Thursday, June 6, 2013

Embracing your post partum body

I would like to thank my friend Felicia for inspiring me to write this post. This is a reminder and an open ended letter to her, to myself and to all the other mom’s and mom’s to be out there. I want you to read this, to learn it, memorize it, tie it to a stick and beat yourself with it…

You, yes YOU are beautiful. In fact you are more than beautiful you are fucking fantastic. I know you may not see it and you may never see it but truth is you are.

Of course every woman should hear this but right now I’m speaking to all those out there with a post baby body I know you because I am you. Just when you started to accept that baby bump and your changing body then BAM that baby was born and here you are left with an empty shell of a body. No longer a container for a baby, your body is probably now a stranger to you. Depending on the type of labor and delivery you had you may not be able to work out for up to six weeks after the baby was born. I started at two because working out for me isn’t about vanity it’s about sanity. As much as I thought I would hate it, I grew to love my pregnant body and my curves. I loved wearing tight maternity tops to show off my growing baby. I had a place to rest my hands and my cereal bowl. People would stare at me with a mix of awe and wonderment and friends and strangers alike would touch my belly. When I worked out I know I was inspiring others to try their best because “hey, if the pregnant lady can do it, so can I!” My body was a temple housing a tiny person and giving it all the love and nourishment and nutrition it needed without me having to think. 

38 weeks
Then after 39 long weeks I had a wonderful natural drug free quick 8 hour labor and delivery with no tearing. My body had done its job and now I was ready to have it back to myself. However, the body I was left with post-partum wasn’t the same one I had going in to the journey.

three days post partum
I was not prepared for how different my body would be post baby. I know it has only been nine weeks and I must give it time but it’s hard. I feel as though, since I’m not carrying the baby on the inside anymore that I should look the same as I always had. There are no stretch marks but there is extra skin on my stomach which is not tight anymore. There are pants that refuse to fit over my thighs and buttons which will not close over my waist. Due to breast feeding my boobs are bigger so my tops don’t fit the same. I’m in the purgatory of clothing wearing land – not quite ready to fit into all my pre-baby clothing but too small to fit into maternity wear. My hair has started to fall out. Don’t even get me started on my bladder and how jumping and running are my new worst enemies.

Yet, like those that climb Everest I so admire, I refuse to give up. I drag my butt out of bed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for bootcamp outside at City Park. I’m fighting for my old body with every burpee, box jump, squat, crawl, sit up and push up. I’m fighting for something that I’m pretty certain will never look the same again no matter how hard I try. I am learning to accept that this is OK. I hear people tell me all the time how good I look and how fabulous my post-baby body is and I have a very hard time accepting their words. I look in the mirror and see something totally different than what they see. I feel my tighter pants and with them defeat and I know I’m not alone. So for myself, my friends and for everyone else out there I’m going to stop listening to myself and start listening to everyone else. And I hope you listen to me too when I say this,

You are beautiful. You are fantastic. You are amazing.

Your body just gave birth to a baby and that is an achievement. That, my friend, is what your body is made to do. It’s not made to have six pack abs or rippling biceps. Your body isn’t made to look good in a thong or have thighs of steel. Having your body look like a Victoria secret models is a little bit of genetics and a lot of work day in and day out. Your body’s ultimate purpose…how it was designed…is to give birth. Whether you had a c-section or vaginal delivery you have to thank your body for creating and sustaining life.

So be proud of the body you have. It won’t ever look the same and that’s something you and me and everyone else just has to get over. You may have stretch marks, hemorrhoids, a leaky bladder, bags under your eyes from lack of sleep, wider hips or bigger thighs now and that’s ok. It’s the new you. When you realize how many women hope, pray, beg and cry and pay thousands of dollars for the experience of carrying a baby then you will be grateful. There are women who would take your complaining over your post baby body any day just for the chance to have a child. So thank your body and love each and every little perfection. You may not look the same as you did before…I know I don’t, but I’m a mother now. So are you.

bikini body last year
bikini body this year
And to me that’s a new kind of beautiful. Embrace it.

Because everyone looking at you thinks you look damn fine.

Trust me. Really…you do.

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