This isn’t my first post about post pregnancy body image. I’m still proud of my body as a reproductive entitiy. Almost daily I look at my children, especially Warrior Queen, and try to comprehend that I grew these two beings from some cells. It’s remarkable.
Enduring Gestational Diabetes with my second, I haven’t had all that much baby weight to lose, but like the poundage loss process after my son’s pregnancy, the shed is glacial.
I’ve heard just about every cliché and wife dogma when I express my frustrations with the lingering weight that won’t budge despite a focused and previously effective attack plan. Those offering such tid-bits of support should feel fortunate my reciprocating response stops at an eye roll so hard it gives me a view of my tonsils. One of the more frustrating and obnoxious comments is that carrying extra weight is minor because I’ve birthed a healthy miracle.
(No, I’m really grateful for your input. I was just checking that my hairline was where I left it.)
The thing is, wanting to look and feel my best is not a superficial musing. I’m not sure exactly how it came to pass that mothers are not permitted to embrace their own badass MILF selves. Possessing a strong desire to look attractive and enjoy what I see in the mirror is a pursuit I’m entitled to include within my growing list of priorities. Furthermore, it is important for my children to see me embrace myself as valuable, independent of them however I choose to define it.
Another introspection that boggles is when I consider the reality of my shape compared to motherhood body misconceptions I held for most of my life. Before my son’s pregnancy, like many women I feared the inevitable carnage having a child would have on my form. It isn’t that I expect perfection or that I was ever anything close before my axis tilted. But, I was terrifyingly certain I would never look good again, and I like to look good even if I am woefully below airbrushed excellence.
For the year it took for me to lose the almost entirety of my son’s pregnancy weight, I was surprised by the process, maybe even delighted by the complexity of the experience.
That said, it bothers me to work so hard, yet have my body shed excess fat with an excruciating meander. But, the experience’s totality isn’t so bad. Even though I gained a significant amount more after my son’s pregnancy, I was struck by the difference in my appearance when I compared myself to pictures of a similar weight gain not credited with growing a human. Hovering at the same forty-five pound increase on my small frame, post Little Man, I simply did not look as heavy as I was for most of my twenties. That was interesting.
Currently, I’m about a clothing size away from my pre- pre-pregnancy size, but my body is forever changed. I used to hip ride my pants, no more. I embrace my mom jeans. And, really, if they are good enough for a president, what am I complaining about?
(My tushie can totally compete with his!)
Prior to brewing Warrior Queen, my hips were wider, so were my thighs. My belly, for the most part, regained its former shape. So, while my old cut of pants yielded an uncomfortable muffin top, I could still rock a two piece bathing suit…in the event that we ever go on a vacation again. My general figure was a bit curvier with a slightly smaller waist. When I lost my first round of baby weight, I had less cellulite than I had at any other point in my life. My body, while not svelte, had significantly more definition as well. Even with seven more pounds left to shirk, my physique is all the more defined. I didn’t think that was possible. A bit more baby weight or not I look good, even if my weight number isn’t quite my ideal.
To look good has been an intense labor, but it’s one born of increasing love that was absent before experiencing the chemistry of motherhood. It feels strange to accept, or even admit that I, mostly, love my body in all of its quirky ways. It almost feels wrong to see my middle age baby body objectively surpassing the beauty of my gymnast teen years, even with spider veins aplenty. My children are at the age of expressing unconditional love as I never knew it to be, so why not bestow myself with the very regard I see on their beautiful faces when I enter a room? I’ve certainly earned it.