Dear Postpartum Body,
I was going to say kind things about you. That’s the right thing to do. You did grow three beautiful babies. I get that. You kept me safe and healthy and kept those kids healthy too.
That’s a big deal. I don’t want to undermine you for that gift. So, I’ll mention it first.
I’m so thankful for you.
But I also hate you.
I know it’s harsh. I feel like I’m undoing a bunch of hard work that women have been working on for so long. I know women have struggled with body issues for years. It seems we’re making progress. We teach and we preach our kids and ourselves to love you. All of you. Even the stretchy parts and squishy parts and parts that look very different after birthing three babies.
I’m trying. Because I know how important it is to model a positive body image to my kids. I know it in the depths of my soul. It was ingrained in me for years. I watched the after-school specials. I listened to the stories of women who struggled.
Hell, I struggled. I was those women.
I still am.
It’s why I hate you. I hate that I can’t fit into my pants and that when I finally do, things still won’t look the same. I hate that my arms are flabby. I hate that scale and the extra baby pounds that will be so hard to shed.
I hate that people reading this will think I look fine and shouldn’t worry about the weight.
“Love yourself, Leslie” they’ll say. “You just had a baby. Give yourself a break.”
Maybe the worst of all, I hate that I hate you.
I want to love you. I want to give you grace. But I can’t pretend. Because acting like I love you and that I’m OK with you would be a lie. And I know there’s more of us out there who, like me, have trouble accepting you.
Maybe right now, instead of telling those women to love themselves and all the imperfectly perfect parts, I should just say, it’s OK.
It’s not great. It’s not the billboard message we should be sending. It’s not the girl power influence we should be sharing.
But it’s OK. You’re OK. I’m OK.
We’ll watch what we eat and we’ll put in the hours of hard exercise to shed those pounds. And in the quiet of our mind, we will learn to love you again.
Because I’m worth it. You are too.