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.

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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