Dare to Ask: Your body, post-baby: Any hope?
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
I have a 1-year-old son and am having the worst time getting over the way my
body looks. I have stretch marks, and my tummy is shaped different. I just can't
get myself to love my body. Any advice?
Jessica, 19, Louisville, Ky.
You can find people who regard stretch marks as sexy.
Eat right. Exercise at least three days a week. I don't buy the whole
"accepting your body for what it is" approach.
Austin, 31, Frankfort, Ky.
I had a girlfriend whose husband left her when her tummy started to show,
citing that she no longer turned him on. He is a scumbag and an embarrassment to
U., 29, male, Las Vegas
I've had six children. My breasts got all droopy and saggy - that bummed me
out, as I don't feel as sexy as I used to. Cheer up, sweetie: Find friends to
talk to in the same boat.
Rose, Pflugerville, Texas
The stretch marks are badges of honor - not evil things.
Sheila, 38, Tucson, Ariz.
The whole "get over it" comments - yeah right! It's hard to get over.
Susan, 21, Livonia, Mich.
Look at yourself in the mirror naked to begin to accept the way you look
Suzette, 32, Saline, Mich.
If you want your figure back badly enough, you'll work for it.
Megan, 25, Niles, Mich.
Your son needs a mom with a good head on her shoulders to raise him, not a
T., male, 17, Arizona
Ah, to be 19 and a young mother again.
Oh yeah. Forgot.
But those who can have a baby need not have a cow later about their looks.
Ann Douglas, who's written books on the subject like The Mother of All Pregnancy
Books, said to consider the following about:
Stretch marks: Oils, butters and vitamin E aren't proven, so you may have to
live with them. "Some of us are given genetically stretchy skin, but a lot
aren't . . . the good news is they don't look like red crayon marks forever.
Weight: Talk to your doctor about healthful dieting. Remember that your body
wants to store fat to prepare for a possible next pregnancy, so it might be
working against you.
"Sometimes we have a sense that everyone has a perfect life and is wearing
jeans after six weeks - and whoever made that up is lying."
Society: "People can be too judgmental. I'm not saying we need to go back to
A-frame tent dresses, but now we feel we have to have our belly on display all
the time . . . you're trying to enjoy a cone, and someone's looking at your
stretch marks, and you're like, 'Hey this isn't causing the stretch marks, you
want to wear this cone?' "
Getting too down: Don't panic or go it alone. "If you're really depressed,
maybe see a therapist - it might be post-partum depression. It might be about
more than just stretch marks. Once you're feeling better, you won't fixate on
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers. Send general
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