The Post-Baby Body — It’s Okay if You Don’t Love It

40055_1570635430598_6005989_nA few months ago I read an amazing article by We Seek Joy on how “Babies Ruin Bodies.”  I agreed with every beautiful, poetic word that she wrote. I whole heartedly agreed when she said, “My body is full of life.  My body is powerful.  My body made me a mother.” In fact, I wanted to throw a fist in the air and shout, “Yes! Just, YES.” It was just so beautiful and so true.

Yet, for weeks after reading it, an unpleasant truth continued to nag me. I did find the whole experience of pregnancy and labor to be beautiful and amazing and magical. I did. Sort-of. I also found it to be exhausting and painful and kinda awful sometimes too. My body was strong. My body carried and birthed two children. I will forever be so proud of that. Of what I was able to do. The whole experience makes God feel so much closer. It is pure proof of his majestic work. Yet, afterwards, I hated my body. Now. Don’t get all bent out of shape. I wasn’t that hard on myself. I didn’t look in the mirror and continually beat myself up. I had other things to do. Important things. I was a mother. I stopped looking in the mirror. I was proud and I was strong. But, that doesn’t mean I was okay with my body. It’s been 10+ months since A entered this world and I still don’t love my body. I don’t hate it anymore. I’m working on liking it. But, I don’t love it yet either.

And you know what? That’s okay. It’s okay. It is. It’s OKAY. I don’t have to feel bad about that ugly little fact. So what? So I hated my post-baby body. So what?! The naked body in the mirror – it wasn’t mine anyways. It couldn’t be! At first, it was barely even recognizable. I wouldn’t have even been able to choose it as my own in a line-up. It wasn’t me. I felt detached from myself. The way I felt about my body was entirely separate from the way I felt about my babies. Or, even the way I felt about pregnancy and labor. Childbirth is amazing and beautiful. What a woman’s body is capable of, the fact that we carry and birth our children. It’s impressive. We deserve to walk out of that hospital with an itty-bitty baby and the body of a goddess! We do. It should all be opposite, shouldn’t it? We get through it all, give birth, and are rewarded with the best bodies of our lives. Can I get an Amen?! But, that’s not the way it works. And, I’m not one to get hung up on “oh, but that’s not fair…” It is what it is. It might feel like a punishment when you have to diet and fight to get your “old” body back. But, it is what it is. So, I’ve decided, that it’s okay not to love your post-baby body. It’s simply okay. No questions. No guilt. Don’t feel guilty because someone told you that you should be proud. You can be proud and still not love your post-baby body. You can be both. You can be a million different thoughts and emotions. Own it. And then, move on – put one foot in front of the other.

I’ve stopped trying to get my “old” body back. I’m not the same girl as I was back then, so why should I have the same body. I’m not even sure I want the same body. What I do want though, is to look in the mirror and like what I see. Recognize what I see. Feel confident in what I see. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other. Forward march. I’m getting closer and closer. And, it the meantime, I’m still proud.

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I Imagine

Imagining my babies, as I awaited their arrival, was one of my favorite things about each of my pregnancies. Daydreaming about them was a “favorite-life-moment” for me. Imagining them. Imagining who they’d be and what we would share.

If you are anticipating the arrival of a little miracle, don’t stop daydreaming about them. But, just remember, no matter how you imagine them, no matter how you picture it … it will be so much better! The love you feel for them will take your every breath away. There is hard, sure, most definitely. But, let’s forget about that for a moment and cheers to the good, to the lovely. Here’s to motherhood!

I imagine

You will be like a great discovery,

Opening yourself to me,

Little by little,

Day by day,

I imagine

All the ways we will grow together,

You teaching me with spectacular wonder,

New eyes in which to see the world,

Such fresh perspective,

And creative grace,

I imagine,

Your beauty will astonish me,

Captivating my soul,

Captivating the very essence of who I am,

I imagine

Your face,

Picturing your daddy,

Picturing me,

Marveling at the pieces of us,

Reincarnated in your reflection,

I imagine

Such an amazing adventure of life for you,

A journey of magnificent joy,

Memories mixed between the pages,

Of daily smiles and holidays,

Laughter filling all the spaces of our hearts,

I imagine you…

                My baby-to-be

 

 

 

Once Upon a Time We were a Family of Three

Toward the end of my pregnancy with A, I became a sentimental mess. I couldn’t help but worry that I’d forget about the lovely three years that we spent as a family of 3. I worried that N wouldn’t remember the time before A … when it was just us, when our world revolved around him …

Dear N,

I know our lives are about to change, and I know that you have no idea what’s coming. Before that happens…before your momma (your anchor, your security) gets lost in all the crazy that comes with having a newborn, I wanted to take moment and make sure you know….

A piece (a big piece) of my heart will always be yours and only yours. It belongs to you, my sweet, sweet baby boy.  If you ever look back and wonder about the time “before A”, when it was just US, you should know that our nearly-3 years alone together, as a precious family of 3, meant the whole world to me. You were my first and nothing can ever change that or take that from us. Without you, I wouldn’t be a momma, nor would I have learned all of the things that word “Momma/Mommy” can mean. I’m scared, actually, if I’m completely honest with you… and with myself. I’m scared that we may lose something that we’ve so carefully crafted…the love that we’ve deepened and perfected and made ours. You and me. My favorite boy. You’ll always be the one who knows how to make his momma smile and laugh. Your “are you happy, Momma?” can pull me away from my thoughts and right back into your world. When you pat my leg tenderly and say, “Everything little thing gonna be alright”, I melt and it’s impossible to stay frustrated or overwhelmed, or whatever emotion I am caught up in at the moment. I love the way you love me … so fully and completely. You have such joy – it embraces me and carries me away. I adore your bright smiles, your easy laugh, and the way you tease your daddy (you are so much like him). We’ve made a place for ourselves in this big ‘ole world and though I am ready to let another tiny person in, I’m terrified that I’ll forget what it was like when it was just us. My son, always know, I love you in the most amazingly powerful way. My heart soars and breaks at exactly the same moment when I think about it. You are my wild, my happy, my determined, my independent, my muscle shirt wearing, my stuffed animal loving, my fearless, my kind, my soft-hearted, my beautiful. You are my first. My boy. I will love you till the end of time!

Love, Mommy

(written July 7th, 2013)