A friend (@TheRealMomTalk on Twitter) shared a link to these beautiful post-pregnancy photos on Facebook other day. Great timing for me, as I have been struggling with all the changes in my body now that baby is 3 months old.
I bounced back pretty quickly after my first baby, whom I delivered shortly before turning 30. This little guy, however, arrived in our lives towards the end of my 35th year of life. My body is older, less elastic, and I'm just plain old tired.
I did not expect a c-section and the lovely scar that comes with it. I did not plan on stretch marks, since I had no visible "souvenirs" from pregnancy number one. I took for granted how quickly I became skinny after Amelia. I was so stressed out about caring for a real live human being for the first time ever, that I pretty much forgot to eat. (Not a healthy suggestion, by the way). And two weeks ago, thanks to bad timing, I had two skin excisions on my abdomen - rogue cells that could become pre-cancer if I didn't take action. So two more (albeit smaller) scars added themselves to the collection of "I don't like this" on my body.
I have genetics on my side, and am naturally a medium or small-ish sized adult. In some people's eyes, I don't have a lot to complain about. But I know what is different underneath my shirt. I know that I weigh 12 pounds more. I see the added pooch, the looseness that didn't exist before (which equals tightness in any of my old clothes), along with lumps and bumps and new scars too.
I have days where I look at the marks in disgust. I seek out loose and baggy shirts when I can, to try to blend in and hide. I feel guilt as I munch on freshly-baked cookies that I made out of boredom - but just can't stop eating. I battle with the internal voices that tell me I should diet and run and worry about my body. But then I want cake. And cake is yummy.
I am a work-in-progress. Always have been, and probably always will be. But more than working on weight or other aesthetics, I need to work on my own feelings about ME. It's not ugly to look like a mom. That's who I am, and despite perhaps being skinnier and less marked, without my kiddos I would really be nothing. They made me who I am, and that's beautiful. Just like the lovely ladies in these photos.