Today’s post by Meredith is one of those where you’ll want to stand up and cheer after reading it. Whether you have your own post-partum body niggles, or a different set of worries about your appearance, I think you’ll relate to what Meredith is saying – we need to recognise the huge achievements of our bodies and celebrate them, every day.
Like many women, I’m often insecure about my looks. Post-pregnancy, that is even moreso the case as I adjust to a new shape that may or may not continue to shift and change. I’m still hoping it will! Looking in the mirror, I feel like a mess. I feel like I’m missing the mark. And you know what? There’s really something wrong with that. I’ve made a human. That takes it’s toll. I’m tired of hearing from various media sources about how I canprevent stretch marks (or correct them, in my case). I’m tired of being bombarded with postpartum fitness articles, telling me I’d better use any ‘down time’ (ha!) I can to exercise and to start before I get too ‘comfortable’. I mean can I just enjoy my baby for a second? Can I just use any ‘down time’ I actually get to take a nap or take a shower or do some laundry? My daughter doesn’t seem to mind my ‘comfortable’ body…though, to be fair, she pretty much just looks at my face and my blouses at the moment. BUT, she does fall asleep quite easily against me in all my cushiness.
During pregnancy, my husband and I got into a habit. As my tummy got increasingly babified it got itchy! So every night he would rub cocoa butter on it. It helped the itchiness and felt good. It was also supposed to help with stretch marks. Well, I still got stretch marks, even though I gained exactly the right amount of weight and applied this lotion every night. Apparently it’s mostly down to genetics. I must have a lot of genetics! Haha! Anyway…It sounds weird, but our ’tummy time’ became a special habit all about the three of us. Me and him and bump. After our daughter arrived, we stopped. Then a few weeks ago, we decided that we missed that time. We reinstated it, this time with Bio Oil, because, as you will soon see, she stretched me to the limits! I’m glad it’s back. Although, since there’s no baby inside anymore, I find myself especially conscious of my bump/pooch/roll/whateveryoucallit. I mean I’m now 15 weeks postpartum. Shouldn’t that be gone? Kate Middleton’s was. Victoria Beckham’s was. XYZ’s was. Why isn’t mine? Then this conversation happened one night, during our ’tummy time’:
Wife (guiltily): I’m sorry I still have a bump.
Husband (sweetly): I like your bump.
Wife (incredulously): Why?!
Husband (sincerely): It’s part of you. And it made her.
Wife (tearily): But it’s different than before.
Husband (matter-of-factly): Yes. A new curve. And one I like.
Perspective is everything.
I took this photo when I was three months pregnant, in order to share the news with family and friends.
Our daughter actually arrived April 15 via emergency cesarean. We had a hell of a first month, but that’s another (longer) story for another day. A story that, honestly, I don’t think I’m quite ready to ponder over and share. But suffice it to say that we are all doing well now.
I took this photo three months postpartum, in order to remind myself of what my body has been through, what my body has accomplished and what beauty can (and often does) look like. It’s now become a favorite.
Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves as women? Mothers or not, we ALL do it. I think it’s about time that we stopped! It’s one thing to lead a healthy lifestyle. It’s entirely another to constantly pick apart every flaw, line, bump, curve, or mark. I will choose to see this stretched and puffy body as a blessing. To see every mark for the kick that it was, this ‘pooch’ as an empty nest! It served a purpose. A wonderful purpose. It housed her. It was her first home. She built it, bit by bit. It’s her first work of art. Should it not then be celebrated?
My current, and likely abiding, challenge is to see myself the way my partner and child see me. I hope that you can do that as well! For we are ALL beautiful. And I think when we all start to realize that, the world will indeed be a better place.