If you are a mom who has birthed children, chances are you have looked at your body after baby and not recognized who you were looking at in the mirror. I’d like to give you a few ideas as to why that is and to show you that you are not alone.
To start this journey of loving your body again after children, I would like to tell you of my own journey.
Before kids, I would have considered myself relatively fit. I never looked at my body in a negative light, so when I saw all of the changes after kids I was shocked to find myself struggling to come to terms with my new body.
My first pregnancy was relatively normal, until about 16 weeks when I developed pregnancy asthma, and had to be put on a steroid inhaler daily. As we all know steroids can lead to weight gain, and it did just that. By the time I delivered, I was over 200 pounds, with over 50 being from pregnancy.
It took me a while to heal after delivery. I had just started working out regularly, and losing weight when I found out I was pregnant again. My son had just turned a year old, and it was a surprise for all of us.
My second pregnancy was relatively normal, but I carried really low. I had to go to the chiropractor weekly to even have room to breathe. I got a hernia in my belly button that they were going to repair, but after delivery, my doctor couldn’t find it so we decided to not do the surgery.
My second delivery was all-natural and so much easier to recover from, but during my follow-up visit, I was told I had diastasis recti. I had no idea what this was, and the doctor explained that my abs had separated to make room for the baby and did not go back together. Apparently, this is super common and happens in almost all pregnancies, and it was determined that since I had not fully healed from my first pregnancy before getting pregnant again my stomach didn’t heal properly.
My doctor gave me a list of exercises to do and sent me on my way. Now, being a librarian, I researched more and realized the exercise list given would have actually made things worse, but I also found someone locally who specializes in healing diastasis recti. I knew I didn’t want to have surgery if I didn’t have to, so with a lot of hesitancy, I tried the classes out. After a year, I was able to close my four+ finger abdominal separation. But I still looked three months pregnant.
Now came the hard part of diet and exercise. My kids are now four and six, and I have just now gotten to where I can spend time on myself daily with exercise. Some moms can do this right away, and those women deserve massive applause. I, however, am a working mom so when I get home from work I just want to love on my kids who I have missed all day. Sound familiar? Well, I am here to tell you if this sounds like you, it is ok!
I have finally gotten back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, but guess what? It has taken me years! I still have a small pooch. A lot of it is skin that was massively stretched from that weight gain from steroids. I have tiger stripes (aka stretch marks) on my belly and legs, but who doesn’t?
If you have been lucky enough to birth your own beautiful babies you should look at your body with love and envy. There are so many who aren’t able to have kids that would give anything for your loose skin and stretch marks. You are most likely never going to look like you did pre-kids unless you have surgery, and even then I bet it still won’t be the same.
Your body made and carried a human life! It is a true miracle and something to be proud of!
Yes, I still look in the mirror and see my flaws, but then I look at my kids and I am thankful for what my body created. So I challenge you moms to do the same. Next time you are feeling bad about your body, look at those babies and remember, your body that you are being so hard on, made that! Be proud and thankful!