I recently ran across this post I started and never finished from August – whoops! I was about to delete it, but read it again and decided the message was too important and powerful not to share. I’ve made a lot of progress with my emotions in the last month, (go me!) but this was EXACTLY how I felt at that point, so here you go…
I’ve been talking with a lot of new and seasoned moms lately, and a recurring theme keeps coming to the forefront, how negatively we view our post-baby body. I am absolutely guilty of this as well, as much as I try to be patient. Today is going to be a humble post. We all know I love me some clothes, especially Nordstroms. So when I talked hubby into a day in Sacramento recently to spend some birthday money, and it turned out to be the same weekend as the #NSale I thought I’d hit the jackpot! Well, get to the actual shopping part and it was so disappointing I was almost in tears by the time we left, and not because of the clothes, the clothes were beautiful.
It was me.
The mental image I had of myself last time I shopped at Nordstroms was drastically different than my current in-progress, post-pregnancy body. I had no idea how to dress myself and felt like a failure as I tried on pair after pair of jeans that would have looked fantastic on the old me. Words like “fat”, “gigantic”, and “stuffed sausage” ran through my head as I struggled to pull a pair of skinnies over my thighs. My husband, God bless him, thinks I’m sexy at any weight and was loving the skintight fashions, but I felt heavy and uncomfortable.
This seems to be a common theme among new mothers, and women in general. We’re told that we shouldn’t care about how we look and love our bodies no matter the size, but at the same time bounce right back to pre-pregnancy weight. There are postpartum workouts, waist trainers, celebrities who lose all the baby weight in six weeks, and stories of women who only gained 20 lbs and weighed less walking out of the hospital than they did before getting pregnant. (One of these was a friend of mine, and it was incredibly difficult not to compare my journey with hers, especially as I ballooned up 50 lbs.)
I’m trying very hard to love my body through all its transformations, though some days are easier than others. If someone else called me the names I call myself in my head, I would cry. And that’s not ok. Before pregnancy, I had no idea how much of my self-image was tied up in genetic thinness and the label of “fit.” When I lost those, even temporarily, it sent me into a mental tailspin. Finding the balance between loving myself where I am now, while striving to get back to a preferred level of fitness, has been a tough lesson. One I struggle with every day. Why should we be so forgiving of others and so harsh with ourselves?
My body is incredible. It has carried a child and now nourishes him as he grows. It has recovered from injuries and cancer cells. It has given birth and run half-marathons and will again. We all deserve to celebrate our accomplishments and treat ourselves with grace and patience. So new moms, don’t you dare call yourself fat. Our kids are watching, and will learn how to view themselves and others through your examples. Let’s end the self-shaming. My son will grow up with a mother who is healthy and strong and imperfect, and I will show him it’s ok to be all those things.
By the way, breastfeeding mamas, the lounges at Nordstrom are pretty much the most fantastic things ever. Cushy couches and beautiful decor and soothing music, it was hands down the nicest place I’ve ever been. If you’re in a mall with a Nordstrom, go there even if you’re not shopping there, it’s so worth it I promise you.