Guilty: When I hear the words, ‘mom bod’ I tend to get a visual image in my mind of what a stereotypical mom body looks like. I’m going to be honest and admit that I cringe at the thought of that body I envision being my body. I have thought naively to myself many times, that will never be what I will look like. However, if I am real with myself, I do have a ‘mom bod’.
My mom body may not be exactly the stereotypical definition of what I have thought it would be in my brain. However, I do have my own, uniquely mine, ‘mom bod’. Although I am so grateful for my two children, it can be emotional looking at your naked self in the mirror and seeing the aftermath that having children has caused your body to now look like. I know it’s a beautiful price to pay for wanting and having children.
For me, there is 100% no regret in having my babies. I’d known what to expect from a young age seeing my Mother’s body as a young girl after she had my sisters and I. She was always an open book and wasn’t one to hide her body to us. Although my mom didn’t have a perfect body I always viewed her as beautiful. It is different when it is your own body though and I’d be lying if I were to say that these body changes after having children are easy because with it comes what feels like a loss of your own youth, beauty, and confidence. Where once stood a girl…then a teenager…a young women, now stands an adult women. The appearance and change can be hard to grasp at times.
As much as my children are a part of me, I am still my own person and I still want to feel beautiful and good in my own skin. Society plays a big part in what women think of themselves when it comes to their own body image. Not only can society be cruel, but they can also portray unrealistic realities of body image after having a baby. I know more and more women are coming forth and talking about this very topic to spread more awareness about it and that makes me so happy. Although, just like with the topic of infertility, it’s almost a taboo topic and the progression of it being openly talked about can feel like it’s going at a snails pace. I’ve always been real and very raw with my thoughts and opinions in this blog. This is why I wanted to bring this topic to attention. With that I wanted to share my own experience and struggles with this very issue.
Right now, I am struggling with this new definition of beautiful after having two children. I know I can’t be the only mom who is struggling with this. It is hard being able to accept this new body, yet I am fully aware I am also my very own worst critic. My husband is constantly telling me I have a cute butt or that I look great for having two kids. It’s nice to hear compliments, but they only do so much when I know it’s less important about what others think about what I look like and more important about how I feel about myself.
I also struggle with walking with confidence and feeling beautiful in my own skin. I so badly want to get to the point where I can own it and walk with pride, as I know some of these body changes are permanent, but I’m just not there yet. I am fully aware of how amazing my body is and I am so grateful for all that it has done for me and accomplished. I mean it not only made and carried 2 beautiful babies to a full term pregnancy, but it birthed them, has given them life & has and currently is making food for them that was and is nourishing their little bodies. It’s not only amazing to think about what a mother’s body can do, but it’s also fascinating.
With that being said, I should feel freaking amazing considering, but I don’t at times. Instead, I see what society is defining a ‘mom bod’ as and although it may be a somewhat accurate description, I feel society always deems it is such a derogatory way, when we should be praising women who just had/have babies and being as uplifting and supportive as possible. This is probably why, when I look in the mirror instead of smiling at what I see, most days I cringe. It’s so easier to see all the flaws, then to see the beauty. I know what my body did for me was beautiful but looking at my now body does not make me feel beautiful. At times I’m ashamed of it and here’s why:
When I look in the mirror from head to toes, I currently see:
-a few grey hairs
-more wrinkles on my forehead
-more defined laugh lines around my mouth
-fuller and ‘awkward to me’ breasts
-less firm, more pooched belly (sigh or relief that there are not stretch marks)
-stretched out alien looking belly button that once sported an adorable belly button ring.
-wider hips, with slight more muffin top on the hips
-flatter butt with light stretch marks and cellulite
-flabby inner thighs with stretch marks
-not so flattering legs
-Feet with chipped nail polish because there is no time for maintenance anymore.
-When I am dressed, clothes that once looked flattering and cute now hang awkwardly and do not fit (either too tight, too loose or show all imperfections).
All I can feel and think about after I give myself a once over is of all the improvements I need to make and my self esteem plummets. I start to feel depressed and hopeless that I will ever get a body back that I am happy with and confident owning. However, then I battle with the thought of “why would I want that old body back?”, and something inside feels so guilty for having such horrible thoughts. This new mom body gave me my two beautiful children that are here in front of me & I am reminded that change of my body was required to bring my two little blessings into this world and it worked really hard to bring them to life. My body did this. I am flawed, but I was before too. I am not perfect, but I wasn’t before either. I am still me & I am uniquely beautiful, but I always have been those too.
The truth is, we are all flawed. No one is perfect. We are all human. We are all unique. If there is one thing that is the same in us all as humans, it is that there is some sort of beautiful in each and every single one of us. I may personally be working on believing that to be true, or trying to discover that again about myself right now and struggling with the changes that my body has made over the years but as long as I can admit that to myself I know I will be okay. I am okay with evolving. I’m a work in progress. I’m not the same person I was in my youth, and either is my body.
I talked about in a previous post about how I started working out again. I am now 40+ days into working out and it feels so damn good. I may not be seeing results that I would like to see, as fast as I’d like to see them but I do feel stronger mentally, physically and emotionally. Just because I have a mom bod doesn’t mean I’m not fit or heather or strong… I don’t want society to define what beautiful is for me any longer. I want to define my own kind of beautiful and hope one day society starts portraying it more realistically as well.
Today, I challenge you to turn any sort of derogatory thoughts you are having about yourself to positive thoughts. The way you think about yourself can directly affect the way you see yourself. Society can portray body image anyway they choose, that doesn’t mean we have to listen to it or believe it. It’s time to embrace the body that your life has shaped and having a mom body is really something to see as beautiful. Self shaming is an easy thing to do as well, looking at a changed body after birth is hard and it’s hard to be body positive. Even through the imperfections of a ‘mom bod’ it’s hard not to see something so miraculous in it too. Mama with the ‘mom bod’-yes you! I’m calling you out… it’s time to start loving yourself and stop being so hard on yourself. You are beautiful. It’s just time to start redefining what is beautiful in yourself and also start believing that you are beautiful too. You’ve got this!