learning to love my mom bod: part 2 | embracing pregnancy, stretch marks & my scar
Like many new moms, I struggled to accept my postpartum body after Luke was born. I felt uncomfortable and out of place in my own skin, clothes fit me differently than I expected them to and everything felt like it changed. My self-confidence went down and I became envious of other moms (especially on social media) who had “bounced back” or “gotten their body back”. That was just not how things were going for me.
Luke was a big baby and I am not a tall person. My belly popped pretty much straight out and I was stretched to the max carrying him past 40 weeks. From my pregnancy with him, I ended up with loose skin and stretch marks on my tummy. Delivering him via c-section left me with a scar that will always be there. I’m almost ashamed to admit that these things used to make me sad.
One day it just hit me. I realized how lucky I am to have all of these things. They are marks of my motherhood. These little things that I disliked so much mark me as a mother. Someone who has grown and carried a life inside her body. I was able to carry a big and healthy baby past 40 weeks, until he was ready to be born. I’m lucky to have been able to conceive, to carry and to deliver a healthy and strong baby. There are women who would love to be in my position. Women who would gladly give away their stretch mark free midsections in exchange for the opportunity to carry their baby. All of these little things are just part of the gift of becoming a mother.
When I found out I was pregnant again, I decided that this time I was going to embrace all of it. During my first pregnancy I felt so beautiful. I loved to wear bikinis in the summer and I almost always wore form fitting clothes since I was full of confidence in my shape. This time, my belly isn’t as “cute” as it was for my first pregnancy because it already has stretch marks on it. But that doesn’t make it any less beautiful to me. I actually think it’s kind of awesome that our new baby is living in the same little space that Luke so recently inhabited. I like to think that he made it more comfortable for his little brother. The reality is that I am 99% going to be having another c-section (in fact, it’s actually already scheduled), so my mid-section will be marked by this baby, too. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
To fully embrace my body, as it is now, during this pregnancy, I had some photos taken by my favourite photographer. I knew I’d be comfortable shooting with her and that she’d make me feel beautiful. Before heading out to do our family maternity photos, she came by our house and took some photos of me. I have to admit that now that it’s done and I’ve seen the photos, I’m so glad I documented my pregnancy this way. I was nervous and anxious about doing it, but it turns out it was for no good reason. (Warning: if you are my dad, father-in-law, brother, etc. please note that I am only wearing underwear and a robe in these photos.)
This body made me a mother. For that, it will always be beautiful to me and I will always be proud of it.