Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

What do you get when you add stretch marks, loose skin, an umbilical hernia, and ab separation together? 

If you guessed “my stomach” you would be correct! 

Before pregnancy, I wanted flat and defined abs and exercised to get them: planks, side planks, crunches, day after day of 5-minute ab videos on YouTube. Flat and defined abs made me feel strong, made me feel beautiful. The month before I found out I was pregnant, I bought a crop topmy first ever!to wear with my black, high-waisted jeans. I wore it once before the first trimester bloating and discomfort pushed it to the back of my closet. 

RELATED: The Body I’ve Always Wanted – Size Mom

My pregnancy was uncomplicated, but my daughter shocked us by weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces at birth. After I delivered her, I hemorrhaged. I spent the first night she was alive in the ICU, recovering from emergency surgery that did, thankfully, stop my bleeding. 

Some moms talk about how strong they feel after they have delivered a baby. I could not relate to those moms.

I was weaker than I had ever been. I could not walk from the living room to the bedroom without losing my breath. I needed help lifting my baby, feeding my baby, and doing anything around the house. I drank daily beet and spinach smoothies to boost my iron counts because I had lost so much blood in the hospital. 

I regained my strength. After five weeks, I was able to start taking care of my daughter by myself. Breastfeeding and daily walks helped me lose the pregnancy weight. But my stomach still looked like a warzone. 

RELATED: I’ll Take my Post Baby Body Any Day

Some moms talk about how strong they feel after they have delivered a baby. 

I cannot relate to those moms.

I still go on walks and occasionally do and squats and lift light weights for my arms, but it has been four years since I have done a 5-minute abs video on YouTube. The thought of doing crunches with an umbilical hernia makes my heart race. My stomach has deflated naturally, but to say it resembles my pre-baby stomach would be untrue. Very, very untrue. On a recent trip to see my parents, I saw a picture of myself, taken when I was 18, in a purple and green Target bikini.

I remember that body, I thought.

And then I put my hands on my stomach, the stomach that has stretch marks now, and loose skin, and the umbilical hernia, and ab separation. 

I smiled.

The day my daughter was born, I was given a fresh pair of eyes. The new eyes see that life is short, that nothing is guaranteed, that I can think I am in control one minute, and the next minute control is ripped out of my still-clenched hands. With my fresh pair of eyes, I am also able to see the beauty in battered bodies. Specifically, in my battered body. It is a reminder that I grew a baby, that I delivered a baby, that my nurse told my husband when they rushed me to surgery the first priority was to save my life. It is a reminder that I survived. 

RELATED: My Scar Reminds Me He is Faithful in Unexpected Ways

My daughter just celebrated her third birthday. We ate hot dogs and cake and then she took her tricycle outside, pedaling up and down our street until long past her bedtime. I thought about how I pushed her on the park swing when she was a baby, steamed and blended carrots and potatoes and peas for her to eat, held her hand when she was learning to walk, let her go so that she could run, taught her to say “love you” and “mommy” and “thank you” and “please.”

My battered body did all of that. 

Maybe I am strong, after all. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Emily Garcia

Originally from Texas, Emily L. Garcia is a wife and mom living in northern Mexico. You can usually catch her with a book in her hands during nap time. Emily writes at, and you can also find her on Facebook ( or Instagram(@EmilyLGarciaWrites).

A C-Section Mom Simply Needs You to Hear Her Story

In: Baby, Motherhood
Newborn baby crying in doctor's hands

As an expecting mother, I was told all about the sleepless nights. People made sure to give their opinion on whether I should bottle feed, breastfeed, or exclusively pump. I was told which swaddle to buy, which sound machine worked best, and when to introduce a pacifier. They told me about sleep training but that it really didn’t matter because I wouldn’t get any sleep anyway. Whenever I would mention how scared I was to give birth, I’d always get the same response: oh. honey, don’t worry, your body will know what to do. I remember listening to calming meditations...

Keep Reading

Feed Them—and Other Ways To Help NICU Parents

In: Baby, Motherhood
Parents holding hands of premature baby in NICU

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about our reality as NICU parents to a healthy, brilliant NICU graduate. Our child was born very prematurely and spent weeks in the NICU so he could grow and stabilize. My first experience as a mother of a baby was shattered in so many ways. Trauma still lingers, but I am so grateful for all I have learned from our time beside our little baby in his isolette bed. One thing I learned was that some people who really want to help support NICU parents really don’t know how they can. Here are some...

