The female body is capable of so much. Our bodies stretch and expand to house a little being for 9 months. Then when it’s all over, we expect that our bodies contract and return back to “normal.” Why do we expect this? Well, we often see new mom celebrities or our fittest friends show off their bellies after birth. We see their glow, their smiles, and their amazing, unchanged bodies. We think to ourselves, “It’s possible!” And, while possible, it’s not always the case! …And, that’s okay.
We, as a society; we, as women; we, as mothers; often do not share what really happens after birth to our bodies. While the mental and emotional side is starting to get more awareness (the postpartum depression, the anxiety, the feelings of inadequacies), the physical changes are often overlooked. Why? Perhaps because we don’t find it as important. Or, perhaps, because we are embarrassed or ashamed?
For me, the physical changes were almost just as alarming as the mental ones. I suffered from PTSD and some depression and definitely lots of anxiety (still do). I had heard of that before though. Witnessed it to some degree. I did not expect these HUGE changes to my physical experience though. I was surprised when I was left striped with stretch marks, with loose skin to the point where my belly button no longer looked like a belly button, and cellulite that was suddenly everywhere. Even my face had a permanent tired look–with bags under my eyes, some extra wrinkles, and a double chin that peaked out once in a while. My hair…I lost so much postpartum, it looked like I had shaved the sides of my head and near my hair line. As it grew back, my hair became scraggly and messy. Gray hairs also appeared.
Again, I come back to why aren’t we prepared for that? Why is it such a secret that our bodies change to such a great extent? It may not be traditionally attractive or sexy, but I think, if we all start talking about it, start showing photos of our true bodies, it will help us mothers begin to accept our new bodies. Our stretch marks, our loose skin, our extra belly fat– let’s grow to love it all. Our bodies have done so much for us. I feel so fortunate I was able to give birth to my son. I hope one day I can wear my scars & new mommy shape like a badge of honor! This blog post is just the beginning of my journey of loving my new self–mommy belly and all. I hope we moms start to share more. I’d love to hear your story too!