I tried hard to worship my baby bump body, and for the most part I did.
For a girl who has struggled for years with poor body image, I applaud myself for embracing pregnancy and learning to love my new bod.
But it didn’t happen over night…
Given the history of my love hate (mostly hate) relationship with my body, I prepared for the worst. I wrote myself a little reminder message and pinned it front and center on the bathroom mirror where I had spent most of my body hating moments. I knew that if those negative thoughts creeped in, most likely it would be there. I simply wrote, “I see a BEAUTIFUL, strong body that is making a baby!” And read it, really read it out loud to myself every day.
It talked me off the ledge a number of times, and of course some days it didn’t. But alas I must go on! In addition to my little love note, I also treated myself to some nice maternity clothes. My mom got me some expensive maternity jeans that I would never even spend that much on regular jeans, and I splurged on some cute dresses. I knew that my body was going to be doing a lot of changing, therefore I was going to be doing a lot of embracing. So a flowy floral print dress or two would obviously cushion the blow.
I recall feeling fairly confident in my appearance all the way up until the end of my third trimester. It was then that I started wondering if I would end up with stretch marks, and where the heck my butt went? I vividly remember having a conversation with a girlfriend about how she avoided mirrors when she was pregnant. I understood from a woman’s perspective, but from an expected mother’s, I was sad for her. I didn’t avoid mirrors. One, I wanted to see that sweet sweet baby boy belly of mine grow, and two, I was hopeful that one day I would just see my reflection and be cool with what I saw. After all, I was healthy and happy; why not love the skin I’m in?
It wasn’t until my son was born that I started feeling different about my bump. I became obsessed with wearing a belly band and every time I was naked I would take a peek in the mirror to see if my belly had “bounced back.” News flash! It didn’t…I was crazy to think in just a few short weeks my belly would have just miraculously dissipated.
You see the words “bounce back” was like an annoying ring in my ears. During my pregnancy and even before, I was very aware of this phrase. As if us woman were supposed to perform the most amazing biological phenomenon to ever happen on planet earth and then just “bounce back!?”
“Bounce back” to what?
The pre-stretched, somewhat balanced, non-hormonal self that did not just MAKE A HUMAN BEING?! I mean come on, read that again….really do it! HUMAN BEING! We make humans and you are more concerned with how my body is going to look after the human comes out of me? Okay, okay so it’s not society’s fault the ideology is to think this way. It’s what we’ve been taught century after century by the consumer industry that thrives on making us feel insecure.
But don’t get me started; we’ll save that for another post. For now let’s just try to flip the bird to the media giants by loving women for their strengths, their accomplishments, the way they love you, the sound of their laugh…just love them for ANY other reason than their body… Actually, on second thought, love them MORE for their body! For it is a magnificent vessel that helps in creating, birthing and nurturing HUMANS!
The women of the future need this. They deserve a world where they can sit in a classroom and just simply learn and not be worried about how they might look to the person sitting next to them. I spent most of my classroom days doing just that, and I’ll tell you first hand – I missed out on a lot. But I am one of the lucky ones because I went to college and found myself. Not because I went to college, that was just the time and place for me I suppose. But even with that I still strive every day to remind myself that I am beautiful, despite what the world around me wants me to believe.
I urge you to talk to your kids about their strengths, highlight those unique things about them that make them so special, that have NOTHING to do with appearance. It’s hard, I know, because they are so darn cute, but I believe they will be much better off as confident, well-rounded adults one day thanks to you.
And as for that “bouncing back,” do whatever makes YOU happy. Don’t worry about getting back to the body you had before. You ARE a mama now and you should be SO PROUD of what your body just accomplished. The way it looks shouldn’t matter, as long as you are healthy and happy.
BUT, I know it does. I am not trying to tell you not to feel that way, I would never tell you how to feel. I
am just here to remind you to LOVE yourself and bond with your baby, because your baby doesn’t care what your body looks like. Take a breath, write yourself a little love note and try your HARDEST to be happy with the new amazing mama YOU!
Peace, BODY LOVE & Happiness,