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Your Postpardum Body

I found the following post on The Other Side Of Mom on Facebook.  It was not written by me, but it is fantastic and I wanted to share.  Enjoy:

When I got pregnant for the first time I was 18, fresh out of cheerleading, doing Yoga daily and in the best shape of my life. Though I gained a mere 15 pounds during my pregnancy, my body stretched and pulled in ways it has never truly recovered from and I struggled a lot with the way it looked and felt after Samara was born.

It was partially my circumstances too, my ex husband regarded me with words of criticism despite walking out of the hospital in the same size 0 jeans I’d walked in wearing. I heard my mother complain my entire life about her body and the ways carrying four full term girls had changed it. In fact – I’d never heard a single positive thing about postpartum bodies that I could readily recall.

My self esteem dipped into the negatives, I was bitter in every sense. I had this beautiful daughter and now my body was fucked up. The trade off was a worthy one, but that didn’t make it suck any less.

A divorce followed, and so did regaining my sense of self. Around Christian it was easy to see my body as beautiful. He didn’t ignore the flaws, his fingertips ran along the length of the stretchmarks on my thighs, he dug my Cesarean scar, and kissed my stomach. He didn’t just accept the changes {and he knew my body before children}, he admitted that they’d made me even better. I wished I could feel the same way about it.

Four more children, five more pregnancies, and Christian’s enthusiasm for my body has only become more fervent. But more importantly, my own feelings have changed.

After my third pregnancy, I realized I no longer felt negatively, I no longer rushed to work out, I no longer lost my shit over the baby weight. I was elated to be rid of that pressure, anger, longing and sadness.

My body has done the greatest work. It held my children. It nourished them. Along with its overlooked most basic of functions; my heart skips a beat when I look at my family, my brain functions well allowing me to learn so I can in turn teach my children, I can walk to Starbucks and order a Cinammon Dolce Latte. I no longer take all of these things for granted. But I’ll be honest, in a world hell bent on making me hate myself for being dark skinned, or for being a stay at home mother, or being tattooed, or not adhering to society’s rules for proper child rearing, etc, etc, etc – sometimes I need a reminder.

And last night Severus Danger sat beside me as I nursed Thaddeus to sleep. He noticed my shirt had risen and revealed the smallest patch of my stomach’s skin and he said “Mama, you have a squishies!” and I laughed and told him I did. He asked to see my belly button, a thing he’s noticing everyone has now, and I showed him the deep gorge.

Severus examined it for a second, then looked at his own, looked at mine, looked at his, looked at me and said matter of factly; “You button looks different than mine.” and again I confirmed that was true. I told him that all belly buttons looked a little different, but that mine looks this way because when I was pregnant with him and his siblings, my tummy grew to make room for them to do the same. He was fascinated by the short story and my one armed gestures that gave him a sense of the enormous impact they have on my life. He threw himself onto my stomach {disturbing his brother in the process} and squeezed hard.

1491657_449770108487517_1001977056_nJust as I was starting to feel slightly self conscious, he said “I love you squishies, Mama! And I love you button! And you babies! And even me because I grew in here!” and there my reminder was.

It occurred to me that maybe you may need the reminder too; your body has done a great work, it was strained, and pushed and pulled and full of life {or lives}. You may have had Cesareans like me and have scars, or you may have birthed a baby vaginally and have scars in more delicate places. You may have gained 10 pounds, you may have gained 80. You may have experienced an easy pregnancy, or one wrought with frustration and worry. You may have fed your baby from your breast, or from a bottle and still didn’t escape the preparations to breastfeed that your body automatically switches on. All of that makes you a bad ass, you should never see yourself as anything less than a Goddess.

Please stop hating your postpartum body, please stop hating each other’s postpartum bodies – why the fuck is that even a thing? Please stop feeling shame because it might not look the same way it did before you had children. Please stop obsessing over losing the baby weight in harmful manners – there’s nothing wrong with you wanting to lose it, but be gentle and kind to yourself as you do. Please be there for another woman who may be feeling upset, because your support may be what she needs, and may make a big difference.

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