault that my body doesn’t look nice

(11 Posts)
Akindelle Thu 27-Aug-20 22:10:37

A friend posted a news article about a celeb bouncing back after having a baby and commented that she must have had a tummy tuck. Someone else replied “No, she just looked after herself and made healthy choices, not all women let themselves go when they have a baby”.

This has just really hit a nerve for me and I’m in floods of tears. When I was pregnant I had polyhydraminos which caused my tummy to be huge. I have bad stretch marks, diastasis recti and a lot of painful loose skin. I’m working on losing the pregnancy weight but I can’t fix the damage to my stomach. When I first gave birth I coped by telling myself “I’ll lose as much weight as I can and if my stomach is still bad I can always kill myself”. Now I’ve had therapy to come to terms with it and I’ve pinned my hopes on plastic surgery (which I’m saving for).

I just find it really upsetting to be told that this situation is my own fault and wouldn’t have happened if I’d made healthier choices and not let myself go. I hate myself enough already and it’s taken a long time and therapy for me not to blame myself for what happened to me. Now I feel like I’m back at square one.

OP’s posts: |
Greenbks Thu 27-Aug-20 22:17:23

Hi OP, I can see how that comment was triggering for you, I’m sorry for that. I wouldn’t however say it was aimed at you, the person said not all women. I am in the camp of I put on weight easily and certainly don’t bounce back but I do believe & know of women out there (two best friends who went back to pre- pregnancy weight within a few weeks of just eating small Portions and no exercise when it took me months of Gym & calorie counting) who bounce back quicker (due to their body shape, metabolism etc and some do it through exercise /calorie counting.

I believe it was wrong for the first friend to post the article and to say it was a tummy tuck. It’s rude and insulting to women who are and can bounce back due to their genes etc. So if I’m
Honest I don’t blame the other friend to stand up for those women.

Please don’t take this personally. You know your truth and the personal challenges you have faced.

Akindelle Thu 27-Aug-20 23:16:33

The point is, no amount of diet or exercise will fix my ruined stomach. And it’s not because I made unhealthy choices or didn’t make enough effort. It’s taken a lot of therapy for me to accept it’s not my fault that I look this way and now someone is basically saying that it is my fault after all. The implication being that I wouldn’t look like this if I’d tried harder.

OP’s posts: |
JoysOfString Thu 27-Aug-20 23:24:45

I agree with you op, it’s not your fault. The person who commented in response was insensitive, but also sounds defensive and Invested in some way. It’s hard but try to ignore them and remember lots of women have major changes to their stomach (and more) after pregnancy and birth and are sympathetic. There have been some very reassuring and caring threads about it on here. So much of what happens to your body when you have a baby is beyond your control.

flowers I hope you can feel better about it - please don’t hate yourself.

Elieza Thu 27-Aug-20 23:32:48

One ignorant person posting something that doesn’t apply to half the mum population should be ignored.

It’s true that some people ‘eat for two ‘and this causes them to end up overweight.

It’s also true that some people bounce back to pre-pregnancy size pretty quickly.

And unfortunately it’s true that some people through no fault of their own end up with damage to their bodies. Some of the damage is physical. Some emotional.
Some visible.
Some hidden.
Some awful and life changing.
Some milder and repairable.

The person wasn’t taking about you. To be honest she sounds jealous of the woman. That makes me think there’s stuff going on with her and it’s made her bitter. She could have something you can’t see like urinary incontinence or something else hidden and is struggling with that so gets bitter at those she thinks have dodged a bullet.

So don’t give what she said any heed. It’s not relevant to you.

If you found it helpful to attend counselling perhaps you could return for a few sessions and try and get past this.

whatswithtodaytoday Thu 27-Aug-20 23:40:12

That was a horrible thing for her to say. Having a baby has a massive effect on women's bodies - some are lucky and bounce back, but the majority don't. And it's really, really hard to find the time and brain space to do anything about it when you have a young child.

You might be able to work on the diastasis recti though - my friend had it quite badly and as a personal trainer, she devised her own routine to reduce it (mainly pilates-based work, I think).

Akindelle Fri 28-Aug-20 08:09:42

There’s another one in the news this morning. Perfect stomach after pregnancy, no loose skin or stretch marks. I don’t understand how they’re doing it or why this has happened to me. It just makes me feel like shit quite frankly. My stomach is so stretched that I suffer pain 24/7.

OP’s posts: |
takenbywine Fri 28-Aug-20 08:24:19

It's not your fault. It's all down to genetics. I had a baby- no stretch marks and naturally lost all the weight. Bf helped though and I do take after my dads family who are naturally slimmer and taller. But my sister she takes after my mums side and she had loads of stretch marks, she still has half the weight despite giving birth 8 months before me. It's not your fault at all. Some women give birth and go back to before and some women don't. I can't fit into my old jeans as my hips are wider but I have friends who were able to fit into their old size 8 jeans 1 week pp.

