Many of us feel embarrassed of our post baby bodies. Some of us are surprised that we didn't snap right back to our pre-baby bodies. The truth is, no matter how fast you bounce back to your pre-pregnancy state, you will never be the same. Be it from stretch marks, wider hips, sagging breasts, or just a new state of mind about your body, you are now forever changed by the miracle that is childbirth.
So, because Gisele and all her friends make it seem like stretchmarks don't happen, I started Body by Baby. Stretchmarks do happen. So does saggy skin. And saggy boobs. And that is ok. Because we are real women. Our bodies aren't perfect. But they didn't get this way on their own. They got this way because we are fucking awesome and CREATED A HUMAN IN THEM. What's a stretchmark or a muffin top when we actually made life?
This is what a real woman's belly looks like. This is what having beautiful babies does to a girl. And it is awesome:
This is Pippa from Story of Mum. She is the mom of a 5-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl.
Here is her story:
What words come into your head when you think about your body? Are you proud, happy, grounded? Or do you think first about the "problem areas", the bits that should be different? Thinner, curvier, tighter, more flexible, just all-over better somehow?
My body is… fat, flabby, drooping. Pulled by unrelenting gravity slowly downhill. Sadly, these are the words that come to me first. I’m shocked. Since my second child turned one, I’ve been focusing on getting healthy again - not dieting, that just makes me eat more - making room for exercise in my life, making opportunities to reconnect with my body again. But still these words come.
My whole life I’ve been plump. And it has always bothered me, sometimes more, sometimes less. But before children, the fat sat in the right places. It was disguisable. Not any more. My round belly is now a flopping sag-bag.
Ironically, one of pregnancy’s greatest gifts was a new confidence in my body. I finally understood its purpose. The miracles it could perform. To grow a person, and then to nourish them in the world. Pregnancy and birth gave me a connection to my body I had never felt before.
But now, as I go about my daily busy-ness, saggy bits flapping in the wind, how can I retain that sense that came with pregnancy - of beautiful function, pride and awe?
For starters, I’m carving out some precious time to get healthy... I walk a lot (I’m terrified of driving) but the pace is slow with two stumpy-legged littluns. Zumba makes me go bright red, and stay that way for a loooooong time. Much of the redness is from laughing, a lot, when I catch my reflection in the mirror (in my head: svelte, slinking, moves like Beyonce - in the mirror: wobbling middle-aged bingo caller). My favorite healthy pursuit, yoga, gives me moments of peace. It moves me inside my body, away from my rushing mind, stretching and strengthening.
Yet that negative voice still returns.
From an early age, we’re constantly reminded of that need to achieve an impossible, youthful, constraining ideal: the perfect body. And as a mother, I now worry more for my daughter than I do for myself. To see her growing up in a world of Bratz dolls, celebrity bikini shamings and airbrushed fantasies.
I want to stop that voice that still heckles me from entering my daughter’s head. I want her to enjoy exercise. I want her to enjoy food. I want her to enjoy being herself. Most of all, I want her to enjoy her life, and her ability to give life.
I can’t stop all the unrealistic visions of perfection she will encounter as she grows up, but I can counter them, a little. By facing my own fears, my own unrealistic expectations of myself, I can try my very best to serve up an alternative version of beauty.
I want her to see that bodies of all shapes and sizes are gorgeous. That we love our bodies for all the amazing things they can do. We care for and respect them, we don't break them down into defective bits. We don't feel ashamed. We know that we are beautiful because of how we live, and how we love, not what we look like.
My children lived there. I live there. It is not a problem area. It is me.
My body is amazing, extraordinary, beautiful. It is marked by the miracles of my life. It is a mother’s body. And I am doing my very best to love it for that. Love your Mum-Body. Join me to share your mummy body at at the Love Mum Body project.
Thanks, Pippa. You are the shit for sharing with us what we all hide from each other.
Body by Baby all started here, but you glorious bitches have kept it going. Feeling frisky? Send me your own Body by Baby portrait and I will share it with all six of my readers the world. Anonymously or not. Your choice. Email them to me at ilikebeerandbabies @ gmail . com (remove spaces).
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