Menu

An ode to my body—you've grown, carried, and birthed a baby

Thank you for the gift of health. Thank you for the gift of life. Thank you for the gift of movement.

An ode to my body—you've grown, carried, and birthed a baby

We've had some struggles, you and me. In my teens, we were just getting to know each other. It was a rocky road at times, like when people referred to you as "big boned." I was learning how to properly fuel you by giving you the right foods. How to be active, to keep you strong and in good shape. I wish I knew then what I do now about you and what a true blessing you are. But that's something that has come with the gift of motherhood.

In my 20's, we became more well-acquainted. I knew how to care for you. After I got engaged, we worked so hard together to get into "wedding shape." And, looking back now, I totally took that six pack—okay, four pack—for granted. (But I have the pictures to prove it.)

Now that I'm in my 30's (how did my 30's happen so fast, btw?) with two kids, I'm coming to terms with my new postpartum body.


It doesn't look or feel the way it used to to me. It may not look as good in a bikini. It now has a giant scar which allowed my second son to come into this world safely. It has more wrinkles, marking years of laughter and sadness.

But when I look back, it has given me so much.

What I want to do is thank my postpartum body. Thank you for the gift of health. Thank you for the gift of life. Thank you for the gift of movement.

Thank you for giving me a home to grow two children. 🤰🏽

You allowed me to conceive, nurture, and birth two little humans. Being pregnant with them has been my greatest blessing. Feeling their kicks and movement for nine months helped me feel connected with them until we were able to meet face-to-face. We hung in there together, as both births came with challenges. But together, we came out on top—victorious and so in love.

Thank you for giving me these loving arms.

Arms that hug my toddler tight as he leaves the house in the morning, growing bigger and more adult-like every day. Arms that cradle my newborn as I nurse him to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. Arms that embrace my husband as he walks in the door after a long day. Arms that are strong enough to carry 10 bags of groceries in at a time, to hold my toddler when he doesn't want to walk, to rock and bounce and cradle my baby when he can't fall asleep. I have mama strength now.

Thank you for giving me lips and my voice.

Lips that kiss away boo-boos. A voice to read bedtime stories. Words to tell my family and friends how much I love them. A voice to speak up when I am desperate for help. A voice that helps me put into words how much this life means to me.

Thank you for giving me these green eyes.

Eyes that allow me to see the beauty around me. Eyes that shed tears of joy and sorrow on the good days and the hard days. Eyes that are forever seared with the moment my husband came to pick me up for our first date and the first time I saw the faces of my little boys. Eyes that have allowed me to watch my beautiful newborn smile for the first time. That light up every time my boys walk into a room. Eyes that let me take in all of these little moments, every single day.

Thank you for my magical powers. ✨

You allow me to be the main food source for my 3-month-old. You never cease to amaze me as you produce the most nutrient-rich food for my son. Although at times I may feel like a 24-hour milk-only diner (and am running on very little sleep), it is a privilege to be able to feed my son.So, to my body, thank you, for being my partner in crime.

You may have scars. You may have wrinkles. You may have more aches and pains than you did when I was a teenager. You may not look the way you did when I was in my 20's. You may not be as skinny as you once were. Or as flexible either. But—you're a rockstar, and I love you for it.


You might also like:

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

Keep reading Show less
Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less
Life