Nothing could really prepare me for seeing my naked body for the first time after delivering my beautiful baby.
It has been about six months since I've given birth to my third baby. I have weighed myself twice in these postpartum months. Both times I looked down at the scale and was not happy with the number staring back at me. So I vowed not to weigh myself again for a long, long, long while.
I got pregnant with my third baby about a year after having my second baby. It was a bit of a surprise, and I wasn't quite ready to share my body again with another human. I had been on a health and fitness kick and I was in the best shape I had been in in a very long time. I felt like I was finally feeling confident about my body after having had two babies, and then boom(!), I was pregnant again.
My hesitant feelings turned to excitement and joy rather quickly, and I made peace with the fact that my body would be growing and stretching and changing once again. And most likely, for the last time. I tried to revel in all the amazing experiences pregnancy had to offer—feeling the baby kick, watching my big girl's eyes full of wonder as they saw their baby sister on the ultrasound screen, picking out her name—and not worry so much about my weight.
I didn't experience gestational diabetes this time like I had my previous pregnancy, and I didn't quite reach the number on the scale that I had reached before—so I felt okay about how things were going.
But still—even though I had done this twice before—nothing could really prepare me for seeing my naked body for the first time after delivering my beautiful baby. I looked at myself in the mirror, still looking about six months pregnant, and I cried.
Where did I go?
How can I get back to me?
I gave myself a bit of a pep talk.
You just gave birth to a baby! A healthy, gorgeous baby.
You have carried three children in your womb! For 40+ weeks each time! They literally lived inside of you!
You are beautiful. You are so strong!
Be gentle with yourself! You're healing physically and emotionally.
These types of mantras worked for a while. I was so in love with my newborn, I didn't pay too much attention to my body for those first couple of months.
But then, then I signed up for a fancy, expensive gym that I couldn't really afford but told myself it didn't really matter because I thought it would snap me back into shape in a jiffy. I tried (and failed) Whole30 because I thought that would cure my (very strong) desire for sweets and treats as quickly as I could pin recipes on Pinterest.
It turns out that signing up for a gym without childcare isn't the most practical option for a mom of three.
It turns out that working over 30 hours a week plus caring for three children means you might not have a ton of energy to go to a 7pm class when your husband gets home from his long work commute.
It turns out that committing to Whole30 while committing to everything else going on in my overwhelmingly busy life was not really setting myself up for success. There is a ton of thinking and prep involved with a successful Whole30, and this was just not the time for me to be able to follow through. (I did make it to day 19, so not a complete disaster...)
It turns out, that there is a season for everything. Right now, I am making peace with the fact that I am not at my fittest.
I am making peace with the fact that I spent money on new jeans that fit me comfortably now instead of waiting for the other ones to fit.
I am making peace with the fact that I have a soft stomach and that's what it's going to look and feel like for now.
I am making peace with the fact that my daughters like to squish said soft stomach. I don't want them to know this area of my body is one that I'm not always happy with.
I am making peace with the fact that spring and summer are coming which means my sweatshirts and fleece pullovers won't be as realistic anymore.
I am making peace with the fact that I will want to put on a bathing suit so I can play with my daughters at the beach and in the pool.
I am making peace with the new stretch marks I've accumulated over the years.
I am making peace with the fact that my postpartum body is perfectly imperfect.
I am making peace with the fact that this is me, right now. I am always going to strive to be healthy and I want to work on my strength again—but this is what I've got going on right now. And if I'm not going to embrace it, why should anyone else?
My body has done some impressive stuff—so you know what? I am going to give it a break right now. I have definitely made peace with that.