Postpartum Bellies

Postpartum Bellies

Growing a baby is tough work!

It is no secret that a woman’s body can change after giving birth. When it comes to our bellies, some women find that they end up looking way different than before. After all, a new life was grown in them.

I am here to give another reminder that we are still beautiful!

What may happen to our bellies after childbirth

Many women have changes happen to their midsection after getting pregnant and giving birth. Some women out there are lucky enough to look exactly the same afterwards, but most do not fall in this category. That is perfectly okay!

Here are the ways that childbirth can alter the appearance of a woman’s midsection:

  1. Can cause diastasis recti- This is when the large abdominal muscles separate after giving birth. There will appear to be a bulge in the middle of the belly of the person that ends up with it.
  2. Stretch marks- Getting these can be caused by genetics and/or a high amount of weight gain.
  3. Loose and/or wrinkly skin- This is caused by the stretching of the skin that occurred during the pregnancy in order to grow the baby.
  4. Discoloration- Giving birth can lead to discolored skin that can last a long time in some cases.

These changes that women can end up with, may be really upsetting. Some report feeling ugly, fat, disgusting etc. Many also worry that their partners do not find them attractive anymore.

What can be done about post-child (or children) bellies

Some women may want to change the way their postpartum bellies look. Here are some ways that this can be achieved:

  1. Stay healthy and active- This is important in general!
  2. Healthy weight loss- Do not try to lose weight too fast after giving birth. This may cause even worse loose/wrinkly skin and stretch marks.
  3. Tummy tuck/surgical repair- This may help improve the appearance of diastasis recti and loose skin. The cost range for this type of surgery is $6,000-$12,000.
  4. Laser therapy- This may improve the appearance of stretch marks. It can cost $2,000 and up.
  5. Microneedling- This may improve the appearance of stretch marks. It can cost up to $4,500.
  6. Creams- There are creams that are made for improving the appearance of stretch marks and firming up loose skin. They may contain ingredients such as CoQ10, elastin, alpha hydroxy acids, collagen, DMAE and retinol. The cost can range from $10-$140+.

My post-child belly

Me and my weird Shein pajama set.

 I gained around 25 pounds during pregnancy which is pretty average. Throughout the months, I put on Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Stretch Mark cream all over my belly in hopes that I would not be left with any stretch marks afterwards.

Unfortunately, stretch marks showed up the very last two weeks of my pregnancy. I already had some stretch marks from puberty, so it was disappointing that I was going to have more.

I was still extremely excited to meet our son though!

After giving birth, the skin on my belly turned completely black. It was shocking. I was told it was normal for brown skinned women, but it was still unwanted.

In addition to the stretch marks and hyperpigmentation, I was also left with loose and wrinkly skin. I felt really ugly. Fortunately, my husband was really nice about it and said that it would look better in time.

He was right!

After my gradual weight loss and getting back into shape, my belly started to look a lot better. The stretch marks reduced in color and the hyperpigmentation went away.

I still have a little bit of loose and wrinkly skin on the lower part of my abdomen, but I can truthfully say that I am okay with it. No plastic surgery is wanted!

Our bellies have been through a lot!

It is totally normal to have a different looking belly after having children. We are not gross because of this. It can be hard to see it that way, but it is important to try. Doing things to improve the way our bellies look is only part of the equation.

Thanks for reading!

Pictures of postpartum bellies: https://www.boredpanda.com/women-after-giving-birth-postpartum-bodies-takebackpostpartum/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

Stretch mark products: https://www.azhealthyfamilies.org/stretch-marks/creams/

Netflix’s (Un)well and My Inability to Breastfeed

Netflix’s (Un)well and My Inability to Breastfeed

This boy is my world!

I always love a good documentary. Fortunately, there are many available to view.

When I came across the (Un)well documentary on Netflix, I was immediately intrigued and had to watch it right away. While all of the episodes were interesting, it was the breast milk one that caught my attention the most.

Watching the aforementioned episode brought back negative feelings from almost six years ago when I gave birth and was unable to breastfeed. I hope talking about my experience will help others like me feel not so alone.

