Ever Going to Be Good Enough?

Updated on April 06, 2010
A.S. asks from Bellingham, WA
22 answers

I feel a little silly asking this but, I'm just wondering if any of you post baby moms feel you'll ever be good enough physically again. Please let me start by saying this has NOTHING to do with my husband's opinion of me, he's great at telling me that he's happy with my body this is all my own issue.

I've had two little girls, 3 and 1. I've never been a thin person, up until having kids I hovered between being in the healthy weight range for my 5'8 frame. With my first daughter after a rough pregnancy I gained 60lbs and didn't even lose 20lbs when I gave birth. I worked my tail off for a year (starting at the 6 month mark, when the emotional rollercoaster died down) to lose the weight and I did. With my second pregnancy, although much worse than the first I gained 30lbs and 1 year later I've lost 40lbs. I'm thinner than I've been since I was 13, I'm not skinny at all, but now I"m well into healthy weight. I don't have horrible stretch marks or any major body changes left.

The problem is, I feel truly ugly. I've never had a healthy self esteem, but before having kids I was in a gym 5 days a week and doing a physical job and at least felt fit. While I exercise now, and the girls keep me on my toes I feel like I'm being lazy. I hate how I look, I hate buy clothes because they never make me feel good. And it's effecting life. My husband says he loves my body, he shows me he loves how I look, the problem is I don't. And that effects our marriage, our intimate life. I'm also afraid it's going to effect our girls, I don't want them to have the self esteem issues that I've inherited from my Mom.

Am I the only Mom out there facing this? Does anyone else struggle with their bodies, their body image? Any advice or suggestions on being happy with yourself. And not the kind where I pretend that I'm ok with me, but really finding that happiness? I'm at my goal weight and I keep wanting to lose more, I just need to know where "good enough" is and how I can get there and be happy.

Sorry this is so long and dramatic, just wondering if it's just me...

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answers from Portland on


I don't feel comfortable giving you advice when I don't know what you look like. Just meaning, you could have some serious image issues or you may not. So all I can say is that "No, you are not alone in any way at all." In fact, I would say that you are the norm.

Best of luck.



answers from St. Louis on

I'm sorry you feel this way, and no you aren't the only one! I also haven't thought highly of my body. I have never had anyone say anything bad about my body, just myself. The only time I really felt good about my body was when I was in the Army for three years, and I lifted weights all of the time. I also have two children my oldest is eleven and my youngest is three months.

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answers from Seattle on

Good enough? You are good enough wherever you're at. Period, end of report. Weight, looks aren't the issues as much as pure self acceptance. How does one build up self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth? First surround yourself with people who are supportive, who love, like you just the way you are. Set reasonable expectations for your daily activities. As moms, many of us try to do it all... and in the process really don't accomplish or complete anything well, or well enough to satisfy our own high standards.

Talk with your primary care or ob-gyn. Part of this could still be your fluctuating hormones... it takes awhile to get things back on a even keel. But then ask him/her to recommend a therapist for you to talk with. Your little girls are going to get their cues for self-image from you. So seeing the therapist isn't just for your own self-esteem/confidence/worth as much as it's going to be for their's. They will emulate your behavior and standards.

You're a great Mom. There is no question that you are good enough. The secret is being able to hear those compliments and accepting them.
Take care!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I think every Mom comes up against this at one time or another. I wish I could always have the body I had in high school, but I'm 48 now more plump than I'd like to be. I'm always working on eating more healthy, exercising and monitoring my hypothyroidism. You have to figure out why you value a certain look. I've met people who looked picture perfect on the outside but are just nasty people who you wouldn't bother giving the time of day to once you got past their looks. And I've met people who did not look so perfect but are the sweetest most wonderful people who would bend over backwards to help you if you needed a hand with something. Looks are not everything. If I can accept this about other people, then I can accept this about myself. While I strive for self improvement, I'm pretty happy with the person I am.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hi A.,
When I first began reading your post I thought you were looking for a good weight loss program and for tips to lose weight, which I have plenty of, but as I read on I realized that what you are dealing with is more of an internal struggle. You are not the only woman to ever feel this way at all, and I do believe you can get past it. Have you considered a little therapy? Someone to help you through your feelings of being "good enough." That is certainly an option. It's wonderful that you have a supportive husband, but if you are like me I just tell myself, "Oh, he adores me, so he isn't really seeing it how it is." Therapy could help.

