I Don’t Want My Body Back
There’s a lot of talk about “getting your body back” after having a baby. And I get it in theory. The incredible process of growing a human and birthing it in whatever way that happens, it wreaks havoc on a woman’s body. Things stretch, things get bigger, things sag. You might have a dream of a body where those marks of pregnancy are gone, or “back” to where they were before.
Except I don’t. I don’t want my pre-baby body back. And I say this for several reasons.
First, I started my own personal health journey AFTER I had our second child. With our first I had gained 40lbs and never lost it, plus I gained more. Before I got pregnant with our daughter I was 230lbs, and incredibly unhappy with my physical self. My breathing was laboured, my knees were sore, my back hurt…I didn’t feel good. And I know that I was not feeding my body with healthy food to fuel it, I was stuffing it with comfort food to try and erase my feelings. By the time I went into labour I was 246lbs. It was only after she was born that I started to learn about nutrition and to make moving my body a priority. It was only then that I actually connected with what HEALTH meant, and why it was important.
I don’t want that unhappy, unhealthy body back.
Second, despite being unhappy in my body back then and despite the discomfort of pregnancy and the demon-summoning, watermelon coming out my butt pain of child birth and the glorious aftermath of episiotomy stitches and haemorrhoids, I found the experience totally empowering. I GREW A HUMAN. TWO humans. And I developed a new respect for the human body in the process.
I want to live in a body that created the two sweetest loves of my life.
Third, and this one has taken me a long time to get, but I now love my body. And NOT because I lost 80lbs. In fact, at the time of writing this, I am actually about 20lbs heavier than my original goal weight (thank you to the wrong birth control pill prescription and some serious work stress). It’s not about a number on a scale. The pre-baby girl would look in the mirror and criticize. She would judge every dimple, every fold. She would avoid having her picture taken, and hate seeing her reflection in a store window.
I want to live in a body I love.
Now, even though I’m not as lean as I have been in the past, I look in the mirror with acceptance. Lately I’m feeling thicker and more bloated than I would like, but still I look at my body with acceptance. Even with the bloat, I look at it more of a current state of the nation, not something to berate myself for. It’s something I understand and can change. I move my body every day, and we eat healthy meals. I’ve learned how fuelling ourselves with good nutrition and exercising regularly improve our overall well-being. Yes, there are treats like ice cream with the kids and glasses of wine (not with the kids), because I now understand balance. I didn’t before. I was all or nothing, bag of Doritos and a pint of ice cream on the couch, or total restriction and frustration.
I get that the idea of “getting your body back” can be incredibly motivating for some people, and that is awesome. Whatever the thing is that gets you moving and eating a healthy diet, fantastic. But with my pre-baby body comes my pre-baby mind, and I don’t want that back. I want to live in this post-baby body that is healthier and stronger, that has created people.
I want to live in this post-baby body, with an appreciation for all it can do, has done, and what it will do in the future.
In a world with so many things to do, kids to manage and pandemics to worry about—just kidding, thank god there’s only one of those right now—let’s find one thing to count on that will help you focus on yourself when things are tough.
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