First off let me say that motherhood is the biggest honor and gift. I remember when I was expecting my first son, a good friend described my impending birth experience as an opportunity to assist God in a miracle. And boy was that statement accurate. I’m going to tell you how growing and delivering babies made me give my husband a major side eye when he bought me lingerie, but first let me tell you what these kids did to my body to cause the side eye!
Growing A Baby
morning sickness , oops let me scratch that because that is the biggest lie ever! Yes its normal for nausea to hit a prego first thing in the morning as she wakes up. But can we strike a petition for doctors and all the “What To Expects” and “Having a Baby” books to officially change the term “morning sickness” to “spontaneous and sporadic vomit reflexes all day, er’day until who knows when?” Now I would vote for that! Anyway, despite the all day, er’day vomit reflexes while I carried my first-born, Jabin, I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant!
My heart thumped a little bit faster whenever I felt him move, and my eyes widened with sheer amazement whenever my belly did a big involuntary jump, became lopsided, or if I looked down and saw what looked to be an indentation of an elbow or foot or something through my stomach. Oh and don’t let me have pushed or poked whatever limb it was trying to burst through my flesh only to feel a little push or poke in return. HEART BURSTING EXCITEMENT AND LOVE RIGHT THERE!!! Like to feel a little human respond to their mommy’s touch en utero is just amazing. Ok, writing this I might just be having a little pregnancy nostalgia! #fixitJesus #uterusonlockmode
Bouncing Back…Or Not
With Jabin, I gained a whopping 12lbs, and he was 8lbs 3oz of it. I was literally all belly and I bounced back to a weight that was even smaller than before I conceived. Then came my second son Caleb. I guess I assumed that it would be the same? NEGATIVE! There was Kerby’s Coney Island…every day during lunch break….ok, and breakfast on the way to work… #smh. And I craved cheeseburgers. Not just any old cheeseburger. But chili cheeseburgers. The servers knew me by name. That’s probably not a good thing. With Caleb I gained about 30lbs which was still in the normal range, but I remember being thoroughly panicked that day I stood on the nurse’s scale and saw I had crossed the 200lb mark. That was definitely a momentary pause for internal tears.
Caleb screamed into the world weighing 9lbs on the nose. Sadly, no #teambounceback occurred after him. It wasn’t until he was over a year old that I made a decision to get back in the gym and start back running. As soon as I started losing a little weight and my cardiovascular endurance started to strengthen, I gasped one day that Aunt Flow had not yet made her usual monthly visit! And I know I sound really dumb for saying this, but despite not being on any real birth control, we were really shocked that I was pregnant! LOL I was like where did this little bean come from?!!! But praise God for my sweet little man, who was born 5 days late at 9lbs 6oz! But I carried very big, I was constantly asked if I was having twins pretty much with all three of them but especially with Elijah, the last one. You don’t believe me? See below for a Flash Back Friday!
I am describing my pregnancy weight gains and baby’s birth weights and showing you a photo to paint the picture that my body stretched far and wide three different times. And as I write this today, my body is a physical representation of those big beautiful babies that I carried. Stretch marks, saggy boobs, stretch marks, umbilical hernia, stretch marks, stomach muscles never closing which will eventually require surgery to repair, weaker bladder, bigger feet (anyone wear size 8’s?), stretch marks. Need I go on?
As women, for the most part the pregnancy weight comes on very slowly. And when the baby comes out, there is a big relief. But yet when we look in the mirror, we still look pregnant, everything is droopy, and we think breastfeeding will make us skinny in 6 weeks. And when that doesn’t happen, its not unusual to feel a little pang of depression for how our body looks. And when taking photos there is that “lurking durp” in our eyes…you know, that thing that shows we don’t feel that good about ourselves because we are FAT and WANT OUR BODIES BACK!
Loving Your Body
Let me reassure you and I as well, because I still look in the mirror sometimes and cringe at the sagging skin on my belly. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made by the ultimate Creator Himself! Our soft bellies have the capacity to stretch to hold and incubate life. Our hips have the ability to open wide, receiving and delivering the precious seeds that were planted. Those wider-than-we-like hips are home to our babies, and those marks on our bellies and thighs represent the breath of life that we were able to bring into this world. Our now saggy breasts were once swollen with the richest source of nutrition designed especially for our little ones. Even the sound of their cries could cause a milk let down reflex something serious! The bags under our eyes and the stiff backs are signs that we loved and nurtured our blessings back to sleep during the wee hours of the morning.
Hand Over That Lingerie
So when my husband came home one evening and greeted me with a pat on the butt and some “gifts” in a bag, I opened it up to find little articles of clothing. Well you can’t even call it that. It resembled things that my 9 year-old niece might wear during a dance recital. I first dissected it and questioned the sizing. “Ummm did you know this says an XL on the package?! I am NOT an XL! WHAAAHHHHH”, and when I got to the 2nd package all I could say was “WHOOOO is wearing THAT?!” But, I obliged, and tried on the little naughty wear, and with great hesitance I let him see me. I saw an ugly flabby saggy stomach and soft thighs, and he saw his beautiful, desirable bride that bore his children.
So if you are like me at times and find yourselves being way too critical of your post baby bodies, I urge you to remind yourselves of what your body did to give you that baby. Get up and move, take a walk or a swift jog, crack open that bottle of tinted moisturizer and apply some eyeliner and a little lip gloss. Ultimately, we have the power to make small changes every day that will help us be healthier and feel better about ourselves. Now pick up your phone, take a selfie, and give yourself a smile. You da’ bomb 🙂
For more from Stephanie, please check out her blog at http://mylifewiththesekids.com/