By: Shannon Fisher, And Now I’m A Mom
Alright mamas, it’s time to talk about it. We face it every day. It’s amazing, it’s magical, it’s maddening, it’s stretched, it’s different, it’s life-giving, it’s wonderful, it’s earned, and it’s frustrating.
That’s right, it’s our postpartum body. Nobody gives birth and then immediately looks like they did pre-pregnancy, so we’re inundated with two types of articles as we’re spending our few free moments scrolling the depths of social media. The first, is that your new body is basically an eyesore and you must diet and workout constantly until it returns to it’s original state.
Yeah, sure. In the words of Ariana Grande, Thank U, next.
The next type of article is that we need to love and cherish every inch of this large, stretched out squishy belly, because, well it gave us our baby. And let’s not forget the “other women would dream of having a postpartum belly, be thankful what you have” posts (Which yes, is true, and I am in no way taking away from that. But that doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to not be happy with ours).
Now, I get it. I’ve been a strong advocate for body positivity for years, and yes, you should love your new body. I truly believe we should work on and focus on self-love and self-care every day, but that’s just not always the case, is it?
I love what my body has done for me, and I am eternally grateful. But. That doesn’t mean that I’m thanking my stomach every time I have to lift it over the waist of my pants to pretend they fit.
I am thankful that I was able to carry my beautiful healthy daughter for 9 (or 10?) months, but excuse me if I don’t weep with joy when the sweat pools between my delightful belly rolls.
Thank you belly rolls, for you are a product of my daughter. Thank you, entire wardrobe that no longer fits, because now I don’t need you anymore, for now I understand why moms wear leggings and sweatpants- and I’m so grateful to be a mom that it’s totally ok.
I’m sorry, but no. Absolutely fucking not. I can love and be thankful for my daughter while simultaneously missing my old body. I can be grateful for the pregnancy I experienced while mourning a large portion of my self confidence, which seemed to disappear around the same time as my ability to wear backless dresses. (Also, where the heck does a new mom wear a backless dress?)
Would I love to feel nothing but love as I squished my handfuls of belly in the mirror? Sure, who wouldn’t? But let’s be real. It’s hard to feel a lot of love for your new belly when nothing in your wardrobe fits you anymore and your silhouette has much more, shall we say… shape? Alternatively, would I love to be doing yoga and exercising regularly, while maintaining a healthy, calorie reduced diet? Yes, I would. Am I going to? Probably not. Like my first thought after pushing a watermelon out of my vag and then not sleeping for months is exercising, and not, you know- sleeping. Nope. I’m going to nap. I’m going to eat snacks. And I’m going to enjoy my ice cream after a long-ass day, and I’m going to indulge in that creamy pasta because goddammit I want it and I deserve it.
It’s lovely thought, to be able to either start exercising right away. Or to just love and cherish this new body that gave you your child. But I don’t think it’s realistic. This shit takes time. It takes energy, and it takes commitment. You know what we’re spending that time, energy and commitment doing? Being a new mom. And you know what we don’t hear enough? It’s okay not to like your postpartum body. Gasp!
There, I said it. And I’m going to say it again.
IT’S. OKAY. NOT. TO. LIKE. YOUR. POSTPARTUM. BODY.
Not liking how you feel in your new body does not mean you love your child any less. It does not make you any less grateful, and it sure doesn’t mean you feel any less sympathy for women who can’t carry children.
It simply means you’re not this saggy, stretched out belly’s biggest fan right now, and that you also don’t really have the energy or great desire to do anything about it for the moment. That’s life. Own it. Vent to your mom friends about it, and how your belly jiggles in so many new ways that it could take someone’s eye out. And do it, while treating yourself to that ice cream sundae and loving every. Single. Bite.