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. 

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