The body of a woman is the vessel God trusted to bring a human being into this world. A huge part of the process of bringing a person into this world is that the woman’s body will go through changes. I believe that the change is neither good nor bad, it is merely part of the process. The invisible writing on the wall though is that women need to get back to how they looked before having babies as quickly as possible. Between society’s general understanding of what the perfect “#MomBod” looks like and the “Get your body back in 6 weeks or your cash back” the expectation on moms to “Get back in shape” is huge.
What is not put out there as much though is that when you have a baby your body changes. It may or may not get back to what it was before. You have not failed if you find yourself struggling to look like you did before, you housed a human in your tummy! That’s the first thing, not to mention all the extreme hormonal, emotional activities that accompany the 9 months and more.
I believe in embracing all the phases that our bodies go through in bringing babies into this world. We may set body goals that we want to achieve and work hard at them like we do anything else that we want in life, like our career goals or being good parents e.t.c but our “#MomBod” as it is, is not something to be wished away or regretted as we journey to the Goal body or weight. I believe a “#MomBod” comes in all shapes and sizes and it is a beautiful part of the beauty of motherhood. Our scars, stretch marks, stretched body and bloated bellies should tell us a beautiful story of life and not be a source of pain and condemnation from ourselves or society. Body acceptance is of utmost importance. It’s part of caring for yourself as a mom. Having a positive self-image affects so many aspects of your mom life, from being able to take charge in chaotic situations to teaching your children to love their own bodies. Your whole family stands to benefit from your body confidence, when mom is happy, baby is happy. Body acceptance is understanding that your beauty and greatness as a mom is there whether you have reached your post baby goal weight or not.
I remember being pregnant for the first time and picturing myself walking out of hospital in my skinny jeans, slim fit t-shirt and fashionable trainers with my gorgeous baby in my arms. Well, I walked out in slippers cause my feet were still swollen, the dress I was wearing at 6 months and pregnancy leggings to keep my C-section wound warm and a baby that had a slightly high level of yellow jaundice(which she was later hospitalized for)!!! What a turn of events right?! Right!
Fast forward 18 months later, I am lying awake in a hospital bed, again, needles had been struck on my back, 5 times, I had been cut and stitched back and I could feel it .I am sort of naked, bare, in a room full of strangers, well they were medical practitioners but still if I could I would choose not be in that position, I felt so exposed, but I told myself to be strong, it would be over in no time and anyway the primary concern is my baby. Just when I thought that was the worst of it all, I lay awake the whole night in pain, half my body was numb, had a catheter in me, a bag was hanging on the rail next my bed containing the pain medication that would keep me sane. But that all did not matter much cause my bundle of joy, my boy, was laying peacefully in the plastic bassinet next to my bed. This was certainly not the fabulousness I had pictured in my young mind when I thought of having kids. But nothing about motherhood is as imagined. It is so much more, it is so life giving to you as a mom. It is life’s beautiful paradox, you give life yet you get life!
When my body finally became functional again and the memory of the experience of having a C-section was fading I became so much more aware of what a human wonder my body is.
Although there are the lucky ones who have a baby and quickly look as though nothing ever happened, most of us experience changes that never fully reverse. What happens to a woman during pregnancy is a literal miracle and in more reflective moments, we can acknowledge that the result of all those changes is very much worth the scars and “damage” left afterward.
While it’s OK to sometimes wish to have a flat stomach again, we should never lose sight of what those body changes mean, they are nothing to ever be ashamed of. We should always remember that losing weight, does not cure a negative body image.
Till next time…
Mommying in the city!