Max is a little over 12 months now and that makes me one year postpartum. This experience post-birth has been much different than it was after having Calvin. Much of this is because my expectations have changed. After my first pregnancy I assumed I would quickly fit into my normal jeans and that my tummy and hips would all go back to normal. But after giving birth nothing is the same and some things get better, some worse.
So, this time around I didn't put any pressure on myself. I worked out if and when my schedule permitted and I came to terms with the fact that my breasts would never look the same, like never. Instead of looking at my jeans and feeling sorry for myself for my fitting into them I donated them. My sweet husband let me get any new pants I needed to feel confident and comfortable. I may be 3 pants size bigger than I was when I got married but I like to think of it as graduating into womanhood. My new body has unwanted sag, wide hips, a few stretch marks, a new chest size, a lot of new hair frills on my head, some under eye darkness, and a few new birth marks. My new body is also stronger, healthier, and is the only body I will ever have. I can chose to love this body and take care of it or I can chose to despise it. Thankfully, Nick is always helping build my confidence and affirming how he loves the way I look. If it wasn't for him making me feel beautiful I would probably question myself.
I recently realized that I hear so many moms talking down about their appearance or their dissatisfaction for how they look. This only further discourages me and makes me more self conscious. If we all walked with more confidence in the bodies we were given and made these bodies a priority, then maybe we could change our perception of what beauty is (at least, just a little bit).
If we walked in truth about who God says we are and truly believed it than we would convey our beauty to those around us. When we walk with our shoulders down, slouched over, not caring about how we portray ourselves we are telling our kids and those around us that we do not matter. Your body has helped bring life into this world, that is something to be celebrated in itself. That is something to see beauty in. You may need some help sometimes to let that beauty shine (haircut, new shirt, manicure, some mascara) but make sure that even though you will never be the old you, the new you is just as important and worthy of value.
My postpartum body is not what I thought it would be, it's much better. Each imperfection is a reminder to me on my value in Christ and the blessing it was to have birthed my two boys. I hope that I won't ever be that mom lets herself go. It is easy to put myself on the back-burner, but it takes selflessness and a little bit of time to care about my health and the way in which I present myself to my family and to the world. I hope that on those mornings when I feel too lazy to care about myself that I will remember I am a mom, wife, friend, daughter, and neighbor. I hope I will remember to walk in confidence and to find my beauty in Christ alone.
Do you struggle with loving your postpartum body? Do you wish you could go back to your old self? Do you think you are beautiful? Do you care to give yourself a little love and attention?