Moments of Motherhood: Just love yourself

This week’s Moments of Motherhood is up at the AM News, and in it I discuss how we need to judge ourselves and each other less when it comes to what we look like after giving birth. I’ve talked about it before on the blog, but I thought I’d revisit the topic for my column this week.

Here’s a excerpt:

Quite recently Hollywood actress Jennifer Garner was congratulated on her baby bump. While she admitted that yes, she does have a baby bump, she was quick to note that she is definitely not expecting. Garner reminded everyone that she has three children, so of course she has a baby bump, and it’s not going anywhere.

You read all the time about supposedly expecting celebrities, with pictures of the suspected bumps plastered all over gossip magazines. That’s the paparazzi’s job: to raise speculation and create hype about whichever star seems to be most popular at the time.

Just like in the celebrity world, assumptions are constantly made about women in “real life.” On more that one occasion I have heard personal horror stories from friends who have been asked by strangers when they were due when in fact they have an eight-month old baby at home and becoming pregnant is the last thing on their minds. [continue reading …]

Honour Badge

This is probably going to be the most honest and bravest post I’ve ever posted to the blog without a password on it, even more honest than my Birth Story posts (here and here).

I’m talking about my post-baby body. I’ve thought for a while about whether or not to blog about this, because it’s not something women like to talk about. In a world where appearances are everything, I just feel like I need to get the real picture out there. So here we go …

Let’s start with my general opinion of my body, pre-baby. Growing up, I had always been self-conscience about my body and overall appearance. I had bad acne during puberty and upper lip hair that made me uncomfortable being face-to-face with anyone. I was teased quite a bit, with bullies asking me if I had chicken pox (when I was around 12-years-old) and telling me that I had a thicker moustache than their uncles. Needless to say, my self esteem was lacking during the majority of high school. It wasn’t until puberty passed and I discovered the joys of hair removal cream that I started to feel better about myself.

Luckily, I did have an slim, athletic build going for me thanks to good genes and playing soccer. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I looked pretty damn good in a two-piece bathing suit. That was my only saving grace for the most part; at least I didn’t have to battle with weight issues and be teased about that on top of everything else.

Now, moving onto the present: I knew that when I got pregnant that my body was going to change big time, but I was never certain of how much of a change would happen. It was a 50/50 shot in the dark for how my body would react to being pregnant. With the women on my dad’s side of the family being slightly heavier set and with my mom being petite, I was nervous to see what would happen. As it turns out, I landed somewhere in the middle. I only grew outward belly-wise and was “all baby.” I gained a healthy amount of baby weight and only really showed in my tummy. At the end, my feet swelled to the size of basketballs, but other than that, I was thrilled with the way I looked pregnant.

My biggest worry was stretch marks. I was nervous for if I would get them (my mom didn’t) and how bad they’d be if I did get them. I was also worried about any lingering baby weight that may stick around after baby, because let’s face it, you don’t just gain 25-30lbs and expect it all to go away immediately after you give birth.

Well, I am experiencing both stretch marks and a little bit of a post-baby pooch. The pooch isn’t so bad – it’s slowly going away and I’m sure if I got my ass in gear I’ll be able to get rid of it completely. It’s a million times better than what it was when I first left the hospital, and I’m only a couple pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. The stretch marks however? Not so great. In fact, I’m pretty sure I got more AFTER I had Isla. With that, my hang-up on my body image has returned. In fact, I’m so concerned that they’ll never go away that I’ve started looking at fashionable one-piece bathing suits on Pinterest.

When Kyle seen that I was pinning one-pieces, he asked me why on earth I was doing such a thing. I told him honestly, “In case these damn stretch marks never go away.” He told me not to be so silly, that I should see them as a badge of honour for growing a human and giving birth. And, like always, he’s pretty much right. I did an awesome thing carrying a child for 9 months and bringing her into the world safe and sound, so my mentality should be all, “Yeah, I grew a human, what did you do that was so great, hmm?”

But, I’m not quite there yet. I’m finding it hard to love my body again, although I’m sure it will happen one day. It’s just going to take some time, for sure. I don’t know if the cremes and lotions I put on my skin are going to help, but at least they’re there to try and help.

And now, to be completely ballsy, here’s my post-baby body:

Stretch Marks, left

Stretch marks, tummy pooch and all.

One day I’ll be okay with all of this. Maybe one day I’ll even look like I did back when I was finishing high school. Until then, I’m just going to learn to love my body again and remind myself that all of this, and everything I went through, is a personal badge of honour. No one can tell me otherwise.

What is your personal honour badge?