Postpartum bodies. We love to hate them, don’t we? Why is that? If you are a mom who bounced back to your pre-pregnancy body days after your baby was born, more power to you (seriously, that’s incredible).
But this blog isn’t written for you.
This is for the mamas, like myself, who have struggled with body image. Especially in the ever-so-vulnerable postpartum period. I remember the first time I caught a glimpse of my new body. I got out of the shower post-birth and saw myself in the mirror. “WHOA. Is that me?” I thought. In all fairness, I had never truly seen a postpartum body. But I can tell you that I felt like a stranger in my own body. I felt that way throughout pregnancy as my body changed, but at least that was gradual. I had time to get used to it. This was sudden. There was a baby in my belly and then suddenly there wasn’t anymore.
The days, weeks, and months that followed were a struggle for many reasons. How was I supposed to embrace this new mom bod? It was lumpy and squishy. It had marks that weren’t there before. And don’t even get me started on trying to dress myself. I wished that yoga pants and t-shirts were acceptable attire for all social situations because that was all that I felt comfortable wearing. Unfortunately, I let my negative body issues steal some of my joy.
Eventually though, my body found a new normal. It wasn’t quite the same but I found myself comfortable in my skin again. Sure enough, that season was fleeting just as all the veteran moms told me it would be.
When I became pregnant again, I thought much more intentionally about my upcoming postpartum than I had before. I was determined for it to be better this time. That included embracing this body of mine.
So, I give you my reasons for CHOOSING to love my postpartum body…
- My “mom pouch” and stretch marks remind me that my body did an amazing thing. It grew and stretched to accommodate TWO sweet babies. My uterus grew several times it’s original size to host life and my skin stretched right along with it. That is pretty amazing. I consider those stripes earned. My body is a good body.
- My leaky and engorged breasts remind me that for a season, I was able to produce milk and nourish my babies. The extra fluff that my body deliberately holds onto in order to make milk is frustrating. Maybe my clothes sometimes smell of sour milk and I am limited to breastfeeding-friendly tops, but it won’t last forever. My body is a good body.
- My body is recovering from birth. You know, that thing our bodies do where they expel a human being the size of a small bag of potatoes. How can I expect my body to go right back to “normal” after working the hardest it’s ever worked while simultaneously giving me life’s sweetest gift? It’s okay to take it easy. It’s okay to embrace limitations. It’s okay to ask for help. My body is a good body.
One day I will “have my body back”. One day I will look at my grown boys and miss this season. Perhaps I will even wish that I could turn back time. It really does go by too fast. When I look back, my thoughts won’t be consumed with how I felt about my body. I will reminisce the smell of my baby’s head, the cozy cuddles, the milestones, and a brief time when all they needed was me, their mother. My body has been a gift to my babies and I.
So I will keep reminding myself that my body is a good body and I will choose to love it through this season.