Love Your Body

Let me just start by saying, the female body is one incredible machine. I didn’t understand how amazing my body was until I carried a child. There are some days I want to rip this body apart with what I think is wrong with it but I’ve put my foot down. I have no reason to look at myself and be upset with what I see because I know what it has done.

Let me take a few steps back. I was an early bloomer. I wore a size 8 shoe when I was in the 3rd grade. I reached my full height by the time I was 12 and I was taller than half of the boys in my grade. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb because on top of that I was also heavier. A middle schoolers nightmare! I didn’t have boyfriends or boys that were interested in me until high school and even high school was rough. I decided to lose 10 pounds over Christmas break one year so everyone would stop looking at me as the chubby girl and when I came back to school instead of, “Wow you look amazing!” I was greeted with, “Do you have an eating disorder?” Seriously, I couldn’t win. So my body image has always been skewed.

I’ve yo-yoed in the past and even into adulthood, as recently as 2 years ago. Before I got pregnant I was actually trying to lost about 20 pounds, I was the heaviest weight I had ever been and next thing you know, I’m pregnant. I was terrified. I instantly thought OMG, I’m not going to be a cute pregnant girl, I’m going to be a fat pregnant girl. Terrible, terrible! I wish I could go back in time. But I was about to learn a lot about me and my body.

I was anxious to have a bump, but also terrified because that meant I was growing in size. Once I started to show with Kennedy, I was SO excited. For the first time, I was okay with my body growing and gaining weight. I knew there was a reason for it. I was elated!

Once it got closer to my due date, all anybody could ask was, “Do you plan to breastfeed?” (which BTW…can we add this to the list of questions you don’t ask a pregnant woman?) I always responded with, “That’s the plan!” of course I was then greeted with the, “Good! It’s great for the baby, plus it’ll help you drop your baby weight. ” My next thought was great, a way to get rid of the weight I gained, I’ll be golden! Until I wasn’t.

If you’ve been following along on my blog here, you’ll know that breastfeeding didn’t work out for us. Throw that out the window and my next thought was, how on earth am I going to lose this weight? I started walking in hopes to drop the weight and I felt like I had to lose the weight fast, that’s just what you’re supposed to do…according to social media and other news outlets. I made the mistake of looking at these models or fitness gals that had babies and how quick they snapped back after having their babies and thought wow, I have no wiggle room, society expects us to go back to our prebaby bodies and fast. Again, I wish I could go back in time.

I was borderline depressed when I wasn’t losing any weight. I’d never been this heavy before. I didn’t feel like myself in my own body. My clothes didn’t fit and pregnancy clothes looked silly and I didn’t want to wear them. I cried. I cried a lot. I said I hated my body and I hated who I was in it.

I had to decide to do something about it though. I knew I had to get healthier physically but I was seriously concerned about my mental views on my body. I avoided mirrors. I didn’t try to get myself together if we went anywhere. I just didn’t care. I honestly don’t think I started to care until Kennedy got a little bit older and she was more aware of who Mom and Dad were and that she could count on us.

Knowing she counted on me is what made my brain transform on accepting and loving my postpartum body. This little girl loves me because she can count on me, she knows my scent, we have our way of cuddling where I know where to hold her just right and she knows where she can nestle her head and she can only do that with me, in my arms, on my chest, on my body. She grabs my face, my nose, my cheeks, anything, and she loves doing that. Knowing that she loves me and every single little bit of me has helped me accept where I’m at with my postpartum body and she doesn’t even know it yet.

I also have to give kudos to my husband, he was the first to remind me all my body has gone through to have Kennedy. He’s proud of me and what my body has done and has told me I should be proud of me too. So now, I am.

Just as everyone loves to remind us women how different every single baby is, we have to remember that every single woman is different. How you bounce back from having a child is going to be different than the women around you. No two bodies are the same. Comparing yourself to those around you will get you nowhere but down in the dumps. I admire the women that bounced back so well and quickly. I know those are the same women that worked out while they were pregnant and I wish that could of been me but my preeclampsia didn’t allow it. Which I will also say, sometimes what you want to have happen while you’re pregnant and what actually happens are two different things…I didn’t think I would have physical limitations while pregnant but did! The physical sacrifices made were so incredibly worth it to have my happy and healthy baby girl.

Whether you’re thinking about having babies, currently pregnant, recently delivered, a year or several postpartum, don’t ever stop loving the body that you have that carried those babies. Every single day remember to love yourself for the amazing things that you physically have done. Those little babies of yours think the world of you and won’t even know what physical insecurities you may have because to them, you are perfect.

