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Hello, motherhood. Goodbye, skinny jeans

I could lose all the weight in the world, but my shape is different. I am now, and forever, a mother.

Hello, motherhood. Goodbye, skinny jeans

After having my daughter, it hurt to realize that the only clothes that fit me were my maternity clothes.


For months, I had loved wearing cute maternity dresses and tops showing off my bump. But once my little girl was born, all I wanted to do now was hide the postpartum belly that no longer carried my baby.

I wanted to avoid at all costs the dreaded question, “How far along are you?”

Now, I consider myself health conscious. I try to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. I even joined a group of moms who take their babies and strollers to the park to exercise each week. But since our daughter was born nearly a year ago, my body—well, it’s not the same.

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And that’s been a hard thing to accept.

So I took my recently born daughter to the mall one Monday morning and got myself a pair of non-maternity jeans that actually fit me. It felt like a motherhood victory—but it was one that I tortured myself over.

The truth is that in my closet I had a pair of skinny jeans, my favorite pair of skinny jeans, that I hadn’t been able to wear since I found out I became pregnant, at first because of that first trimester bloating. And after that, the baby belly. And then my postpartum belly.

Those skinny jeans were the pair I would wear when I would go out with my girls. The pair I would wear for a date night with my husband. The ones that made me feel sexy, and truly reminded me of my pre-pregnancy, pre-baby life.

For months during my pregnancy and in the early postpartum, I would look at those jeans and feel nostalgic. I wanted them back in my life.

I made it my goal: I would fit back into those jeans by my daughter’s first birthday. Every day I’d try on the jeans and see if I could somehow zip them up.

But months passed and the jeans would still not even go over my thighs. It was incredibly frustrating.

I was trying so hard to exercise and eat right, and my weight was going down. But the jeans still wouldn’t fit. It hurt to not feel like my old self, despite my efforts to lose the weight. I was obsessing about it a little too much and realized that it was time to let them go.

So I finally decided it was time to hide those pre-pregnancy skinny jeans.

I still continued to exercise and eat well; without the pressure of those jeans I continued to lose the baby weight.

When my daughter was 10 months, as I was putting laundry away I found the jeans. I knew I had lost a good amount of weight and I was tempted to try them on, and so I did. And to my own surprise, with some struggle I zipped them up.

I couldn’t believe it! I was wearing my skinny jeans again. 

Mama’s still got it, I thought.

The next day my husband took us out to lunch. I was proudly wearing my skinny jeans and nothing could get to me that day.

When we arrived at the restaurant my daughter started getting fussy so I bent over to get her pacifier under her stroller when I heard a ripping noise.

Yes. True story.

My jeans had ripped. I didn’t know what to do. I was embarrassed, angry and most of all I suddenly deeply hated those jeans.

Thankfully, nobody was around to notice, so I told my husband and I quickly got back in the car.

But as my pants burst apart, a new revelation and acceptance crept in: My body had changed. I could see it on the stretch marks on my sides, I could feel it on my hips, I could see it on my C-section scar.

My body had housed and formed a beautiful being who I can now hold and love. My baby has changed me in more ways than could be physically seen.

I could lose all the weight in the world, but my shape is different.

I am now, and forever, a mother.

Those skinny jeans were just taunting me of a life I had to let go, to embrace this fabulous, meaningful + chaotic life I now have.

Having a child does represent an end to a life I used to know, but it also means a new beautiful life full of joy and love I had never experienced before.

Those jeans taught me to embrace my new life, my new baby and my new body. I am changing, and that’s okay. There are plenty of other jeans that actually fit me and that I will love and feel great in. Why torture myself with feelings of regret? I’m different—because I am a mama.

I embrace you, motherhood, for all that you are.

Juli is a first time mom to her daughter Mia. She is also a wife, writer, photographer and videographer from Miami. You can follow her on her blog.

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This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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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

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

Life

Mothers wanted the president to condemn white supremacy—he didn't

What you need to know about the first presidential debate and the 'Proud Boys'.

Screenshot/CNN

[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

For many American families, the impacts of systemic racism are a daily reality. This summer saw mothers and children go out and join Black Lives Matter protests in an effort to make the United States a safer place for Black children.

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Individuals across the country stood up and condemned white supremacy in 2020 and wanted the sitting President of the United States to do that Tuesday night, during the first presidential debate.

But he didn't.

When Chris Wallace of Fox News, the debate moderator, asked President Trump to condemn white supremacy, to ask militia groups to stand down and not escalate violence in cities like Kenosha and Portland, the president stated he was willing to...but when Wallace said "Then do it, sir," the president's answer was far from a clear condemnation.

First, Trump asked for a specific group to condemn, rather than simply condemning white supremacy as a whole. When the others on stage offered "white supremacy" and "Proud Boys" as the name to condemn, the President picked Proud Boys. But a condemnation didn't come.

"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by," Trump said. "But I'll tell you what, somebody's gotta do something about Antifa and the left. This is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem."

This followed a previous exchange in which Wallace asked President Trump why he ended a racial sensitivity training program. Trump responded that the training was racist and was teaching people to "hate our country."

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