I had been sitting on my bed, naked, for almost a half an hour at this point. Tears streaming down my face uncontrollably while I stared at my clothes littered all over the floor. Nothing fit me right. There were rolls on my body in places I didn’t even know could roll. I felt ashamed and self-conscious and I resented my body for looking like this.
I hated my mom body.
Pre-pregnancy I was very active. Then I got pregnant and the midnight cravings kicked in. I was up every night during the first trimester eating full meals at 3 am. It was what the baby needed, I would tell myself. My body wouldn’t crave things if it didn’t need it, right? I had stopped almost all exercise out of fear of hurting the baby. I knew it was healthy for the pregnancy and I had been given the okay from my doctor to resume exercising, but this being my first pregnancy, I was overly cautious.
By 4 months, I was living in sweats and yoga pants since they were all that fit me. I justified it by telling myself it was normal pregnancy weight gain. My OB called it “a healthy weight gain for after the Christmas holidays”. With each appointment the scale would raise higher, and higher, and higher. By the end of my pregnancy I feared of the scale, something that was very foreign to me.
Throughout the pregnancy people would say things like “Oh, you’re just growing a big baby” and “You’ll bounce right back to your pre-pregnancy body after the baby is born” which validated what I had been telling myself the whole time. I mean, I saw all these other moms who were back in their pre-pregnancy clothes within a couple months postpartum so I assumed that would be me as well.
I was wrong. So very wrong.
There I was, 3 months postpartum, staring at the box labelled “pre-pregnancy clothes” cursing my body for not fitting in them. I still looked 5 months pregnant with stretch marks all over and I was mad. Not just at myself, but at my baby.
I hated my mom body.
Everywhere I looked, people were talking about how they loved the skin they’re in. That they were proud to show off their mom bodies because it grew a child. They were encouraging and motivating others to feel the same. To love the body which brought life into the world.
But I didn’t feel like this.
Why didn’t I feel like this? Was there something wrong with me?
Am I that vain that I can’t see past the flaws?
I’m not. And neither are you.
It is normal to feel like a stranger in your body. Things look different, they feel different, and you are learning about yourself all over again.
Loving your body after birth is an adjustment, to say the least. Your whole understanding of how you look and feel is shifted. There are curves in new places and marks which weren’t there before.
And it’s okay to not be okay with it.
At almost eight months postpartum, I still cringe when I see my belly jiggle as I jump around trying to get my jeans on. I sigh when I see the stretch marks on my hips.
But I am learning to love and accept the new changes.
Each day I work towards getting back to feeling like myself again. Accepting the changes that have occured and remembering it took nine months to get to this point, and to give myself the same amount of time to get back to feeling normal again.
I hated my mom body, and I’m not afraid to say it because I know I am not alone. I know that it is normal, and I know that I am working on it.
And that is all that I can do.
I am learning to love my mom body. And so can you.