loving me post-baby

I love reading about other moms, about babies, and about anything and everything related to motherhood and babies.  Honestly, it’s been an obsession for years.  Ever since  I had No. 1 almost nine years ago, I have gravitated toward books about pregnancy, babies, and motherhood in the bookstore.  Now that blogging is popular, I follow a couple no, some okay, many blogs by mothers who share about their lives, trials, ideas, and give inspiration.

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No. 1 and me ~ 2005

Since I became a mother when I was so young, a lot of the time I felt very, very alone.  My second daughter was almost one before any of my friends even had their first child.  I think this is why my obsession began.  While my friends were talking about concerts, drinking, parties, and dating, I was researching diapers, strollers, and baby toys.  While my friends were going out until the wee hours of the morning, I was going to bed at 8:00 p.m. so I wouldn’t be exhausted when I had to wake up in the middle of the night for feedings and diaper changes.  While friends were sporting tiny bikinis to the pool and the beach, I was searching to find cute one pieces to cover up my no longer toned, no longer firm, and no longer tan tummy.  Was I jealous of my friends?  Did I wish I could live that life?  Honestly, not for a second.  My whole life I have wanted nothing more than to be “mommy.”  It was my biggest hope.  My biggest dream.  I think that’s part of the reason I had a difficult time picking a major going into college.  I simply wanted to be a mom.

While I didn’t wish for a second that I could go back to my pre-baby life, in those early years of motherhood, I did often wish that I could go back to my pre-baby body.  I came across this article the other day.  It is written by a young mother who has chosen to celebrate her body post-baby.  Over the past couple of years I have really learned to do the same.  It has taken me a long time, but I think I am finally there.  My body is the way it is because I was given the greatest gift God can give.  I carried three healthy, beautiful babies to full term and my body was the vessel in which these miracles began.  It was inside of me that their tiny toes and fingers and noses formed.  Inside of me is where their lives began.  My body provided a safe environment in which for them to grow for nine months.  My body did an amazing thing!

I gained the most weight with pregnancy number 2 {I think it was around 40 pounds}.  I remember the day I found my first stretch mark.  I was up in Lake Arrowhead with my family about a month before my due date.  While slathering my stretching skin with lotion one night after my shower, I noticed it.  NO! was my first thought.  It was just a small silvery line on the right side of my tummy, only about an inch long.  I knew what that meant, however.  The next morning there were three, and the next day the left side had little silvery lines as well.  It didn’t get much worse than that, but I knew my “perfect”, smooth stomach was gone forever.  After No. 2 was born the lines turned pink, and eventually faded back to my normal skin color, but they could still be seen.  Still be felt.  It makes me laugh when I see adds for all of those stretch mark creams.  What a joke.  I religiously used those creams every single day.  Twice a day.  If you’re going to get stretch marks, you’re going to get them.

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{leaving the hospital 2 days after having baby no. 2 ~ baby tummy & all}

For a while I hated them.  Then I read a book in which the author celebrated her “battle scars” {I wish I could remember which book it was}.   From that moment on, I vowed to take her approach, her view.  My stretch marks are a reminder of those miraculous nine months I carried each of my babies.  They are a reminder of the gifts God gave me.  I knew when I became pregnant with No. 3 and started wearing maternity clothes from the get-go, that my collection of little marks would probably grow.  I gained a new little one above my belly button around month six, and a few more on each side between then and month nine.  Instead of being horrified when I found them, I remember smiling and shrugging, oh well.  I only gained about 29 pounds the third time around, but I carried my little boy very differently than I carried the girls.  He stretched out farther in front, in this perfect round ball.  My skin never really tightened all the way back up after I gave birth to him.  I also developed diastasis recti {separation of the abdominal muscles} during his pregnancy, so another six pack is probably no longer in my future, but I am okay with that.  I am still waiting for the linea negra to completely fade {Why is it that it takes longer to disappear with each baby?}, but I am happy with me.  I am proud, rather than embarrassed that my body shows evidence of the lives I once grew inside.

Jenny

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2 thoughts on “loving me post-baby

  1. A nice post Jenny, and a great lesson learned early. We are NOT what we look like, and we ARE! The evidence of our livings shows on us, and despite that our culture doesn’t like it, when WE like it, we are whole. Aunt Ginney

    Like

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