My postpartum body
Updated: Feb 10, 2019
My oldest daughter Lily is obsessed with Snapchat and she constantly asks for my phone so that she can Snapchat herself wearing random filters with cat ears and funny faces etc. The other day after work I was breastfeeding my smallest babe Ruby and she snapped a few pictures of me while doing so and then teased that she was going to post them. She did this because she knows my body embarrasses me right now. She sees me struggle daily with my weight and how I look. She hears me agonize over getting dressed to go somewhere and she sees me desperately trying to button pants that once fit.
At first glance of this photo I instantly felt ashamed. Although my hair and makeup were done because I had just come home from work -all I could focus on was my arms, my stomach and my stretch marks. The overwhelming feeling of failure plagued me in that moment because I’m not one of those moms that “bounced back” a few weeks to a month after having a baby. I have never been. I felt ashamed because instead of eating cereal at 1 am every night of my maternity leave I “could have” been doing sit ups or walking on the treadmill that sits collecting dust. Ashamed because I constantly battle and have always battled with what I think I should be or should look like and being ”the best version of myself” and I know I’m not the only one. I’m also a recovering people pleaser but that’s another entry for another time.
My point is- my baby girl hears me struggle and complain and talk negatively about myself every day and because of this negative behavior trap I fell into I have led her to believe that I have done something wrong. That my body isn’t supposed to look like this, but it is.
As women and mothers, we are naturally hard on ourselves. Always feeling defeated by time, our own mind and the crushing weight of societal expectations but this is the one time we should especially not be. Our bodies have and continue to do amazing things. My body has created and carried three beautiful entire humans. It has nourished them for nine months each. It labored for more hours than I can even understand to bring them into this world. It received countless blood draws, injections, and tests to make sure my babies were growing on target. It fed my first two until stress took over and now with my third it continues to produce enough milk to solely feed her. My body that created this beautiful being is one hundred percent responsible for providing her with nourishment and enabling her to grow and growing she is.
Our bodies are powerful and can get through hard things and do hard things and that is amazing. Our stomachs that now are saggy folds of loose skin once held our child within us as it grew and our stretch marks and scars are reminders of the battles we’ve fought to bring life into this world , reminders of all the knowledge we’ve gained as we have grown into parents, and the strength we’ve built to do this life and be responsible for raising humans in this challenging and scary world. They are reminders of the beautiful legacy we’ll leave behind once we’re gone and we should without fear and shame wear our scars like battle armor, proudly. We have earned it.
I know for me - I have moments where I feel proud and I feel empowered but I’m guilty of not living that feeling every day.
Right now I want to focus on feeding my baby with this body, maintaining my work life balance and soaking in every drop of this beautiful but messy time in my life. The gym can wait and the opinions of others can be shoved elsewhere because right now I’m doing what’s best for my mental health and for my children's well being.
I’m on a mission now to live free of the weight on my shoulders to be and look perfect and to live proudly. A mission to breath and speak positive things about my body. Not just internally to myself but also out loud for my children who have heard me depreciate myself and what I have conquered on more occasions that I am willing to admit.
I’m starting today- a new leaf of not giving a single damn about how I "should" look and loving how I look with every phase of my life and I feel good about it. I also feel very good about this cosmic brownie in my lap. If you haven't already - I hope you join me. After all, we were made for this.