When you’re pregnant, people praise you for gaining weight. When you’re pregnant, people pay no attention when you finish a jar of peanut butter (well, they might, but you don’t care). When you’re pregnant, that bump under your shirt is glorious.
When you’re no longer pregnant, people still ask you about your weight, but in a much different way. “How is your post-pregnancy diet going?” “Remember, breastfeeding will help you lose that baby weight faster.” I hate those people. I really do. And when you’re no longer pregnant, you still dream of peanut butter but now people stare at you when you dip your spoon into the jar (those people are not your friends because those who can resist peanut butter are not worth your time, your friend is in that jar – damn, I love peanut butter – what were we talking about again?) Oh yea…. When you’re no longer pregnant, that “bump” is the now your stretched skin that I like to refer to as my pregnancy pouch. It’s a terrible bastard that is harder and harder to hide.
Since being cleared to work out again, I’ve spent as much time as possible sweating at the gym, running/walking on the trail every chance I get, and that jar of peanut butter has gone untouched. That poor poor jar, sad and lonely. (Guys, do you think I have a peanut butter problem – no, I didn’t think so – ok moving on). And now that I’m under my pre-pregnancy weight, I look back at these past few weeks, my hard work, my strength to skip dessert, and stare at my post-pregnancy, under pre-pregnancy weight body and think to myself – “Wow, so not worth it.” Despite my hard work, I still have the pouch, I still have those sneaky stretch marks that didn’t show up until week 40 (sneaky jerks), and while I can fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans, my muffin top spills over the top. And honestly, once you have worn maternity jeans, there really is no going back. Let me paint a picture – these are jeans that hug you in the best places but feel like sweat pants! It’s AMAZING. Oh, and of course, it is now officially summer, meaning that I can’t hide those unwanted rolls under a bulky sweater – well I could, but the smell of poop is usually close by, I would prefer not to add in my own stink (though I could probably just blame it on the baby as well – I’ll have to keep that in mind).
Oh, and of course I’m now bombarded with ads about losing baby weight fast, stroller running groups, and classes that will “bounce my body back.” Can we just stop assuming our bodies will bounce back, because here’s the honest truth – THEY WONT! You’re body is COMPLETELY different. You grew a human (or in some cases, multiple humans)! Your organs were moved, your skin was stretched, and your uterus grew to crazy sizes to ensure this human had enough room. Then, after all of the stretching and growing, you birthed that baby either by pushing it with all of your might or having major surgery. None of this is easy – NONE.
You’re lucky that I can still walk the dog after all of that!
So, since having Abby, I’ve been trying to love myself more to teach her that she should love herself. I want her to be confident, even if I haven’t always been. And if someone puts her down, I want her to raise her head high and walk away (and flip them off as she walks away if she’s anything like her mother).
Here’s to loving your stretch marks, embracing your scars (both physical and emotional) and not caring if someone stares as you eat from that jar of peanut butter. You deserve that peanut butter!