I am currently on vacation in Hawaii with my 21 month old son and my husband. It’s the first time I’ve worn a bikini since I stopped breastfeeding my son in June. I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize this flabby belly, bulging thighs, and flat breasts staring back at me. This can’t be my body! What happened to the fit young woman I used to be pre-baby!?
At the pool and beach, I see young women on their honeymoons looking perfect and I feel insecure. My husband tells me I still look great, but I don’t feel great. Right after giving birth I was nursing my son so much that I lost more weight than I ever have in my life.
When my friend warned me that after quitting nursing her daughter she gained a lot of the weight back, I didn’t want to believe it. Now I’m two months post- breastfeeding and I’m 10lbs heavier.
Some women nurse and don’t lose the weight and some women can’t nurse and struggle to lose the baby weight. I’m grateful that I was able to nurse my son for 19 months and burn lots of calories. Now it is catching back up with me.
Yesterday as my husband was walking around the condo without his shirt on, I had an epiphany. Why does society celebrate the “dad bod” as something normal and acceptable, but we shame the “mom bod”? Men can rock a big gut as a result of drinking beer and eating poorly and we laugh and applaud it.
On the other hand, women grow a human inside them for 9 months, give birth, and if they are able they nurse or pump for anywhere from 1 month to 36 months or more. And what does society do? We shame women for not losing the birth weight. We judge their stretched out skin, saggy flat breasts, and widened hips. No one celebrates the mom bod!
Well, I’m here to write an ode to the mom bod, because we earned our bodies. We earned every bulge, stretch mark, and sag. We deserve to celebrate our beautiful postpartum bodies! We worked hard to grow our children in our wombs, so why are we shamed for these vessels of life?
This is an Ode to the Mom Bod!
To the saggy skin and stretch marks that once expanded to fit a growing fetus.
To the pancake flat breasts that once swelled with milk to nourish our children.
To hair that fell out of our heads after months of growing thick and luscious.
To the c-section scars, the episiotomies, and vaginal tears that allowed our child to emerge into the world and then make it hard to pee without pain for months.
To the strong arms that carry our babies and the weak bladders that leak when we sneeze.
To the belly buttons that once were an innie and now look like a cave.
To the love handles that bulge above our yoga pants (the only ones that fit now).
To the wide hips, thick thighs, and round butt of a woman who pushed for four hours to get her son out.
Here is to the Mom bod, may it be applauded for its strength, beauty, and power!