Therapy is not the only way. There are many "programs" that could help you. I would suggest you start a little exploring and see what resonates with you. Last summer I did a program on my own that was amazing for me. AMAZING! It was a 28 day program and I did it all myself with a book. Here is a link to what I did. Go look at it and see if this would be something you would like. I didn't do it perfectly, and if there is a day you just can't get to it then don't worry about it and pick up the next day. i went in with that attitude and it was great. In fact I am considering doing it again because it felt so darn good! One of the main things I learned in this book is that I AM good enough.

Soul Coaching by Denise Linn

A., by reaching out to us Mom's you took a step in feeling better. That is wonderful. So what i would say to you is...DON'T STOP NOW!

Teach yourself to feel good!

My Best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm not thrilled about my post-baby body either. I've been working out quite a bit for the past year, and I've been eating a lot healthier since I stopped nursing. Fitness-wise, I'm doing great, but I still hate the way Iook when I'm naked ;-)

Do you ever watch the show "What Not To Wear" on TLC? One unsuspecting person is nominated by their friends for a new wardrobe and makeover because their current image is holding them back. I swear one day my friends are going to nominate me for that show! This a big reason why I force myself to buy new clothes every season.

I recently bought a new pair of jeans from the Gap, and they fit me like a glove. (Hides the muffin top quite well!) It made me feel good about going out and being seen in public. I was then brave enough to buy a few more nice pieces at Nordstrom and Marshalls. I didn't spend more than $500, but I now feel more confident about being seen in public and at all the birthday parties, showers and weddings I've been attending this year.

I don't know how deep your feelings of unhappiness run. But if you don't want to try therapy, maybe if you freshen your wardrobe and buy a few pieces that are flattering to your current figure. Just don't go crazy spending too much money, or you'll feel horrible about that too. Good luck to you. Obviously, self-confidence comes from within, but looking good sometimes makes you feel good too!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

It's not long and dramatic, hon. And you are not alone. Given the details, it sounds like you are at a healthy weight and that you are also fit. You've made time to work out even with little ones, and that is great. Plus you have a loving, supportive husband.

But none of that matters if your self-perception is out of whack. Have you considered going to counseling? It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you, but a counselor might be able to help you figure out the root of this message running through your head, and if you can find the source, you can stop it. I was never thin as a kid or young woman, and I'm more fit now than I ever was as a child, but I was the "chunky" one in my family--and even today my extended family is far too weight conscious. I only went to counseling for a few months (after the birth of my daughter), but I figured out pretty quickly how the tape playing in my head had been created.

Another suggestion would be to find other mothers--not just online, but in local play groups. For me, just knowing I wasn't the only one struggling through something helped. An activity group might help to--and I don't mean exercise, but a group that does something you love, whether a craft, or a sport, or writing, scrapbooking, whatever.

I wish I could hug you from here. Just know that you are not alone, and all that is left is for you to love yourself, take time for yourself--not just to exercise or self improve, but to do the things that you love, something to feed your soul. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

As a person who has chronic depression, it sounds to me like you are depressed. Poor self esteem about body image is just one sign of depression. If you take a look at things like work, social interactions, being a mother and see that you feel poorly in other aspects of your life, depression may be part of the picture.

Having low self esteem is certainly something your children will see in you as they get older.

Please consider speaking with your doctor about this. Seek out a good therapist to help work through your childhood stuff, and why you feel you've inherited self esteem issues from your mom. Also, consider that you might need to speak with a psychiatrist, and possibly need medication to help.

Best to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

well, personally, I hate looking at my own face. I know my husband thinks I'm pretty, but years of being told by bullies that I was stupid and ugly have left their mark, I feel ugly. But I know I have a great rack and a nice behind, so when I dress, I dress to emphasize them. Not by wearing low cut or trashy things, but things that are cut to flatter that, or jeans that show I have a nice behind while not emphasizing my still slightly pudgy belly. but knowing that I look good from the neck down makes me feel a little better about how much I hate my nose and my chin and whatever else. I'm sure I could use therapy, but it works for me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Oh, mama! Have I ever felt this way, too. I've just barely achieved my pre-baby weight (our girl is 16 mo!!!) and there are times that I struggle as well. I checked out a website that was featured on Mamapedia called "The Shape of a Mother" and it was somewhat uplifting. You are not alone. I know that's not necessarily helpful in a proactive way, but for me, knowing that my emotions weren't making me into an island helped a lot. For me, looking back on all the years I never felt "thin enough," well, it's all so relative. In retrospect, how much energy was wasted on not enjoying my life, but in worrying about how I COULD look, how I WAS GOING to look, if only I worked a little harder.

