I had a beautiful moment with littlest man yesterday. I was feeding him in bed and he decided he wasn’t that hungry after all, so he tried to climb all over me instead. He found my belly, and started running his tiny little fingers over all the hundreds of little ripples left when my skin stretched and pulled during pregnancy, looking at it rather lovingly. Then he leant over and started giving my belly “kisses” for ages and ages. The kisses soon turned from “mwah mwah”s into full blown raspberries, and honestly, it was just about the cutest thing he’s ever done, even with all the dribble (anyone who’s ever had kisses or raspberries from a teething 7 month old will know how slobbery they are!!). It was so funny… almost like he knew that his home was in there before he came earth-side.
It never ceases to amaze me that I actually physically created and grew my two beautiful children in my own belly. Like, they weren’t just handed to me at the hospital, I made them. Even straight after giving birth, I still struggled to bend my mind around the fact that this newborn baby was the same baby I’d felt wriggling and kicking around only a few hours beforehand.
I know it’s something women have done for literally thousands of years, but it’s still absolutely incredible. But even though I know it’s this amazing, beautiful experience (and I mean that in a very general sense, because morning sickness and sciatica and swollen feet are neither amazing nor beautiful) it still doesn’t stop me looking at the aftermath and ruins that is my post-pregnancy body and wishing it were less… stretched.
God, I wish I was one of those mums who is totally at peace and in love with her post-baby body, the whole tigress-earning-her-stripes deal. I really, really wish I was, because then I could totally share the secret of acceptance with all of you. It isn’t like I’m completely horrified by my post-baby body, I’m not, which I am totally thankful for. I’m kind of in the middle – sometimes I hate my stretch marks, sometimes I kind of like them (more days like that, please!), and sometimes I just really don’t care. And to be honest, mine aren’t actually that “bad” – they’re all relatively small and silver, so not super noticeable to anyone other than me (and totally coverable by Snapchat filters, so they almost don’t count), but that doesn’t stop me fixating on them when my thought train is going through a seemingly endless “I’m ruined by stretch marks” mental tunnel. And the ironic thing is, stretch marks on other people really don’t bother me, so I don’t think it’s the poor little stretchies’ faults. I think I’m just (perhaps a little unfairly) mourning the loss of my old body and adjusting to the new one – a change I had little choice or control over, so naturally I’m a bit put out about the whole situation.
Even if I hadn’t already had children, I’d still probably have some body issues. Most of us want to be more of one thing and less of another, I’m sure.
I’m working on the whole self-love thing, I really am. I try to consciously say to myself when I look at my belly “you grew two gorgeous babies in there, you clever thing” so that eventually, hopefully, I’ll start to associate my stretch marks with positive feelings. Rather than looking at the stretch marks and thinking “I wish they weren’t there”, instead I can look at my children and say “I’m so glad they’re here”. And I need to remember to look at myself through my son’s eyes, because he obviously thought his old home was pretty rad.
I’m sure it will continue to be a battle to love, or even just completely accept my mama body – but at least if I make steps in the right direction, it’ll all help fight the good fight. I hope that if you’re feeling down about your mama body (or just your body in general) that you find a way to learn to love and accept it – it doesn’t always come easy or naturally, but it is possible to learn, and it is possible to change your mindset.
Until next time, glow mamas!