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Kylie Orr

Did pregnancy and its aftermath ruin your body?

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Kylie Orr

As I look down at my sad and sorry excuse for a cleavage, I try to remember that babies are miracles that enhance our lives. Whichever way you look at it, the same can’t be said for what havoc pregnancy, labour and breastfeeding can wreak on our bodies. There is certainly a minority of women who rejoice their post-baby bodies, welcoming the changes. I think the three of them live on a commune in Northern NSW and burnt their last bras in 1960.

 

I am one of the fortunate ones; breastfeeding seems to help the process of losing post-baby weight and I somehow scored the lucky gene that helps me stay slim. Naturally there are still fat deposits dotted around my body that weren’t there before I had children. I would be more than content to take those on the chin …and the hips, the thighs, the bottom, and the stomach… if some of those same fat deposits were distributed to my bosom. Glorified sweat glands they may be, but that’s not stopping me from lamenting my loss.

 

To give you some background, I had my first bra fitting aged 15. Prior to that I just wore those pretend training bra singlet things that made you feel like all the other girls but actually achieved nothing bar an extra layer of warmth. I was doing my Debutante Ball and mum took me to a large department store to purchase a new bra as a special treat. The buxom and ancient sales lady who waddled like a duck with a behind that demanded its own postcode, sent me into the change room with a couple of teeny tiny bras.

 

“Let me know when you’re ready!” she bellowed and before I could say yay, she burst in and caught me in my flat-chested glory. I scrambled to hide what little I had. Rather than help me with the bra, she simply stated, “I don’t think you need a bra, dear. We have some lovely lace camis that would be fine under your deb dress.”

 

Kill that self-esteem: stomp on it and turn it to dust. Thanks lady. I left completely demoralised and devastated. My inadequacy has been the bust of all boob jokes within the family. I am a member of the itty bitty titty club and owner of numerous gel, push-up and padded bras that go no way to fool anyone that I have something other than mosquito bites on my chest.

 

Come along pregnancy and although my bosom did not swell to the DD I was hoping for, I certainly had more substance in that area than before. Once the baby was born, and the milk exploded through the milk ducts, well! Engorgement? Bring it on! Never mind the pain, will you look at these hummers?! My husband was in hell. His wife walking around topless with her newly acquired breastage and he was cordoned off to a ten-kilometre radius because the only visitors permitted near them were cabbage leaves. And the baby.

 

Fast-forward six years, three babies down the track and my chest has taken a real pounding. Last baby now weaned and the dismal state of my boobs is nothing less than confidence destroying. I don’t have the sag of which other women complain, because it’s pretty hard to sag an anthill. There is just nothing left. Skin on ribs. That’s it. If I drop crumbs down my top, they land on my feet. If I wear a tight fighting top, I look like a twelve-year-old boy. A child snuggling into my ample bosom? No chance. Head bashing on a rattly set of ribs is what they’ll get.

 

My long suffering GP has endured my constant disdain at the miserable state of my post-breastfeeding boobs. “What are we going to do about these boobs?” I implore. His answer? “Kylie, I’m not a plastic surgeon.” I’m not going there. Or to Thailand.

 

The cruelty of being given a wondrous cleavage on loan only for it to disintegrate before your eyes as soon as you cease breastfeeding tends to be lost on most men. My husband thinks it is all terribly superficial and trivial – he’s just excited to have something that was the baby’s domain back on his turf.

I wonder how he would feel if he was adorned a larger penis for six years and then had it rudely decrease in size, further and further with each subsequent child? I wonder how trivial and superficial it would feel then?

 

When I sit down and think about it, I should have the utmost respect for my body. Amazingly, it grew and fed three healthy babies. I welcome the curves and the added extras that come with the territory of undertaking that fantastic accomplishment. Unfortunately it also came with a false sense of entitlement to something other than an A cup that I haven’t quite shaken.

 

We’re all very lucky to have grown people and nurtured them but that doesn’t mean we have to revel in the aftermath that is our body after baby. Maybe it’s not your boobs, maybe it’s a stomach you simply can’t flatten or hips that are living at separate sides of Australia. One day, I will embrace this body of mine and appreciate all it has done for me. I’ll stop staring at my ribs in the mirror, willing some massive gazungas to magically appear and be thankful I don’t have a crook back from years of carrying around a heavy chest. I’ll look at the three people who started off as specs and are now living, breathing marvels and be thankful that deflated boobs are the worst of my worries.

 

How has your body changed after having children? Is it for better or for worse?

Kylie

 

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teenylita

This is totally and utterly hilarious! I am yet to see what 'rewards' I reap from my baby body, however a certain portion of my fat deposits were already there.

 

Thanks for the laugh!

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Wut??

These 'A' Cups have fed 3 babies, including twins. I love going bra-less.