AnneLovesGilbert Fri 28-Aug-20 09:14:19

It’s not your fault OP but these bouncing back stories aren’t new and they’re not aimed at you. Stretch marks or not is genetic. It’s completely unfair, but so are a lot of things.

I’d go back to therapy, you’re focussing on what other people experienced and taking it very personally and you’re clearly hurting a lot flowers

LovingLola Fri 28-Aug-20 09:25:44

Take a step back from social media or whichever websites you’re reading this stuff on.

alittleprivacy Fri 28-Aug-20 10:36:15

The point is, no amount of diet or exercise will fix my ruined stomach.

You know, I believed that for a long time too. My tummy was absolutely ruined after pregnancy. I was absolutely enormous when I was pregnant, I'm a tiny person and DS was a 10lb-er. It was compounded by the fact that I had major surgery on my ovaries 6 weeks before becoming pregnant. So on top of the stretched out stomach, particularly on the lower right side, I had scars that were stretched out before they could ever heal. I had another unhealed scar from the removal of a large mole on my stomach a few months before. Then DS was born by c-section, so I also have a low tight scar, that means I was left with a pronounced over hang. All that coupled with diastasis meant that my stomach looked a scarred and wrinkled hanging down old butt.

I initially felt little desire to lose weight as I genuinely thought that the extra weight would smooth out the wrinkles. When I did lose weight when DS was a year old it actually looked marginally better. The pooch wasn't as pronounced and it looked less wrinkly around the sides. Though it was like all of the wrinkles collapsed into the centre of my stomach. And it still looked like a wrinkly old butt. I spent a lot of mental energy telling myself it was unchangeable and forcing myself to accept it because I'd never have surgery. It was extra hard as my marriage was over and the thought of revealing my stomach to someone who wasn't the father of the child who's gestation caused the damage was terrifying. When I started to gain weight again, I kind of didn't mind as I figured that it didn't really matter due to the state of my stomach.

Eventually when my DS was 5 (and I was nearing 40) I realised I was in danger of becoming permanently over-weight in a way that was impacting my day to day abilities and would have a serious negative effect on my health. I lost the weight and turned 40 with a health BMI. My stomach once again looked less awful and I realised for once and for all that the extra weight made it look worse. But it still looked like wrinkly butt.

Then by complete chance I found my 'sport.' I gained serious muscle and within 6 months I had visible upper abs. A year on and I had a full 6 pack. The overhanging pooch was completely gone. A huge amount of the wrinkles, I assumed were due to stretch marks had disappeared as they had been subcutaneous fat, unevenly distributed due to the dermal damage. And the majority of the wrinkles that were from stretch marks were filled in by muscle, because muscle is solid and isn't warped by the damaged skin. I still have stretch marks and warped scars, especially around my belly button. The muscle damage on my lower right side is there if you look for it. But I don't think it's the most noticeable thing about my stomach anymore. It's my muscle definition. I'll happily wear a bikini or if it's super hot, exercise in a midriff revealing top.

After nearly 7 years of telling myself I needed to accept the damage to my stomach as being something I was helpless about, I accidentally stumbled into having a super looking stomach. It's not as 'pretty' as the stomach of my early 20s. It's not perfect and undamaged. But it's also not something I have to force myself to accept and live with. It's source of real pride. I love how my stomach looks now, I'd be lying if I didn't say I genuinely admire it. I'm learning how to handstand and I video my attempts so I can check my form. Watching how my abdominal muscles engage as they hold me in place or work to correct my posture is honestly kind of mesmerising. My relationship with my tummy, and my whole body, has become about the joy I derive from it's power and ability. What it lets me do, and what more it will let me do if I keep treating it well and slowly developing it and pushing it's limits. How it looks is secondary but I'd be lying if I didn't say it's a bonus that makes me very happy too.

But I am really angry about the learned helplessness that woman in particular are subject to. All of those years that my tummy was something I was forcing myself to accept and felt really, really helpless about was complete waste for no reason. If I had had known that I had a hell of lot more control of the situation than I had been led to believe, I wouldn't have had a part of me that was perpetually at least a little bit distressed about the damage. I might not have taken that control but at least I wouldn't have felt as crap. It's not just true of our looks either. I had a back injury when I was 20 that caused me pain for 20 years. Not one doctor, or specialist or physio ever encouraged me to build up my core, take the pressure off my back and then rebuild my back muscles. The pain was something I had to learn to live with instead of taking control over because women are trained to accept instead of find power. I have a strong, flexible, pain free back now. All by the pure chance of finding a hobby that fixed it.

So yes, there is damage to your stomach that can't be fixed without surgery. But that doesn't mean that you definitely need surgery to have a stomach you are genuinely really happy with again. You'll probably never look like the celebrity pictures of super bounced back new mothers. But that doesn't mean you won't look some other way that makes you feel great.

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