After three kiddos, I’ve found my body behaves differently than it once did. I’ve got some “jelly,” some extra squish and cushion in places where it didn’t once exist. I’m almost 8 months postpartum with my third babe, and because I feel like it’s our last kid, I’ve been working extra hard to get back into shape and feel strong. However, results are not quick, and sometimes, it feels as if I’ll never feel as good as I once did. At times, my body feels foreign, gray hairs sprout from my head, and wrinkles? Well, let’s just say, I’ve earned a few.
Perhaps, this is just one of those phases of motherhood. Lack of sleep, fraught nerves, and putting everyone else’s needs’ above our own, becoming a mama has been my most prized, and yet the most challenging transformations to my physical body. Whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed, stay home or go back to work, mothering is a physical journey that literally takes the life out of you. The physicality it takes to sustain life for nine months, and then rear that life for the rest of time is no small feat.
From your weight to your boobs, to your blood and brain, the process of becoming a mother, or “matrescence,” as anthropologists call it, is an all-out physical endeavor. Are you frustrated by that extra padding on your hips? Maybe. Has your hair thinned? Perhaps. Do varicose veins and stretch marks spindle around your legs and stomach and drive you bananas come swimsuit season? Probably. But, the next time you look in the mirror, try to look at yourself with fresh eyes, with kind eyes. Try not to be too hard on yourself, and instead celebrate the remarkable things your body has done, and continues to do.
Instead of lamenting about my not-so-flat tummy or wishing I still had the butt of my former volleyball playing self, I thank it. Thank you for keeping me safe through two long inductions and a fast and furious drug-free birth! Thank you for the ability to breastfeed non-stop for the past 4 years! Thank you for being the best jungle gym my toddlers could ever ask for! My body is far from perfect, and I’m perfectly ok with that. As Pete the Cat says, “Keep walking along, and singing your song…because it’s all good.” Keep singing, mama.
You Got This,