As I sit here and type this, I am exactly one week postpartum with my daughter. During this pregnancy, I only gained about 25 pounds, which I was fairly proud of and not overly concerned about. I also have just birthed two babies within a year’s time. To be exact, there were 320 days between the birth of my son and the birth of my daughter. That, in and of itself, is an accomplishment that is not something you hear every day.
That being said, I am not the same person that I was before I had my children. At this moment, I have no idea what size pants I wear. I have lived in leggings and maternity clothing for the last 18 months straight. Three-quarters of the items in my closet have not been worn in over a year, and even if I could fit into some of those clothes, I am not sure I would want to anymore. My underwear drawer is very similar, with a collection of cute and colorful numbers that haven’t seen the light of day in months. I just recently purchased a 5 pack of “high-waisted underwear for C-section recovery” and when I tried them on today, they were super comfortable. But my 25-year-old self would be laughing at the high- waisted “granny panties” that I was wearing.
A NEW PERSPECTIVE
When I got out of the shower yesterday, I looked at myself in the mirror and a million thoughts ran through my mind. I have never been a person who is overly critical of myself and have done my best to ignore what others think about my physical appearance. A week after giving birth, with fresh steri-strips still covering my C-section incision, I had a hard time seeing the good in my reflection. Where my belly that carried my son and daughter grew, only loose skin and stretch marks can be seen now. My belly button has started to invert back to its normal, cavernous self. The incision from my C-section hidden below a flap of skin that is still trying to heal.
I have had to tell myself over and over again that pregnancy is a beautiful gift. It is amazing and surreal and indescribable. It is also incredibly difficult, exhausting, overwhelming and not always glamorous. Growing a human is hard work and most women do not give themselves enough grace to realize what a feat that actually is. My pregnancies were anything but easy, but at the end of the day, I was so thankful that I was able to experience such a thing.
And while I don’t love what I see in the mirror at this moment, I know that I have to be patient with myself as I find my way back to my body. I know that a woman’s body is miraculous in that it can actually grow another human inside of it. I also know that it took nine months to grow my two little humans, so I am not going to be able to bounce right back in a week or two. Patience has never been my strong suit, but I know that in this particular case, it is something that I must practice. Learning to love myself and the body that I have now is a work in progress but I know it is one of the most important things I can do. Give yourself grace, mama…you’ve more than earned it.