Thursday: Postpartum & Self-image

Uncomfortable in the skin I'm in
All the changes can take a major toll on your self-esteem.

"When my body didn't bounce back, as I had been told it would by well-intentioned friends and family members, I was devastated," one new mom told us.

64% of survey takers confessed that their body image has gotten worse since they became a mother

Unfortunately, a majority of our survey moms can relate. Sixty-four percent confessed that their body image has gotten worse since they had a baby.
If anything, the Ironmom-next-door can be harder on the ego than Gisele, Heidi, or Nicole. "I ran into someone who had twins six weeks ago, and she was wearing low-rise jeans with a perfectly flat tummy," moans 40-year-old Ray Caldito of Los Angeles, who had her twins nine months ago and is still 10 pounds heavier than she'd like to be. "With a celebrity mom, you can attribute it to a tummy tuck or a personal trainer. But with regular moms, it seems more like willpower."

What's more, as time passes and the pounds come off – perhaps not as quickly or completely as anticipated – a new mom's body image doesn't really get any better. Sixty-three percent of brand-new moms say they don't like their body versus 62 percent of all moms we surveyed.

Even the lucky few who lose the baby weight quickly may have a rough time accepting themselves. Kimberly Benkwitt of Pelham, New York, has lost all her pregnancy weight plus another 25 pounds and has more energy than ever – a good thing, since the 34-year-old is chasing after two toddlers as well as caring for 3-month-old Finleigh. But her pregnancy pooch leaves her feeling anything but beautiful. "I'm at the lowest weight I've ever been at as an adult," she says, "yet I'm the least comfortable with my body."