I sometimes catch myself looking at my reflection in the mirror, and find myself really observing and noting the physical changes (aka. the mom bod) of my body post birth. My body is still in recovery mode, as it’s only been a few weeks since giving birth. So things are still very much jello like, there’s still a bit of swelling, and everything isn’t “tight” or in “place” like it used to be.
The crazy thing is that it doesn’t bother me.
Maybe it should.
But it doesn’t.
I honestly feel like I now have grace for my body, along with ; patience, understanding, and truly knowing what it has been doing for the last ten months.
This is huge for me, because I used to always be so hard on myself, and hard on my body. I never used to feel comfortable unless I was my “ideal perfect weight”, and was toned in all the right places.
Being in the performing arts from my college days, going from casting to casting, through to competing in beauty competitions (don’t laugh or judge – I used to rock those) my appearance mattered to me. Largely because it was constantly being judged on whether it was / or wasn’t good enough or suited a part that needed to be played.
I’ve had drama teachers and casting directors make mention of what they did or didn’t like about my physical appearance, and where I could work harder, improve or change all together. Some advice and feedback can be constructive and helpful, then on the other hand some “advice” is just straight up bizarre and not necessary at all. But if you are already insecure to begin with, and have no understanding of your value and worth – you can very easily get caught up in those lies, and let it totally consume and control you.
I struggled in those days to hold my gaze in a mirror, because I never liked what I saw.
I never felt like I was good enough. So I would push myself, aim for what I thought was physical perfection – but felt so empty in the process.
Sounds superficial I know, but it was my reality for a very long time.
I used to focus on every flaw and try to perfect it – but there was always another flaw to fix.
Which in hindsight was so silly, because in college I was at my most skinniest , most fittest ,and yet I saw myself with an obscure vision…
I binge ate a lot, I would either eat too much, or not eat enough as a means of blocking or numbing out the disappointment I felt towards myself and my body. Something that took years to unlearn – to NOT punish my body, but to understand and resolve what I felt instead…
Then fast forward years later and being pregnant both times with my sons, I started seeing my body in a different light.
I started to acknowledge how strong and courageous my body was.
I started to realize what a miracle babies truly are, and what an honour it is to help house and carry them.
I started to love my body regardless of its ever evolving shape and size.
Instead of trying to find faults in my body during pregnancy, I started seeing the beauty in my ever growing belly. My focus shifted off of myself, and onto my baby and onto having a healthy attitude that was deserving of growing precious life.
Pregnancy by no means is perfect for everyone, I never felt a “glow” during pregnancy, more like a constant sweat. Your body goes through some very weird sci-fi kind of things whilst being pregnant. From gas, to burping, leg spasms, leaking in most places, cramping, swelling, sweating, pelvis pains, ligament pains, stretching skin, itchy skin from the stretching etc (the list goes on believe it or not)
Your body goes through so much discomfort in order to help prepare, nurture, grow, through to eventually birthing your little miracle baby.
After birth you feel a bit like a horror show – I won’t lie to you, your body does not feel like it belongs to you post birth. Your body ends up taking on a whole new meaning and life of its own.
Although my body has taken on a different form once more, I do not despise it. I see it for what it is. It has evolved once more, as a woman’s body should.
WILL IT BE LIKE THIS FOREVER ?
Well that is up to me – as I would like to feel strong and toned again – but that will come with time. I don’t expect my body to be perfect, what ever that means, it must just feel strong, and healthy.
And most importantly I must feel happy, genuinely happy with who I am and I must always feel comfortable and confident in my own skin, regardless of its shape.
True confidence for me, comes from within, its not based on my exterior. It comes from truly knowing, accepting and loving the very core of who I am – heart and soul. It comes from seeing value and worth in who I am as a person, as a creative, as a wife, as a mom, and as a friend. etc
I often feel that when I am healthy and happy on the inside everything else flows from that space. Because I see and place value on myself internally, I then want to look after my body in a healthy way. By feeding it the right kinds of food that will nourish it, and by doing exercises that makes me feel good (hello, happy endorphins) and strong to run my race with confidence.
Ensuring that my heart is in a healthy place, encourages me to feel confident and comfortable in who I am, and to OWN IT ! Easier said than done, right? But so vital in order to have a positive mindset and a truthful perception of ourselves.
Looking in the mirror can be uncomfortable for some, as we end up letting lies reflect back to us, causing us to feel less than and inferior. Imagine if instead of finding faults in our physical appearance, we started to shift the focus onto what makes us awesome on the inside, and truly acknowledge and celebrate that very important key ingredient of what makes us, well US…
How much happier would feel? How much more comfortable and confident would we feel in our skin?
Longer lasting happiness comes from within, then from that space we can feel empowered to want to look after ourselves in the best way possible that supports and encourages our lifestyles!
Regarding THE MOM BOD, I say OWN IT – I say wear that body with pride, after all it helped in the creating and carrying of life – our bodies had to adapt to so much physical change in order to birth a miracle! HELLO!!!
Take a moment to celebrate that, instead of despising it.