 

Yes, my body has changed. Not that much though. It's more a result of being 40 than it is having had kids.

 

I'm much more confident with it now, than I was at 20. That is, when I think about it. But I don't, really.

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schrodinger's cat

I have just had a hysterectomy after childbirth. Condition diagnosed before this pregnancy but the pregnancy worsened it.

 

The inflato/deflacto boobs are teh least of my problems.

 

 

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ilikesunflowers

Hi Kylie,

My body has definitely changed after two babies - and how I view myself changed along with it. I finally accept how I look - I don't see my body as having 'faults' anymore - I actually love my body for once in my life and I think it's because I realise now what it's actually for! I refuse to waste energy wishing my body was any different than it actually is.

Ax

 

 

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raisins

I can give you some of my EE boobs if you like? Do us both a favour :lol: .

 

First pregnancy hardly touched my 17 year old body. It snapped back and I was called a 'hot mumma' many times.

 

Second one saw me gain 3 permanent kilos and stretch marks down to my knees and in my armpits. :cry:

Devastated.

 

Third one at the ripe old age of 21 ruined me. It tore my stomach muscles apart, leaving permanent damage and a herniated something-a-rather.

Fresh purple stretch marks streaked me from top to bottom, and the kilos I had gained not only didn't come off, but I've gained 20kgs since the birth. Despite eating well and exercising.

 

However, my boobs, although they are large, aren't empty sacks of skin.

They are full and more pert than I remember them being even before pregnancy.

 

 

Now that I'm expecting number 4, I'm hoping against all odds that number 3 did all the possible damage, and I'll be left mostly alone.

 

Wishful thinking I know :lol::cry:

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jeska~and~her~secret

Hi Kylie,

Have you read Thanks for the Mammaries? A breast-cancer awareness book with short stories about boobs of all shapes and sizes. It made me realise how SO MANY women wish they had something different to show.

 

For example, I was a 14D/12DD before I became pregnant and am now a 14DD (at least... I need to buy a second set of maternity bras). I'm tall, but my arms and legs are skinny and I feel like a real freak with such a giant, uncontrollable chest. If only I hadn't inherited the shelf-like bosoms that are prominent on both sides of my family but that my own mother magically missed out on (at the age of 60 she is a pert 10C). And yet I bet you had my problem, just as I envy you yours! How good it must be to wear singlets without huge straps, sexy bras, and halter necks, and to not feel like a giantess wherever you go.

 

My point is twofold. 1) Bodies do change with pregnancy and boobs are on the front line. I do aggree with pp that our bodies are far better exulted for their ability to grow children than for their 'beauty' (whatever that is). I think everyone would be surprised just how much things change when a woman's body switches to pregnancy mode. And I'm not even at the end of my first pregnancy yet! 2) Lots of women would like different boobs in particular. I think that's sad, but I'm not immune. I do understand.

 

Good luck sorting this out! Your husband obviously loves and fancies you, I hope you can see his point of view and stop seeinf yourself as somehow deficient. You're a legend!

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spots68

I love my post pregnancy body, and the only thing I changed about it was my breast size.

 

I would love to have an A cup - just for one year. Started out with 10DDs and ended up with a 14G chest at the end of pregnancy number one. Had a breast reduction at age 33, best decision I ever made and went down to a 12B cup. During pregnancy number two the chest swelled again to a D cup and that has remained, so I am toying with another breast reduction to get back to a manageable size.

 

I hate the clothes not fitting, the sore shoulders from the bra straps and the constant conversations with my bust. The big boobs make you look fatter than you are too - when I had the first breast reduction everyone said "oh have you lost weight" - I hadn't but I had gotten rid of the giant bust.

 

So it would be great to have a normally proportioned body again instead of the Pam Anderson chest. Maybe I could get a tummy tuck as well......

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homeatlast

Ha! - back pain, hip pain, weak bladder. massive bum.

But that said, I've seen women in their 60s and I can't tell the difference between those women who had children and those who had none.

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clare1975

I heard they sometimes come back? From an couple of older mums, they said they don't go back to what they were, but they do come back a bit...here's hoping. Currently breast feeding no.2, but I was shocked at how mine nearly disappeared between babies!

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6'n'out

Raisins-if it's any hope to you, my 3rd was my hardest pg. Numbers 4 & 5 were dreams by comparison

 

Much like Kylie, I had no boobs prebaby. I couldn't wait for the engorgement. Unfortunately mine filled up so much the stretch marks puffed up as well, making my boobs look like they were covered in leaches :huh: Not a good look.

