loving your postpartum body.
Putting yourself out there is tough. Putting yourself in a vulnerable position in front of endless eyeballs on the internet is even tougher.
Let's cut to the chase - my body postpartum is not what it was a year ago, and it certainly is not what it was 2 years ago. We grow our babies for what feels like forever and once they're born, we have these brand new bodies. That look different than what they used to, feel different than what they used to, and don't bounce back quite like they used to.
Today I ran for the first time in 6 months. I ran throughout most of my pregnancy and I mostly stayed pretty active. Even with eating healthy, moving my body every single day of pregnancy (and thinking strong thoughts to prevent the dreaded extra pounds and stretch marks - hey, when you're doing everything else right, a little good juju can't hurt), I'm still carrying an extra 15 pounds that I was not a year ago.
But - a year ago, these stretch marks and extra pounds would've made me want to cry. I would've survived on salad, Diet Coke, (wine), and many, many hours spent on the elliptical and running in pursuit of toning myself.
I don't look the same way I did when I was 24. My body has created life. My body sustained life for 9 months and somehow managed to birth that life. Over a year ago, looking at my body in this state would have reduced me to tears. Now, I see hands to soothe Cal's cries, a patient and loving heart, a (*little bigger) lap to perch my most prized possession on, and a belly that somehow stretched large enough to carry his little body for 9 months. I see my son and the beautiful being my body created when I look in the mirror. I don't see each stretch mark or extra pound. Becoming a mother brings with it a different perspective. I value my body for all it endured to create my (perfect) son and I don't nitpick each thing when I happen to glance in the mirror.
When I strapped my running shoes on and took off today, I valued it. I valued the time spent in solitude. I valued the way it felt to move in that manner again. I valued my bum knee for carrying me through that first postpartum run and carrying all the extra weight I gained during my pregnancy. I valued enjoying the fresh air and the time spent in nature. I valued the time to reflect on my day. A year ago I would've told you I loved to run; which would have been the truth. But I also would've told you I enjoyed it as an easy way to lose weight and tone your muscles. Is this a perk? Yes. But it is not at the forefront of my mind like it once was.
Am I going to keep running and do I want to lose the weight and gain the muscle back? Absolutely. But it is okay. It's okay to value your body for the beautiful thing it has done and to give yourself a little credit.
Be kind to yourself mamas. You've created these beautiful little creatures that love you so, so much. Extra pounds and stretch marks included.