I used to nit-pick my body. I would stand in front of the mirror and tear myself apart. Not thin enough, toned enough, strong enough. You name it, I thought it. I’m not sure when it started, but at some point in my life, I convinced myself I wasn’t good enough unless I looked like the photo-shopped images I saw in magazines. But, I also wasn’t motivated to work hard enough to get close to those images. So as you can guess, this crazy cycle of discontent and unhappiness with myself swirled on and on for a long time.

And then I got pregnant.

It would make logical sense for me to continue to pick apart my physique. I had already established the habit. I already didn’t like my curves, so adding more of them was sure to send me to crazy town.

But surprisingly, the opposite happened.

I honestly I had never felt more beautiful in my whole life. I had so much confidence in myself and looked at my body with such admiration. I would look at that round belly and think, “Look at what is happening, people! I am making a tiny human!” The whole thing just blew my mind.

And then I had the baby.

My round belly turned into a pile of mush. My bottom and thighs were bigger than they ever had been and my boobs… don’t even get me started on those!

The first few months post baby, I suffered from such a lack of sleep that I didn’t even glance at a mirror, let alone a scale. You’re in straight survival mode at that point. What I looked like was the furthest thing from my mind. (Sorry, Hubs! Talk about a hotmess express.) But then around month 4 or 5, you start to see the light. Babies start nursing less frequently and sleeping for longer intervals and all the mamas shout HALLELUJAH! (Or at least I did.)

I can still remember looking in a full length mirror for the first time, in a long time. Really looking at myself. I was prepared for the worst. I was at my most vulnerable point. What I thought would be my lowest low.

But life, brains, and emotions can sometimes surprise you.

What I thought would utterly disgust me, actually filled me with a total sense of accomplishment and awe. For, perhaps, the first time in my life, I looked at myself and felt totally content.

Yes, I saw the flaws. I’m not blind.

My stomach is still FAR from toned and the skin is much flabbier than before. But I grew a tiny human in there and provided the perfect amount of space.

My thighs and booty are certainly not fitting into my size 2 skinnies anymore. But it was necessary to pack on a few extra pounds to provide all the nutrition that baby girl needed.

My hips are much wider, but that will only make it easier for baby #2 to enter this world! (Disclaimer: not pregnant, everyone. Calm down.) 

The ladies are bigger (thank you, breastfeeding) but nowhere near perky-ville anymore. (Oh, how bittersweet life is.) However, I was fortunate enough to nurse my baby for 6+ months, so I’m calling it a win.

I no longer nit-pick my body because I am so proud of all it has achieved. A women’s body is capable, and beautiful, and strong. No matter what size or shape she is. Every “flaw” society sees in me, only reminds me of that amazingly perfect baby girl I have the honor of calling my daughter.

So, to all the mamas out there that are struggling with post-baby body issues, don’t be so hard on yourself. You did an absolutely breathtaking thing. Instead of hating on your body, why don’t we give it a break and say thank you!

Katherine Kring

My name is Katherine Kring, although most people call me Kaile. You can blame my parents for the confusing two name situation. I was born in Lincoln, NE and raised in Minden, a small farming community in central Nebraska. I have adorably, in love parents and two siblings, one older brother and one younger sister. Growing up it was apparent that I was kind of the odd man out. Both of my siblings are very blonde, athletic and competitive...and then there's me. I enjoy singing, theater, speech, writing, and reading. And unfortunately, do not have blonde hair. After high school, I ventured off to the big city of Omaha, NE where my, then boyfriend, was stationed with the Airforce (He is now my Airforce husband and I have since followed him to Ohio.) I attended Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health in Omaha and pursued a career in Respiratory Care. I now get to have the initials RRT after my name because I am officially a Registered Respiratory Therapist. My hubby and I live in Ohio with our two crazy, hyper dogs. We love to binge watch netflix, go antiquing, and travel. I also love my Lord, Jesus Christ and enjoy attending our church and reading my bible.