 

Five babies later I have a good size (16C/14D), but all too saggy and stretched. What I was left with after I finished bf'ing each baby was different, so who knows what I'll have when I finish feeding this one. Personally I'm hoping they some how perk back up, but keep their size ;)

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Lego

I'm with Kylie on this one. A bit of a rip-off that the hardly anything you had before is even less. I see breasts as something that makes me feminine. When overweight men have bigger "boobs" than I do, it kinda kills the confidence.

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Charm1

My post baby body requires three surgeries to correct it so far. A hernia (in my tummy and very unattractive), varicose veins all through my vulva (big, notted, painful and blue) and large and painful hemmroids that will also need surgical correction. This was (and still is) being caused by 'Polyhydrammnios', a condition affecting 1-2% of pregnant women. Basically it means that your body makes WAY too much amniotic fluid. If left unmonitored it can be dangerous for mother and baby. Waters breaking can cause the cord to prolapse, which of course can be fatal.

 

The stretch-marks are 'the best I have ever seen' according to my first OB (he got the sack for this current pregnancy!) Not just all over my belly and hips and boobs, but all down my buttocks, inner and outer thighs too.

 

Hip dysplasia has not been fun either.

 

The extra stretch on my belly, due to the fluid, will need to be addressed aswell. This is so far down the list though. To combat how uncomfortable this sag was after baby number one, I had to wear a girdle to hold it in place. Gross is an understatement.

 

My boobs? Also ended up empty wind-sox. But after everything else, it hardly seemed worth thinking about - although it was still a depressing sight.

 

I never talk about what has happened to me during pregnancy. I don't want to ever seem like I am suggesting I had/have it worse than anyone else. I am not saying that at all. It's just what has happened to me and that is all. I had no idea about this condition and have never heard of anyone else suffering from it either.

 

Baby number two is being born in three days time. My OB has strongly suggested that if we are to have a third baby to consider adoption as my body would not cope with a third pregnancy. No arguement from me there!

 

But even after all this, I will be forever grateful to be called 'Mummy' ;)

 

PS My first post!

 

 

 

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Charlotte B

I don't care about the stretch marks, soft saggy boobs and permanent pot belly. I reckon I've earnt them. I'd rather have all that than be childless.

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lustreless

I wish my boobs would shrink to nothing, they have exploded back up to a G cup during this pregnancy, heres hoping that they behave like last time and shrink back to a much smaller DD or even an E would be good.

 

As far as stretch marks and the belly, well my twins wrecked me as far as that goes but I have bounced back remarkedly well and would almost get away with a bikini.

 

I find myself spending this pregnancy trying to not worry about gaining too much weight, I mean who wants to be married to a fat mother of 5 lol

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witchymamma

Get a grip Kylie! Look at all the girls on the international catwalks. All A cups. Get yourself some decent exercise a few days a week to budge the lumpy bits elsewhere and your old body is back big time.

 

I have always had A's and Im slim so I found the whole going to C cup absolutely hilarious. I am so glad I am back to my ittybittytitty state. ENJOY you dont have boobs half way down to your navel!

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mel_73

LOL. Kylie don't worry about it. And I'm sorry to read that for some ladies, the toll is quite extreme.

 

I joke that my poor boobs look like long socks that I have to roll up into my bra each morning ... going without a bra is clearly not an option!

 

Otherwise, my body hasn't changed much at all. Severe mastitis with number 1 and PND with number 2 almost did my head in, but I look at myself in the mirror (tho' rarely!) and see a body that has supported my growth into motherhood.

 

Go with it. We are blessed.

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Praetor VitaeChel

I was about a 12A prior to being pregnant. I am about a 14C in maternity bras atm and I HATE it. I liked having small boobs. Since I was about 14 I had 10A chest. It was only in the last year or two that this changed to 12A. Whilst at times wished I had a little more, I never bemoaned my small chest. I could go braless around the house and it didn't hurt to run or dance (my best friend can wear an industrial strength bra and it still hurts to do any bouncy activity).

I also gained ALOT of stretch marks. I had nothing until baby was due.. then he was overdue and voila - stretch marks from the back of my knees to the underside of my breasts :cry: My previously strong stomach muscles are covered in a layer of fat (which is slowly decreasing.. but I suspect I am in for a low calorie diet and work out regime before I get to see the flubber gone). I was not model skinny - about size 12. But now my butt is the size of Texas.

 

All this I can deal with.. the bit that REALLY sucks is the "pelvic instability" leaving me in pain daily. That is the body change I could really have done without. I am not allowed to dance, so I get to watch my husband dance while I sit on the sidelines. Also no walking up and down hills - so no nice walks around my dad's farm with DH, DS and Dog anymore. I want to exercise, but am only allowed to walk on flat surfaces and have to take it easy. This is the worst change to my body.

