As I got undressed to take a shower, I looked in the mirror at my 4-day postpartum body and my first thought was yuck! I didn’t like the still swollen stomach, and the changes in my body. It was in that train of thought that I asked myself why did I think this body was ugly? Why was it foreign looking to me? I had just pushed a child out 4 days prior after a 34 hour labor. Why wouldn’t my body still bear some resemblance of the trauma it had been put through? Why would I expect my body to snap back to looking exactly the same when it took a 9 month process to go through all of the stages of change? I had to ask myself what was I allowing to shape my opinion of how my body looked? Was I comparing myself to these celebrities who show no signs of having just had a baby? Did I have an unrealistic expectation? My resounding answer was yes!
While my husband reassured me that I was still beautiful, and each stretch mark was a reminder that I gave him 3 children, in my head my body still was not beautiful to me. When I realized just how unrealistic I was being, I decided to embrace my postpartum body. After all, my body had gone through a battle to bring forth a new life. A little person that would amaze me as he goes through each day, just as his sister and brother have.
I looked in the mirror and embraced every part of me. I embraced my face, the sleep deprived eyes and messy hair. I took care of my babies, pouring everything out of me into them. I embraced my breasts that now sat heavy and full of milk to nourish my new baby, just as I had with my other two. How could I expect them to still look the same? I embraced my still swollen looking stomach that had housed and protected 3 babies until their births. This belly that had kept them close and listening to my heartbeat for 9, actually 10 months. I embraced my hips and thighs that were now swollen and had some extra dimples that weren’t there before, but they’d held up the ever growing weight as I carried these babies. I embraced my swollen legs and feet still showing very clear signs of Edema. I embraced the stretch marks on my stomach, hips, and thighs as reminders of having been blessed to carry 3 children, and not taking it for granted, as some never get the opportunity.
As I embraced every inch and curve of my body, I was reminded that these changes would be continual and ever-changing. If it wasn’t from having a baby, it will be from getting older. I am what a real woman looks like. I am what a mom looks like. I am what a sexy mom looks like. I take care of my body, and I embrace the changes that will continually come. So while the title may be a bit misleading, it was in that brief moment, I hated my postpartum body. Yet in those following moments, I learned to love and embrace it.
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