We were on our first vacation as a new family of three. I was getting ready for the beach and putting on my new one-piece bathing suit when my husband said to me “You look so beautiful.”
“Seriously can you just stop?” I replied as I gave him a look of disgust.
“I wish you were more confident in yourself and could see how incredible you are” my husband said to me. Looking back, I have always struggled with poor body image. I’ve never been comfortable being in a bathing suit or wearing shorts. Even when I was fit and toned when I was younger and in high school, I had pictures of thin celebrities plastered everywhere as a “motivator” to myself of how I should be.
Now motherhood has made my skin sag in certain places, I have a permanent scar on my bikini line from my c-section, my stretch marks on my breasts are like a road map, and I still have lumps in my behind from all those fertility injections. I remember being freshly postpartum and feeling how jiggly my belly was, grabbing my skin that hung over my incision and thinking “I hope breastfeeding sucks me back in”.
But I am learning to love this new body and starting to change my perspective.
Instead I look at all the amazing things this body has done. For 9 months it was a vessel, growing and nurturing a beautiful life.
Instead I see my postpartum body as a beautiful reminder of my strength, all that I went through to get pregnant and bring my precious son into the world.
When I look at my saggy tummy I remember how incredible it was watching my belly swell as life grew and how it felt to feel life moving inside.
My breasts deflated and nipples calloused are reminders of the sleepless nights nourishing my baby and the sacrifices I made.
I see selflessness of a mother and how I continue to put the needs of my son first. Instead of sessions at the gym I’m home doing endless loads of laundry, preparing meals or snuggling my sweet boy.
But I think the most important thing about learning to love my postpartum body is I can teach my son to respect women’s bodies and that this is what normal looks like – not those photoshopped images of women in magazines. I can be an example of a woman who is comfortable in her own skin and for that I am grateful.
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