I am four days postpartum, and already I find myself thinking about how quickly I can tighten up my belly, lose my pregnancy weight, and fit into my old jeans again. Although, my body is still sore and stitched from birthing my son. I can feel my body fighting to heal itself, and yet I also feel this pressure. Pressure to bounce back to my old form. The urge to compare myself to others.
I know that completing the journey through pregnancy and birthing a baby is an amazing feat that I just completed. I have had the honor of being a part of bringing a new life into this world, but I can’t stop myself from yearning for my body to take its former shape. Why is it so hard to just accept that this is what my body looks like for now and to be content with that.
I think what started these thoughts was when someone asked if we could take a picture together with the new baby. I happily agreed. However, when I saw the picture of myself, I cringed noticing all of my imperfections. Immediately my eyes were drawn to my double chin and my still rounded belly, as I scanned my postpartum body.
It’s interesting how hard I am on myself compared to how I feel about other women. If a friend told me she was feeling the way I do, I would enthusiastically remind her to be kind with herself. I would tell her that it took ten months for her body to stretch with the growing baby. Now, it’s going to take time and patience to get her body back to where it once was.
The truth is that after having a baby, my body may never be the same as it once was. I want to be okay with that fact. Even if I eat healthy and exercise regularly, my rib cage might always be bigger, my boobs droopier, my hips curvier, and my tummy pudgier. It is a challenging journey to learn to love yourself as you take on these different shapes, to be confident in your beauty, as it changes from month to month.
My goal is to be gentle with myself. To erase the feelings of competition with myself and with other women. I want to be happy looking in the mirror, loving the body that I see, the new lines and curves. I want this because I want it for myself, for my friends, for my daughter, and for other women. I want to stop judging myself so harshly and to be gentle.