Truth is…it takes time, and I’m working to believe and understand this truth.
This post wasn’t already in my mental catalogue, so what inspired this post? I opened the Facebook app on my phone to check my notifications. One notification stood out from all the others, “Liz S posted on your timeline.” I was intrigued. The post read, “Have you blogged about the post baby belly? I think some ladies could really use your happy/beautiful outlook on the little known fact that the belly doesn’t just go back to the way it was.”
The universe works in odd ways. How had my friend known that body image was a topic I was currently struggling with? In addition to that, how was I going to provide a happy and beautiful outlook on this when I didn’t feel happy or beautiful about how I looked?
This post took thought and self-reflection…a couple of weeks worth.
Recollecting my first week postpartum, I felt great. I remember looking down at my exposed midsection and seeing a swollen belly. I knew that it had only been days since I had given birth to my baby girl, so I accepted and even respected the swollen belly.
Two weeks postpartum and I was still wearing my pajama bottoms. There was no accountability towards my figure nor did I feel like there should be. I was enjoying the freedom of my unfastened body.
Three weeks postpartum and I decided that it was time for me to begin binding and dressing in bottoms other than my pajamas. (Tighter bottoms like my jeans.) It was also this week that I started having issues with my body image. Anything I’d put on, I’d have to preview it in the mirror before considering allowing the rest of the world to see me in it. Most of the outfits made me feel fat, ugly, tired, and cranky. The muffin tops were back. The muffin tops that I had worked years to minimize.
I am four weeks deep and I am doing better with accepting my body…sometimes. I am a few pounds away from my start weight, and you’d think this would relieve me of my image issues. I only act like it does. This fact actually plays with my emotions. How am I a few pounds away from being the same weight as I was when I found out I was pregnant, but still look so unkempt? I’ve also gotten the following comments from people, “You look great,” “You look like you never even had a baby,” “Look at you, you’re all back to normal,” but none of these compliments make me feel better about myself. They make me want to wear a hat over my face to hide the dark designer bags under my eyes, and the tightest corset possible to hide the folding skin that stretched while a human being grew inside of it…and this is where I realize that I need to end the negativity. Reading what I’ve written helps the self-reflection.
My body, my wondrous and magnificent body, is undergoing major change because it gave birth to our beautiful and healthy Zion girl. If anything, I should be ecstatic and proud of my current body because I know that it works how it was made to work!
As always, I expect too much of myself. It has only been four weeks since I gave birth to a human being that took over 40 weeks to grow! How do I expect my body to be back to its original shape and size in only four weeks? I must also be realistic; pregnancy changes your body in ways you cannot predict. For example, my bosom before Little Nugget was a size C. When I was done breastfeeding him, it went down to a size B.
I need to embrace the changes without giving up on improving my health. I need to feel as beautiful as I did when I was pregnant. My body has not changed (figuratively speaking), it continues to be a temple. It is important for me to continue taking care of my body to be the example for my child…children. I almost wrote that it is important now more than ever because I have a daughter, but in reading this, I find it equally as important that my son sees me honor my body. My body is sacred, and I want Little Nugget to honor his body the same way as well as understand a woman’s worth.
Pregnancy and childbirth change your body and weight, but one thing it forgets to change is your perspective on them. This is for me and for all the mommas struggling with their image (whether pregnant or post-baby) –
Work to be healthy and give yourself time to do so.
Be patient with yourself.
If not for yourself, do it for your children.
And…this is as far as my positivity goes at the moment.
How did you or someone you know emotionally heal after the physical changes from pregnancy?