It’s one of the single hardest things you’ll ever do. You suffer your way through pregnancy, morning sickness, swollen ankles and blotchy, sweaty skin. You survive a long and painful labor and delivery and finally get to reap the benefits of a sweet, soft, beautiful baby that you worked so hard to get. All of this, only to be left with a body that no longer matches the one you had before. Now you have stretch marks, sagging skin and maybe even a fashionable C-section scar, and your pre-pregnancy weight is merely a whisper of a memory.
You know that you need to work on it. But for the love of Pete, you’re eating like a crazy fool because you’re breastfeeding and trying to keep your supply up, your new birth control isn’t helping matters at all, and quite frankly you’re tired as all get out and hitting the gym or passing on that brownie sundae is not on your to-do list. You deserve that brownie. You’re working your butt off.
It’s extremely easy to fall victim to your new body image. You’ve been through hell and you came out with a body that isn’t what it used to be. It’s easy to let that get you down. It’s easy to become self-conscious and unhappy with the new you. Plus, we all have that one family member that reminds you that you’re not 120 anymore. But, let me tell you now; your body is wonderful and you are superwoman.
Yes, your hips may be softer and your stomach a bit more round, but you grew a human; A whole human complete with all the human parts and functions all by yourself. You nurtured them and your body provided them with every little thing they needed for an entire 9 months. Your body was their first home and first line of defense. You went through the hell that is labor and delivery and proceeded to birth that tiny human ALL BY YOURSELF. Sure, your OB and nurses were there, and your husband was hovering around your head whispering words of encouragement and trying to dodge the mess. But, YOU gave birth to them. You went through the pain of labor. You pushed and pushed until you couldn’t push anymore, or you laid on a table with your eyes wide open knowing they were cutting your stomach open. You did that. Your body did that. So, it came out a little extra squishy in the end? It deserves a gold medal and a nice, warm bath.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to keep yourself healthy; I’m saying that you should give yourself a break. Pregnancy is hard. Labor is hard. Delivery is hard. Your body has had to stretch and rearrange in ways you never knew possible. If it comes out a little different than before, that’s okay! You have a brand new, precious baby at home. You shouldn’t have to feel bad because your body had to readjust to make that baby. It’s natural and it’s normal and it’s okay.
Instead of feeling shame when you look in the mirror, you should feel proud. Your body has done wonderful things, it’s been through a lot and it’s different now. But it was a home for the most important thing in your life. It kept your baby safe and happy until they were ready to meet the world. You did super-human things with that body and it is beautiful. No matter how soft or streaked or scarred or stretched; it is beautiful.
So, ignore that nag in the back of your mind and smile when you see your reflection. Stand tall and strong and embrace that mom-bod. All of those “imperfections” means that your body did exactly what it was supposed to and did it well. This is you for now, in all your glory, with all your marks and you are extraordinary and strong and beautiful.