Thank you to my daughter Rachel for sharing a precious reminder of the beauty of motherhood with “The Day I Fell in Love With my Pregnancy Stretch Marks.”
When I became pregnant with our son, Aiden, I was the heaviest I had ever been. I knew it would help to lose a few pounds but my husband thought I was sexy when I was curvy or not so curvy. I was content and healthy.
Throughout my pregnancy I chose to avoid the popular concept that I was “eating for two.” I constantly had people say “you can afford to eat that, you’re eating for two!” or “enjoy it while you can, you get to eat for two!” It would have been so easy to adopt this mentality and let myself go during my pregnancy.
I allowed myself ice cream, but a small bowl not the whole gallon. I ate a hamburger once every month or so but not every day. With this philosophy I didn’t gain more than five pounds until I was seven months pregnant.
When my little man started getting chunky so did Mommy! Twenty more pounds later (six of those the last week due to my pre-eclampsia) I found myself being induced and twelve hours later my sweet baby was born by emergency c-section!
In that moment when I heard him cry for the first time and saw that sweet lip stuck out nothing else mattered. I was completely, wholeheartedly, deeply in love with this perfect child I spent nine months carrying. He was everything I had dreamed of.
I spent the next 24 hours stuck in bed recovering and was met with resistance when I wanted to change into pajamas! This Mommy was not a fan of a hospital gown.
When I finally got to shower for the first time I saw my new body. Swollen belly, puffy face, tired eyes. Red streaks etched across arms, stomach, calves (because of the pre-eclampsia I took on water weight fast – no wonder I had no ankles those last few weeks!). One long, low incision on my lower abdomen.
In that moment all I could feel was pride. I knew my body would never look the same. As I looked into the adjoining room and saw my beautiful child with my incredible husband – so healthy and chunky even four weeks early – my heart was full. I’d do it all over again without a second thought.
From the tiny toes that spent months up in my ribs to sweet lips that just beg for kisses…I knew it was all worth it.
In the weeks following Aiden’s arrival I began to be acutely aware of how much negativity surrounds post baby bodies. Pinterest was covered in pins that screamed the how to’s of losing weight while breast feeding, how to work out after a c-section, healthy diets for post-baby bodies. Tons of before and after pictures with such negative undertones for the postpartum belly.
It didn’t take long before I became very angry. Angry at society for putting such a nasty viewpoint on the struggle women undertake after having a baby.
As a new mom your days are filled with feedings, a multitude of dirty diapers, unwashed clothes, dishes in the sink, and lets not forget the overwhelming challenge that is the learning curve of having a newborn.
There’s the absence of sleep and for the moms who take on breastfeeding – those first weeks or months are so hard. Some days I just struggle(d) to get a shower (though I quickly realized I turned into a psycho if I didn’t get a shower by 11am.)
I watched my friends with babies born right around Aiden struggle with the same body image battle. Passion started bubbling inside me to love on new mommies.What an INCREDIBLE feat our bodies were created to conquer!
How amazing it is that we were created, designed…destined! to be able to give life and sustenance to our children!
Our bodies were made to comfort our little ones with merely our “mommy” scent. We have the ability to continue to provide nourishment for months to come! How perfectly we, as women, were made!
So I urge any new mommies out there: don’t lose heart!
You are beautiful – stretch marks, belly, and all.
We are not defined by the worlds’ standards of beauty. We are strong. We have perfect little ones to show for every “imperfection” that our bodies now have.
It’s okay if it takes 6 months to fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans.
It’s okay if you’ll never wear a bikini again.
It’s okay if you get to work and realize you have spit-up on your shirt.
It’s okay if your wardrobe consists of yoga pants and leggings.
It’s okay if your curling iron is collecting dust in the cabinet.
It’s okay if your new definition of makeup is concealer and chapstick.
It’s okay if the house isn’t spotless.
It’s okay if you’d rather sleep than do just about anything else.
It’s okay if it takes two hours to get out the door with a newborn just to run an errand.
It’s okay if your stretch marks never fade.
Because you have created a tiny miracle. A miracle that has a bright future because of the sacrifices you made creating him/her.
Take pride in your imperfections and relish the perfection that is your little one.
Professional photos by JLY Designs