About the show and episode

Nextflix’s  (Un)well is a recently released documentary discussing wellness fads. Each episode is dedicated to a different fad. They include breast milk, tantric sex, fasting, essential oils, ayahuasca and bee sting therapy.  

Information and opinions on the topics discussed in each episode is given from various people with various backgrounds. You get to hear from consumers, medical professionals and scientists.

The breastmilk episode talks about some people’s belief that it is good for adults. It centers on a man who swears that breastmilk helps him with muscle growth, a man who claims it is helping him beat cancer and two women who sell their breast milk. There are also experts that pop in and out with information that debunks the health claims.

My breasts failed my son

Watching the breast milk episode, left me a little upset.

When I was pregnant with my son, I had every intention of breastfeeding my son because of all the alleged benefits it could bring. The following is a list of some of the positive things that can come from feeding your child this way (according to some studies):

  1. Provide the baby with a lot of antioxidants.
  2. Develop their immune system better than formula feeding does.
  3. Lower their risk of allergies later on in life.
  4. Lower their risk of ear infections.
  5. Lower their risk of obesity later on in life.
  6. Lower their risk of SUIDS (sudden unexpected infant death syndrome).
  7. Better bonding with baby than formula feeding provides.
  8. Weight loss due to breastfeeding burning a good number of calories.

All of these sounded great to me! I wanted nothing but the best for my son.

After I gave birth, my milk did not come in. That meant that I needed to formula feed him. The nurses said that it would come in after a while and that I just needed to wait.

It did indeed come in, but barely. Despite pumping around the clock and putting my son to my breasts, the MOST I could ever get out was .75 ounces.

I was completely devastated.

I did not know why this was happening. I thought all mothers could produce enough milk for their babies. Shame and anger overcame me.

The idea that I had to exclusively formula feed him made me feel like a horrible mother. I wanted to give him the best, but I could not do so.

It was only until a couple years ago that I found out the problem- I have tuberous breasts. This is a deformity that is caused by the breasts not developing normally during puberty. Not only does it affect the way the breasts look but it often affects the ability to breastfeed.

I always knew my breasts were strange looking but never in a million years did I think that they would not produce milk as well. This was another blow to my already shot self-esteem. Not only are they ugly, they also are completely worthless and defective.

These feelings of shame and disgust dissipated with time, but (Un)well made them resurface.

A woman that was profiled in the episode, had hyperlactation syndrome which meant that she produced more milk than a baby would need. WAY more milk.  This made me feel envious. It was so easy for her and impossible for me.

I must remember

I do not know why I cannot get completely over this. It was a long time ago. Plus, my son is only sick once a year with a cough and has never had a stomach virus in his almost six years of life. He has also never had an ear infection.

He is healthy.

Yeah, he has some special needs but that does not mean it is due to having to be formula fed. It could be from some fucked up genes he inherited from my husband and I.

We have a bond beyond this world that started the day he was born despite not being able to breastfeed. So why should I care anymore? I need to stop.

Fed really is best

I know that not being able to exclusively breastfeed like you were planning to, is rough. If you are reading this and have gone or are currently going through this, you are not alone.

 Switching from breastfeeding to formula feeding (exclusively or part time) due to supply issues is doing the best you can for your baby. Just being fed is important!

If you are able to afford buying someone else’s breastmilk and you really want to do that, go for it. Just remember that as per the experts, other’s breastmilk may contain harmful bacteria. People may also put formula in it or water to sell a certain number of ounces so that they can make a certain amount of money.

If you have tuberous breasts

Having this type of breasts sucks in my opinion. If you are reading this and have these, you are not alone on this either! Thank goodness my husband is an ass man. Although that part of me is not that great either, haha.

I often think about getting a breast correction/augmentation but I am not sure. I plan on doing a post on this in the near future so stayed tuned if you are interested in that!

In conclusion

Watching Netflix’s (Un)well episode about breast milk left me feeling crappy. I am going to get over it though because there is nothing I can do about my failure to breast feed now.

My son is happy and healthy. I am in no way a failure of a mother. Neither is any other woman who decided that formula feeding was the right choice.

Thanks for reading!

#tuberousbreasts  #breastaugmentation  #breastfeeding  #breastmilk  #netflix   #documentaries #pregnancy