Keep Reading

From Baby to Boy

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler boy asleep with legs tucked under his belly

The sweet snuggles and sighs are slowly making way for more crawling climbing and exploring each day. And just when I think my baby is gone, you snuggle into my chest, convincing me I’m wrong. I watch as you excitedly chase after your sis and giggle as you share with me your slobbery kiss. RELATED: They Tell You To Hold the Baby, But No One Warns You How Fast He Grows Daytime hours bring playful adventures as I watch my baby leave, but then a sleeping bum curled in the air makes me believe that these cherished baby moments haven’t...

Keep Reading

Having Two Under Two Was the Best Decision I Ever Made

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler and newborn lying next to each other on a bed

My baby was 14 months old when I found out I was pregnant with baby number two. He had just learned how to walk, still requiring me to walk behind him holding both of his hands above his head so he wouldn’t topple over. In other words, my baby was still very much a baby, and I couldn’t believe I’d be adding another baby to the mix. Excited, but mostly terrified, I researched and read more articles than I can count on what it’s like to be a parent of two under two. These articles more often than not use...

Keep Reading

I Thought Failure to Thrive Meant I Was Failing

In: Baby, Motherhood
Baby drinking bottle, color photo

Failure. That’s all I read. It’s all I saw. It was the only thing I could focus on. I’m sure the doctor said it at some point during the appointment, but it wasn’t until it was right there staring at me in black and white that it clicked . . . “failure to thrive.” I was officially failing my daughter. A couple of years down the road, I now realize how irrational and far from the truth that was, but at the time, it was all I could focus on. I wish more than anything that they had a better,...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

New Mama, It Might Not Be Okay Now but It Will Be

In: Baby, Motherhood
New baby looking at camera, black and white image

It was 2:30 in the morning, I was sitting on the bed with tears streaming down my face, my 7-week-old son crying in my arms. Everything hurt—my engorged breasts, my cracked and bleeding nipples, my back where I had taken two epidurals. It hurt to sit, not only from birth but from the stitches, and I was tired. “It’s okay,” my husband said, rubbing my back in small conciliatory circles, but it wasn’t okay. When they placed my son in my arms for the first time I cried tears of joy, made promises for the future, bolstered by the love I...

Keep Reading

“Please Help Mommy to Be Patient, and the Baby to Stay Alive in Her Tummy.”

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
Toddler with hand on mother's pregnant belly

“Please help Mommy to be patient, and the baby to stay alive in her tummy.” It was my little girl’s daily prayer during my pregnancy. That prayer for patience—it stung a bit even though I had told her she could pray that I would be patient. It wasn’t necessarily that she or her sisters were testing my limits, but this pregnancy rage had gotten to be a real thing. If there is one thing motherhood has taught me, it’s that I can’t do it on my own. I need the help of my Heavenly Father, and I need others. I...

Keep Reading

I Know I’m Done, but I’ll Always Want Another Baby

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother touches nose to baby's smiling face, close up color photo

I was sorting clothes into tubs to donate, consign, or keep for my 1-year-old, and I came across a newborn outfit amongst a bunch of bigger kid clothes. I had gotten rid of all of my 1-year-old son’s newborn and infant things last year, but he still seems small and baby-like to me, compared to my 5-year-old. But I’m telling you, when I held up that teeny-tiny outfit, my heart broke. It looked too small to be real. To fit anything other than a doll. But, it did. My older son wore it on his first Christmas. I know I’m...

Keep Reading

I Lost You Just as I Started Loving You

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
first trimester ultrasound image of baby

I didn’t know I was already losing you just as I was starting to love you. I didn’t know while I was so excited and hopeful for all the things to come, you were already leaving my body. And my heart. I didn’t know something like this could happen in what feels like both an instant and an eternity. That it would feel like it was just yesterday we saw those two pink lines and yet here we are, eight weeks later, without even an ultrasound picture to hold. I didn’t know how angry it would make me that life...

Keep Reading