 

Hopefully in time I will recover and the marks will fade.. or I will get used to this new body I am in. Either way I got my beautiful boy in exchange.. so while I might complain just a little bit (and maybe sulk just a tad when DH is dancing and I can't), I still consider myself very lucky :D

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artnsoul76

I used to call myself tiger mumma, my stretchmarks were so bad, deep purple, and so many you couldnt count them! The boobs were 12C before, then up to a 16D during and a droopy 12c/D after. I put on 23 kgs during the preg, and proceeded to loose 33kg after! So stretch marks wobbly saggy bits, but I'm actually in better shape now than before the preg..... Not to mention a lovely big scar across my tummy. But just one smile from DD makes me forget it all!!!!! I would do it all again in a heartbeat for that spectacular little person!!!

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Strawberry Fields

My body certainly changed, and with it, my confidence, my mood, my health, my energy levels, my wardrobe and worst of all... my marriage.

 

I was a size 10 before I got pregnant. Never have been a beach babe, but I didn't have a weight problem. If I ever did put on a few kilos here and there, maybe after Christmas, it was considerably "easy" to shed the extra three or four kilos.

 

With my pregnancy, at 4 months I got pelvic symphysis and had to stop going out for my evening walks. I joined "Preggie Bellies" which was a great way to do 'something', but it wasn't enough... when I suddenly looked at the scales, my God! I had put on 17 kilos!

 

My 4.5 kilo baby was born a gorgeous, healthy boy. I then looked at myself in the mirror and thought... Is there another baby in there?? I was simply fat.... huge! Then, sleep deprived and exhausted, no way I was going to exercise like I used to. Then came the depression when I realised my weight wasn't going anywhere, not after breast feeding, dieting, nothing... Then came the lack of confidence, distance from my husband, and so on...

 

So yes, I have been a size 18 for three years now and not happy. The weight has had an impact on my health, too. It's awful when your motivation goes downhill after trying for months, you hop on the scales and find you've lost 300g. I've tried WW, protein shakes, diet pills, antidepressants, exercise, protein diets, low carb diets, 12 step meetings, counsellors, dietitians, etc etc etc....

 

Oh! did I mention incontinence?

 

xoxo

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cfm79

Did pregnancy and its aftermath ruin your body?

Yep Pregnancy did it for me ... twins carried to term has resulted in some serious 'twin skin' which only a plastic surgeon can fix. Oddly though breast feeding my girls has resulted in some serious weight loss (I was a size 12 now a size 8 & its not for lack of eating) which most people find great / cant see past. I would gladly take all the weight back & more if it meant getting my stomach back or even something a little milder.

 

I was prepared for stretch marks and a range of other body changes but not this & while it goes without saying that I love the twins, would gladly do it again etc I am finding the result really hard to deal with.

 

 

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Sharkie4

Kylie,

 

I felt like I was reading something written by me! I SO know where you are coming from, and have also had three kids in the last 6 years and now that I have just finished breastfeeding my third child, I am back to barely fitting into an A cup (I also was the teenager wearing the token bra when I really have NEVER needed to wear one). Thank god for padded bras, I have tried them all: water filled ones, silicon filled ones, air filled ones, but nothing compares to the boobs I had when my milk came in for my first child - I remember ogling at myself in the mirror (in between heat packs and cabbage leaves!).

 

And yes, whilst I feel so lucky to be a mum of three kids and to be healthy and all the rest, just a tiny bit of cleavage isn't too much to ask is it?

 

Yours in flat-chestness!

 

 

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billso

That was funny.

 

I only have the one, he was such a little piggy inside that i lost weight whilst having have a healthy size bubba. So my body somehow went back to thin the days following, although i think i look more womanly now. Weight hasn't changed but i can see something different and my jean size went up.

 

My boobs went from a C to a D cup, hmmm not really that impressed as i get selfconsious about cleavage, even tho DH loves it.

 

But what it did do was changed and scared down below, too many stitch and hemaroid scares have left a mess that i'm so embaressed about i won't even get a bikini wax.

 

So pregnant again, boobs are already a DD and i keep nearly peeing my pants. Fingers crossed not too much changed, but if so it will be worth it.

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seepi

I already had a few extra kilos and the love handles and a belly before I got pregnant. So I love it now - I can just join in the conversations about how kids ruined my body...only I have to remember not to do it in front of my old friends, who know I was basically the same before kids...

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MagentaBaby

I went from a C to an E cup???? How did THAT happen? It (they) seems here to stay, too, and I can't say I'm all that excited about it - in the opposite direction to you. They get in the way, I've had to change my wardrobe, yada yada.... They also did me proud in keeping up with the demands of an EBM-fed NICU baby for the entire 31 days of her short life, and then kept our second baby fed and thriving for the first 15mo of her life (something I felt compelled to do after losing our first dd).

 

I'm not complaining. My body is as it is. It gave me my children. And I don't live in that commune of which you speak :)

Edited by MagentaBaby

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