Friday, May 2, 2014

The "I don't like this" of a post-baby body

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.

10 comments :

  1. Tough to read, but true for so many moms! I have a post-baby body!! After my second son I was a 5'2" weighing 194lbs. I've dropped all that extra weight and feel great. But, I have never struggled with body image as so many women have. I always thought I'm awesome. LOL But, I do FEEL much more awesome now that I can keep up with my boys. They are pre-teens now... Wow, the years fly by. Thanks for sharing such a personal post.

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  2. yep, I'm in the same boat, except I've had 2 years to get my weight off :) I've always been small, but the belly is getting ridiculous. I probably should make an effort now to lose weight, but I'm not stressing it.

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  3. Be proud of those scars that got your beautiful baby boy here! It is hard to look at them and wish they weren't here, but they are who you are now and it is what makes you a beautiful great mommy!! I have stretch marks from both pregnancies and other areas that will never be the same, but I just accept it and find new clothes that fit and flatter my new shape. It has taken me 2.5 years to find the motivation to quit the cookies/cake that are so yummy so don't beat yourself up for enjoying the baby months.

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  4. I bounced back quickly after A.J.'s birth thanks to breastfeeding. It's the sitting around at home and inactivity that did me in.
    Then I started a fitness segment where I was all hyped up.
    Then I stopped. Cut yourself some slack. When you're ready to workout, you will.

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  5. I love your statement "It's not ugly to look like a mom". So true! Your kids are adorable! You will bounce back, it just takes time. Try not to be too hard on yourself! Have a great weekend.

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  6. It is amazing what we put outselves through and how strong we woman are. Be proud of yourself and have some more cake!

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  7. Just remember that you are BEAUTIFUL! I am very lucky to have a husband that reminds me every day that my body (although also lumpy and overweight) is beautiful. I might not be model thin anymore but I gave him children. AND THAT is sexy :).. and I love cake too :)

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  8. I have seen those pictures too a few days ago. I think what shocked me was not the pictures, but the FB comments underneath. How hard can people be to each other? I had gained some weight just before getting pregnant and then suddenly all hell broke loose. I gained over 30 kilos. While I didn't worry too much about losing the weight afterwords (and not willing to commit to strict diets or whatsoever), I was afraid of all the stretch marks that popped up everywhere. My son is 15 months old now and three months after giving birth I lost without any effort 28 kilos of my pregnancy. I was prepared to work a little for the last two, but not immediately, and suddenly they came off all by themselves. And a few months ago the stomach bug liked me very much and made me lose 8 kilos, not in a nice way, but it seems permanent. Oh well. And the stretch marks... I got used to them, I got used to my new body and I am feeling quite comfortable. There is one thing I cannot live without anymore: pregnancy leggings/tights. They are so much softer, no ugly lines and I wear them with my dresses all the time. Elastic fabrics, A-lines, I choose clothes to be nice for my body, comfortable to wear. Not loose, comfortable. And I stopped wearing pants, as I can't find a model that suits me and is comfortable to wear. Dresses are the best. I hope you find the peace you need to accept and even love your body as is. Your kids believe you're the most beautiful woman on earth. And if they do, it's because you are, so why wouldn't you believe it yourself...

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  9. It's like you are in my head. Kid #1 I bounced right back. After #2 it's been a bit harder and I have a lot of skin reminders. I know I will get there and in the mean time, I'm enjoying my babies.

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  10. I love your attitude! Wear those stretch marks proudly :) I spent years obsessing over my tummy after having my two children. My first pregnancy left me with stretch marks over my tummy and breast and I was mortified! The damage was done.I was also very young so I spent years hiding myself underneath clothing. It wasn't until I hit my mid-thirties that I started to accept my stretchmarks and move on from the body shame I inflicted on myself. I'm just sorry I spent so many years worrying about it.

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