I Felt Disgusting After My First Baby: Here's How I Reclaimed My Body

Jessie Joh

body essay
Jessie Joh

As I gazed in the mirror at my saggy boobs, stretch marks, and fupa, I felt outside of myself, as if I were missing something. I mean, I always loved fashion, but with a whopping 40 pounds added to the scale, I felt like there was no way I would look nice in a form-fitting dress or a romper. Sweat pants and leggings were the only pieces that hid my weight and, honestly, I was afraid of looking like I was expecting for a second time. I had just given birth to a beautiful baby boy, and he was more than everything I ever wanted. Yet there I was obsessing over looks and ultimately spiraling.

  • Perhaps I was missing the hot steamy looks that I got from dear husband before the baby.

    jessie and hubby
    Jessie Joh

    Or maybe it was the confidence I would feel as I slipped into a pair of heels; or maybe even the power I felt when I put on a red lip and the compliments that followed all day. I wanted to look good again. I didn't want to lose myself in motherhood as I have seen so many moms do.

    I often thought back to my prepregnancy days -- when I was cute, fun and spontaneous. Now I was just ugly, fat and predictable. Looking at the baggy and colorless clothing that now filled my wardrobe made me want to hide from the world. 

    But I was a mom now; there was no way I had time to worry about fashion. I could barely remember when the baby's next doctor’s appointment was.

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  • Still, I spent countless hours, scrolling on Instagram looking at the "cool moms" like Kim K, Amber Rose, and Tamar Braxton, to name a few.

    If I couldn't have the super-flat stomach, I at least wanted their confidence. And something told me that confidence had more to do with the way they presented themselves than it did their actual body shapes.

  • I set a aside a few bucks here and there that I would use on my new wardrobe.

    Jessie Joh
    Jessie Joh

    Apps such as Poshmark and Mercari made it easier for me to get that celebrity look on a poor mom’s budget. I became a huge fan of plus sized-models and the type of clothing that flattered them. I started out with looser-fitting skater dresses. Eventually, I jumped into the more fitting bodycon dress. 

    Through spending time on myself, I began to realize beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and if it wasn’t meant for me, then it wouldn't come in my size.

  • I then slowly started to focus even more on myself, and began taking time to do my hair and makeup.

    Jessie Joh
    Jessie Joh

    There were thousands of YouTube videos that taught me everything I needed to know. I learned about everything from using a simple 99-cent Wet and Wild pencil to fill in my eyebrows to putting just a touch of concealer under the eyes to make me look wide awake when those sleepless nights snuck up on me.

  • Claiming my body through my style was more than just vanity.

    I said goodbye to postpartum depression, low self-esteem, and insecurities: all the factors that were making me feel crazy on the inside and threatening my relationships. I was turning into a negative partner and becoming hard to love. Finally realizing what was at stake, I made the transformation -- not for dear husband or baby but for me -- and boy did it feel amazing!

  • Smoking hot may look very different for different moms.

    Jessie Joh
    Jessie Joh

    A bold new hair color and a pair of stilettos may work for some whereas a nice, neat bun and little kitten heels does the job for others. Whatever it is that gives you that extra boost, remember we are working around the clock to nurture tiny humans. We deserve to feel great while doing it!