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.