About three months after having my first baby I was all consumed with getting my “before-baby” body back.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

I was all consumed with diapering and nursing and worrying and not sleeping. But in the back of my head, the thought got stuck in there like a piece of chewed gum on a carpet.

I was on the elliptical up until the week before I gave birth, dreaming of getting my post baby body back.

Will people think I look pregnant forever? What do I have to do to get there? When will it fall back into place?

I beat myself up over it constantly but was too exhausted to do anything about it.

Nursing, working, and taking care of a baby drained any thoughts of exercise out of me. After a year went by I put the hard core press on getting back to “normal.” Within that year a local photographer asked if I would pose for her to help build a boudoir portfolio she was working on for Valentines Day. Although I was hesitant, I was proud she would even think to ask. (I begged her to bring wine, she said yes. I begged her to keep my belly off limits, she obliged.)

Right after my second baby, the desire for my pre-baby body came back. I would look at the photos she took and remind myself that I needed to get back at it. After 1 year this time around though, something different happened. The stuck thought in my head dislodged.

I no longer think about “getting back” to where I was. I think about moving forward. I remind myself I’ve got one body, I’m a Mother, and it needs to last a long time.

I remind myself that I’m two pregnancies down and two nursed babies in. I remind myself of the incredible events my body went through. And sure, from time to time I mourn a pair of jeans that no longer fit, or the much smaller bra size they recommend, or the notch that needs to be added to keep wearing a favorite belt. But at the end of the day I really don’t mind my rounder, softer self.

I really don’t mind the battle scars. I’ve got a different focus. I’ve got a different reason to be proud. I’ve got two happy and healthy kids.

Photo credit: Photography by KLC