 

My Mamas

I’m sure everyone’s heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” #true.

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the chance to fully explain who my village is or, as I call them, My Mamas. Yes, I have people I can count on in real life, but I’ve had these ladies since the beginning.

Let me roll back a little bit. I was on a wedding website when Anthony and I were engaged because I had no clue what I was doing and I was the first one of my friends to get married. Flash forward to September 2015 when Anthony and I decided we wanted to have a baby. I logged back into this website because they had a section in their forum that was for TTC (Trying to Conceive), Babies, Parenting, etc. I figured, I can check this out since once again I’m doing something that I have no clue how to do or what to expect.

Well one of the boards was a due date month group. Once you tested positive, you’d join the month board that you were due and this was your group. I figured this would be really good for me since I didn’t have anybody in my life at the time I could talk to because 1. I hadn’t told a soul we were trying let alone pregnant 2. None of my closest girlfriends were pregnant or had a baby (there were a couple of girls I knew but I wasn’t ready to share with them at this time).

I joined the September 2016 mama group, I wasn’t sure how many of us there would end up being but our finally tally as of today was 37 women total. A Facebook group was created so we could all talk all lot more efficiently than on a website board back and forth.

I had NO idea how close I would get to these ladies! We’re literally, from all over the world. London, Sweden, Chile, Australia, Canada and the United States. We talk literally all day long. It was the most comforting thing as a first time mom and being pregnant that if I was panicking about something I could open my Facebook app and ask a question to my ladies and see what they recommended or thoughts on what was going on.

There were conversations on what car seats we were all buying, plans to breastfeed or not, thoughts on co-sleeping, suggestions for how to sleep better at night while pregnant, I could go on but we talked about everything, nothing has been off limits. Being pregnant was so exciting because I got to be pregnant with so many ladies at one time. We started weekly themed threads, which I will say postpartum have been amazing. Weekly bump pictures, ultrasound photos, etc.

Once our babies started to arrive it was even more amazing. We shared updates from the hospital rooms. #babywatch was like the best thing ever when you’d wake up to pee in the middle of the night and someone announced “MY WATER BROKE” and it followed with a bunch of responses that ranged from: WOOHOO, OMG, *eye emojis* SO MANY EYE EMOJIS. When Kennedy was born I was like, I need to post a picture to my mamas now! I don’t think anybody understood what I meant.

Flash to postpartum, when our babies were here. When we were up for hours upon hours at a time. Babies didn’t want to sleep at night time, babies feeding around the clock, not sleeping, not sure if you’re breastfeeding your baby properly, worried if you’re doing this right…they were right there. It didn’t matter what time it was, someone was more than likely awake, and they were your comfort when you needed it.

These ladies, my mamas, have filled a hole that I have had because I didn’t have any pregnant girlfriends in real life. I didn’t have any close friends that had just had babies or that I felt like I could pour my life story out to without them thinking I’m insane. They know EVERYTHING about me, and yet here we are…it’s May 2017, our oldest babies are going to be 10 months old this month, sweet Blake & Vanessa and our youngest baby just turned 7 months, Roscoe.

I’ve laughed so hard with these ladies when we shared funny photos and stories about things that happened in our lives. My heart has broken with these ladies and I’ve cried for them even though we’re thousands of miles away. I LOVE these ladies and these babies so much, but I love their friendship and what they’ve helped me become by just being there so much more.

I don’t know what I did, or how I got so lucky to fall into this group. They are the most loving, caring, hilarious, and beautiful ladies I’ve ever known.

I’m feeling far more emotional about this today and now because I got to meet one of them today in person and introduce our little ones to each other and it felt so normal. I wasn’t nervous to meet Stephanie because I knew she already knew who I was. Dylan and Kennedy are all set to go to prom in 17 years too.

I can’t explain how many times I thank God for these women. I don’t know where I would be without them. I feel like I’m better equipped to handle motherhood and on days where I feel like I’ve just sucked, they always build me back up.

My mamas, I love you all SO much, I can’t even explain it. You have made me a better woman and helped prepare me and continue to teach me how to be a better mom. I hope you know how much you are appreciated by me! It only seems right with Mother’s Day coming up that I express my gratitude to you all for being my rock and safe place to vent. Thank you for being the greatest ladies I could of ever imagined to do this mom life with. ❤