Now, I really try to stop and enjoy the moments that are my life. It's unfortunate that sometimes we truly don't know how blessed we are until misfortune comes to mess things up. Or, that we are always striving for that "other," instead of living in the here and now. I try to take this to heart when I'm really getting lost in the self absorption of physical unhappiness. How brief and beautiful life is.....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I'm sure that it's not just you. Although I don't feel totally confident or as comfortable or attractive as I did before - I am ok with who I am and always feel better when I exercise, stay active, and have my hair and nails done (which honestly is only once in a blue moon).
It might help if you have something other than being a Mom. If you have a hobby or a favorite activity that you can do without the kids and hubby once a week. Date nights. Sometimes I feel like I need my own identity back.
I am not a therapist, but maybe you want to talk to someone before you feel compelled to exercise too excessively or over diet. You wouldn't want to mess with your physical health if you are already in a healthy place.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Oh my goodness, no, you absolutely are not alone in this! I feel this way quite often, and feel like it is a battle that we as women will face daily. My faith is what helps me to focus on others more than myself, and to truly believe what God says, that I am perfect just as he made me, and we are all different. I am sexy in a way that pleases my husband! It sounds like your husband is pleased with you as well. Grab onto those truths and work on truly believing them. If these feelings continue long term, I would talk to a doc. depression, or thyroid issues could be part of it all. Hang in there, and keep fighting for the sake of those around you who depend on you :) And know that you are not alone!



answers from Tampa on



answers from Seattle on

A., I felt the same way as you. My husband says he loves me too but that's not I want to hear. I want more words or comfort to feel good. I started to take some awesome vitamins that we need daily for our body and mind.
In a week I started to feel great and happy. I do not have allot of self esteem issues and top of that im lossing weight. Taking these vitamins motivates me to work out and be a good mom for my kids.



answers from Portland on

I just found this great website called theshapeofamother.com. It is worth checking out. (Be sure you're alone because there is nudity.) Lots of great stories, encouragement, and support from all different shapes and sizes of moms dealing with the body changes motherhood brings. Hope it helps.



answers from Portland on

I alsoweight less now than before my pregancy - my boobds are so small... sometimes I don;t feel always great about my body but I think it is because we are too light on weight for the amount of work that our body is asking and so we get tired fast and it may interfer with our mood. When I see myself in the mirror I start complaining I start thinking about all the women who are struggling to loose wait. I also take some vitamins - iron amd magnesium deficiancy may also interefer with your mood.
The law of attraction, think positively... think about 5 goog things that happen during the day before going to bed every night for a week should help you your natural self in a better way.



answers from Seattle on

You are in the post partum blues and you need expert help to get out of them. There is nothing wrong with what you feel it is common, you just need some help to get out where you are. Go back to your ob or your doctor and tell them how you are feeling. They will know someone to get you some help. I recommend a woman.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi A., have you ever though about going to therapy? It sounds to me like your issues are definitely internal and not based on what is actually there in the real world (you're thinner than ever, you exercise, etc - you should be proud of this and you are probably looking good!). As you said, especially with two little girls, you don't want to teach them to have these same issues and unfortunatley, children learn from their parents. I have a lot of issues that I struggle with (specifically, anxiety) that I inherited from my mom and since having my baby, I've gone to therapy because I don't want him to be affected negatively by my issues. We have to break the cycle for our kids! And therapy can be really soothing if you find teh right therapist. The key is to find teh right therapist though. You have to have good chemistry with them and you have to have the same philosophies or whatnot so do your research online, ask them questions about their beliefs and approach and how they can help you and you might even need to do initial consultations with them to see how you "fit". Best of luck!



answers from Seattle on

I'm sure I'm not the first one to say it, but no, it's not just you.

