I’m five weeks postpartum and my old jeans won’t button up. As I look down at my sweet baby nestled in my arms, I see a belly that is now jiggly and scarred. It’s a far cry from the beautiful glow that pregnancy brought just a few months ago. But as I sit here with my newborn baby, I’m done judging myself.
For all of us who have given birth, whether it was just weeks ago or years ago, it’s time we embrace our postpartum bodies.
In those first few weeks, even months, after giving birth, we often find ourselves in that uncomfortable “in between” stage. We’ve gained weight, our bodies have shifted, and that stack of jeans in the closet is enough to make us cringe. For years, I hung onto old jeans from my previous body, wondering if I would ever fit back into them after having children. And I know I’m not alone. So many of us hang onto that hope that old clothing might someday fit again.
Here’s the thing—society puts this pressure on women to “bounce back” to their pre-baby bodies. We see celebrities flaunting their flat bellies just two weeks after giving birth.
But that’s not realistic for 99% of us.
Between the nursing and pumping, the constant cries and diaper changes, and the little-to-no sleep, there’s no time for us to work on losing the weight. Especially in the early days.
I’m comfortable with who I am, but even I found myself recently judging my body as I glanced in the mirror. My thighs are bigger, my belly is not flat, and the scale shows that I still have 15lbs to go before I’ll ever fit back into my normal clothes.
But as I began criticizing myself, I quickly snapped out of it. That same body that I was judging, should instead be admired. Not only did I grow, nurture and protect my baby inside the womb, my body went through so much physically and emotionally in order to give birth to a beautiful baby girl.
It’s easy to look in the mirror and compare our bodies to other women, but instead of judging ourselves, we should be celebrating our bodies. We should embrace the imperfections and feel comfortable in our own skin. Each scar and stretch mark tell a story of our journey to become mothers.
We shouldn’t be ashamed of our postpartum bodies.
As I stare at my baby, mesmerized by her perfect little features, I vow to let go of the term “bounce back”. Instead of focusing on the extra weight my body now carries, I’m focusing on my daughter and learning to nurture not just her, but myself.
Pregnancy not only transformed my body, it transformed my mentality.
So moms, the next time you look in the mirror, don’t criticize your imperfections, celebrate them. You should be proud of all your body has achieved.