It’s no secret that women are curious or even scared about the condition their body will be in after having a baby. Our heads spin with questions of: will my body ever be the same, will people see me differently, how can my stomach grow that large and let’s not even discuss the delivery!
When I was a healthy and fit woman of 30, I got pregnant for the first time. Tears of joy don’t even begin to describe my excitement, however, I was still nervous about the condition my body would be left in after having a baby. After trying for two years without any success, my yearning for a baby decreased those frustrating thoughts of losing the body I’d come to know and grown to love over the years.
From a very young age, I was tall and thin to the point of frustration. Everyone would say how lucky I was to be tall and thin. It came with challenges; clothes never fit, I didn’t mature like everyone else and I was taller than most boys my age. It took years (literally years) until I loved my body, and once I did I came into my own. I finally found brands of clothes that fit me and I even learned to love the fact I was taller than most boys. I was finally comfortable inside and out. So, it was only natural that I feared having a baby and the possibility it would change both my insides and out.
As each month came and went, I watched my body grow in the most amazing ways. In the beginning, I was sure I’d be the only woman in the world who wouldn’t grow a pregnant belly, but to my surprise, I, like generations of women before me, grew a big beautiful belly with an incredible baby inside.
My anxiety waivered from one day to the next. Some days I knew the life inside was worth the sacrifice of my body and I would deal with what it looked like after the delivery. Other days I would stand in front of the mirror observing my body noticing every change. I stressed out thinking about things never going back to the way they were.
Not only was I dealing with my personal concerns of gaining weight, but, also because of a past back injury, I was instructed to gain only 20-25 pounds, which seemed impossible with my cravings. Halfway through my pregnancy, I was exhausted from worry and consumed with fear of all the ‘what if’s’ of pregnancy.
I decided to let all my fears go. I knew that whatever number was on the scale after the birth would not have to be a permanent number and if it was maybe it didn’t have to matter. After making that decision I felt free to love myself and experience the joy of being pregnant and marvel at my body’s ability to change and transform in a way that was almost magical.
I found that letting go of my fears was the first step in accepting and loving my new body. I happily gained the allotted amount plus a little extra. I listened to the needs of my body and ate what my body needed and what I knew was right for both of us.
When the day finally came to bring a new little one into the world I felt enormous and proud beyond my wildest dreams. After five months out I wore my body like a badge of honor. There are changes I was almost positive would never go back to the way they once were, but my body went back to the way it was- my rib cage and lungs moved back to their original position, my hips didn’t feel as wide, bathroom breaks don’t happen every five minutes and the list goes on. The changes that stayed- a few stretch marks, curlier hair and some other things were worth it and I still feel that way today.
Today, I’m fully engrossed in motherhood with two boys: 5 and 3. Life with kids has been the greatest gift in my life and I would do it all again knowing what my body would be like after.