I'm not yet to my prepregnancy weight (my youngest is almost 8 months) but I'm okay with my size and shape. It's not what I want, but it's "good enough". One thing that makes it good enough for me is that I know there's time in another 6 months or year or more for me to get my body to be better. I'm reasonably healthy and have the energy and general fitness to keep up with my kids, I just also have some extra pounds too. Instead of me spending time at the gym every day or running a marathon or anything like that, I'm spending time with my kids and setting the foundations for them to deflect the messages that they get from society. I'm teaching them that they are loved, worthy, and fantastic as they are. Sometimes they look very nice and put together, other days..... not so much. They know they're loved as they are though. My oldest isn't quite 3.

From your description, it sounds like all your activities are spot on! Since you're still feeing off, maybe talking with a therapist might help you resolve some of your feelings towards your body.



answers from Seattle on

I don't think you are alone on this issue. I know that a lot of people, including myself struggle with image issues every day. I am writing this kind of as an affirmation for myself, not advice....

I can come up with a million reasons to not like myself or my body. It is so easy to do. I was struggling with this the other day and just looked at myself in the mirror and decided I can't be this way for my daughter. I need to be happy with myself. My three year old saw me being sad the other day and asked what was wrong. I didn't say anything because I didn't want to say I hated who I was. She just looked at me and said, "Don't worry momma, everything will be ok and you are beautiful." How stupid did I feel. My daughter sees me for a beautiful person as does my husband and my friends and family - that really should be enough for me.
So, as I am sure that I will still have those days occassionally, I need to start looking beyond that, do what I can to stay healthy and be the best mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter I can be, and accept that somethings will never be perfect.



answers from Portland on

First off I want to tell you that you are NOT in anyway alone in this battle. I have struggled with self image for years and I love my husband but the man has no idea what it means to be supportive about my body image or helping to make me feel confident in my body. I think that I would talk with my ob about the struggle that you are facing right now. With having a little girl myself I have been worried about the same thing. I try to make sure I never knock myself in front of her and try to accept who I am as I am and realize that I can only do what I can do and nothing more and I have to be happy with what God gave me as my body. i was challenged by my counselor to go into my bedroom or bathroom, wherever there is a full length mirror, shut the door and strip naked. YIKES!! I was then to LOOK at my whole body. Starting with my face and going down to my toes. I was to say out loud to myself what I liked when I saw it. Leaving out the negatives. Not an easy task but it forces you to be objective about yourself. For example, I think my eyes are nice, I like my shoulders...and so on. Then I was to wirte them down, it seals it in a sence in your mind. Then when I was really getting down on my I was to reflect on the words of praise that I gave myself when I was completely nude. It really does work and it really does give you a boost of confidence. You are beautiful. Your husband loves you and thinks you have a beautiful body. Before you get up in the morning give thanks that you woke up to share another day with those you love, give thanks for your beautiful children that YOUR BODY carried and nurtured for 9 months, give thanks that you are you and that is not only what makes you special to those that know you but beautiful as well. Please have a chat with your OB about getting some pro help with this and let your husband know that you are grateful for his support. Also you may want to look into seeking out a local Weight Watchers group in your area,, they offer the support and understanding and the tools that you are going to need to really love you for you and your body for it being yours! Plus, everyine that is in the group is facing similar struggles and you can really conect with people and exchange tips! Keep your chin you and contact me if you need to chat with someone that totally understands! I hope that this helps! Take care and love your body!~~ C. mama of 2!



answers from Portland on

Hi A., you have gotten a lot of comments about seeing a therapist of some sort, which I do agree with however there are 2 additional things you may want to think about.

1) Post partum depression can happen up to 18 months after baby is born. So following the advice of therapy will be great if this is going on. You didn't state you had negative feelings in any other aspect of your life but that might be something to look at.

2) This one is slightly mroe nebulous but i have found it to be true. i don't know if you breastfed your little ones, but if you didn't there have been some studies that show that women feel the baby died if you didn't breast feed, and that could be causing some of the self image issues. You can call this one hogswallop if you want i will understand. :) But that is what I went through when I was unable to breast feed my twins. Now I have had a singleton and have refused to lose weight until he was a year old. Now he is a year old and I have no idea how to start losing the weight nor have the energy to start it.

I am glad that your husband is so responsive and supportive that will help you as you go on this journey to finding what is causing your feelings.


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