Dear pre-baby body,
I don’t remember what you feel like.
It’s been too long since you’ve been around to wear my “skinny” jeans.
It’s summer and I miss throwing on a bikini on without a second thought. Instead, I’m searching for tankinis with underwire support and maximum coverage.
Sometimes I feel like you never existed. Did I dream you?
I wonder if you’d recognize me with my new post-baby-making (and currently-baby-growing) #mombod.
We’ve been through a lot. I’m talking stretch marks, extra padding, and post-nursing-now-pregnant-and-confused-boobs. This body is new; it’s one I’ve only had for two years, so it’s hard to even recognize myself sometimes.
Three years ago, this body was all “let me flash my toned arms and shoulders as much as possible” at my wedding. And yesterday, because I felt like testing my emotional stability, I put on my wedding gown and cried while I tried to zip it. Then I took it off and went to the gym and ate ice cream. I thought about how as much as I was proud of my in-shape wedding body, I still remember the small sad feeling of wishing I could have fit in just one more barre class, to lose just three more pounds. I wanted to be perfectly perfect.
Why didn’t you tell me that I was enough? I was happy with myself, but I now realize I wasn’t as happy as I should have been. To start, I didn’t appreciate what great shape I was already in, and how much time I could spend working out. I never noticed how easy it was to pick out an outfit because my clothes fit fine off-the-rack. Back then, I was searching for a “perfect” that didn’t exist, doesn’t exist and will never exist. I was enough. But, I think my body had to go through pregnancy and life postpartum to truly understand and accept that; to realize that I am enough whether I’m pregnant, not pregnant, carrying extra baby weight, or at my goal weight.
My pregnancies and postpartum life have been enlightening.
I’ve gained respect and admiration for what my body can do. A little human is living inside of me right now—that has to be worth a few (or 50) extra pounds, right?
My first child has helped me accept my body. I don’t see her worrying about her pants feeling a bit tight (she’s a big jeggings fan, so she’s down with that).
Plus, the experience of social media motherhood (through places like the #TakePostpartumBack Instagram movement) has given me the gift of inspiration from other women; we’re all just trying to find a place where we’re comfortable with and proud of our bodies.
And the time I have to work out now that I’m a mother is sacred. It recharges me and keeps me sane.
In the end, I’ve learned a great deal of patience—patience with losing baby weight, with my ever-changing body throughout my childbearing years, and with my daily clothing frustrations.
I think I’m finally coming to terms with saying goodbye to you, my pre-baby body. Sure you looked great and felt great, but you hadn’t yet experienced the crazy-wonderful event that is childbirth. And you hadn’t yet given me the greatest gifts of my life: my children. This post-baby body has taught me many lessons. Instead of striving for “perfectly perfect,” I am okay with perfectly imperfect. This is a body that will always be a work in progress.
I will continue to strive for health, strength and a positive body image. I want my daughter and baby-on-the-way to live in a world where they are proud of their minds and bodies. Where they aren’t constantly judging themselves against their peers. And where they can confidently look to their mother for guidance and support on their journeys to bodily acceptance, admiration, and respect.
Thank you for what you’ve given me, and what you’ve taught me. I miss you. But not as much as I originally thought I did.