I don’t like my postpartum body. I didn’t like it after I had both of my kids. And even now almost, 4 years after having my last child, I probably like it even less. Don’t think I am a body shamer; I am far from it. I’m just being honest here.
Let me start by saying I envy the women who can truly embrace their postpartum body. Who see every stretch mark, scar, and skin roll as a thing of beauty and a testament to how amazing a woman’s body is. Like these awesome ladies who shared their postpartum pictures with me.
I know that my body is strong and capable. I had two large babies (8lbs 7oz, 9lbs 10oz), one c-section, one VBAC, a 26 hour unmedicated labor, and breastfed one child for 15 months and the other for 12 months. My body was cut open, torn, stretched, and sewn back together. And it somehow kept functioning.
As much as I am in awe of these things, I am equally amazed at how something our bodies were designed to do can absolutely mangle them!
Like the layer of fat that refuses to vacate my midsection. No matter how clean I eat, how often I exercise, or how much PT I do. (Thank you diastasis recti.) Please just go! And then I will deal with the super sexy extra skin/stretch marks left behind. Oh and what the fluff happened to my belly button? That’s long gone; there’s like a crater in its place.
What about my poor boobs? Sure, I was barely an A cup before kids, so I didn’t think things would be pretty. But holy crap y’all! After expanding very painfully as I breastfed my children, they just up and left afterwards. Like see ya, we quit. Here’s some more of that extra skin and stretch marks. Good luck finding a bra that doesn’t collapse on itself!
I’m not going to go into detail about my nether regions, but let’s just say that between the c-section and the second degree tear from my VBAC. It’s a not-so-hot mess down there.
So yes, I don’t like my postpartum body. Everything is deflated, doing weird things, and not where it’s supposed to be. While pregnancy made me feel feminine and sexy, the aftermath just makes me feel gross and definitely not feminine.
Besides complaining, what am I doing about my postpartum body, you ask? Well, I am changing my habits for both myself and my children. I want them to see me take care of myself and pay attention to what I put into my body. I joined a new gym where the workout is predetermined, which I like a lot. My husband is also working to make similar changes, so he is helping me stay accountable. Although there are some things I cannot completely change, I can do my best to feel better when I look in the mirror.
I think when we are supporting women who have had children, we need to normalize all the feelings and be supportive. Whether you love your postpartum body, hate it, accept the changes and move on, work your butt off to get to where you want to be, or something in between, I think we can all agree that the physical changes that come after pregnancy are no small thing.