You know all that empowering stuff about how we should love our postpartum bodies because we grew a person and gave our children life and all that? And how all those marks and things that shifted are signs of having done a miraculous thing? That drives me crazy.
A while back someone I know shared this image on Facebook:
My first thought: that’s total BS. (My second was: If my body looked like that I wouldn’t care about the stretch marks.)
Now, I think it’s only fair to acknowledge that this was before I had any stretch marks from pregnancy. I didn’t get any with my first and I only got one tiny little one with my second. But I certainly have my fair share of stretch marks from adolescent weight gain, so it’s not like I’m talking about something I haven’t experienced at all.
I just hate that things like stretch marks are touted as some sort of badge of honor. I mean, really. Ask any woman who has them and I bet most (all?) would gladly give up that badge and just be a regular old undercover mother.
Yes, our bodies change after pregnancy. No, we don’t have to like it.
My baby is seven weeks old today. I have little to complain about – I can fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans (the larger-sized ones, anyway). Someone remarked the other day that I had shrunk right back down after Ethan was born (not entirely true but appreciated nonetheless). And my one tiny stretch mark isn’t keeping me up at night.
But I’m at that weird stage where my body has changed and, while others may not be, I’m very, very aware of it. I feel pudgy and I have the dreaded muffin top. (I complained about that and my husband, bless him, said, “I don’t know why women complain about muffin tops. That’s the best part of the muffin.” He was being funny, but I appreciated the sentiment all the same.)
I whine about my body to my husband and I frown every time a roll peeks out where it’s not supposed to. But I wasn’t terribly active with this pregnancy — nine months of morning sickness will do that to a girl — so I suppose most of this is my own damn fault.
Not all of it, though. Pregnancy does change our bodies. My pants don’t fit the same, I have cleavage where none existed before, and my tummy is making me rethink my objection to Spanx.
So I’m not going to pretend that I’m some sort of tiger or that I’ve done something with my body that billions of other women haven’t done. I’m going to try to watch what I eat and I’m going to take up Kelly’s “You Can” challenge by finding time to make friends with Jillian Michaels again. And I’m going to accept that the way my body looks is all part of the process of bringing life into the world.
I just don’t have to like it.