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I'm nearly 30 pounds heavier than I was on my wedding day. Since having three kids, my weight has gone up, my boobs have dropped down, and I've got a fantastically massive C-section scar — as well as an overhang of skin, fat, and dead muscles tissue dangling over it — that will never go away unless I surgically remove it.
I think it's safe to say that I have not "bounced back."
Today's body is not the body I had when I was 16. Not the body I had in my 20s or 30s, either. But it's the only body I have and it's time to accept that this "post-pregnancy body" is perfect JUST THE WAY IT IS.
I am so sick or hearing how something must be wrong with moms who haven't bounced back. How we should do everything in our power to get back to how we looked before. How if we don't lose the weight we will never be happy. Never get our old identity back.
Never be ME again.
What an utter load of horse shit!
For one, I am always ME, just like you are always YOU. Whether you are fat, skinny, eating cake or running a marathon, who else are you going to be?
Secondly, my identity — who I am and what makes me happy — comes from many aspects of my life, not just my looks.
Sure, my looks matter to me and I put some effort into looking semi-reasonable (mainly for the benefit of others, 'cause let's face it, if we all lived on deserted islands, none of us would bother waxing our legs or wearing high heels). But at the same time, I don't see the point in investing that much time into something that in the grand scheme of things — doesn't really matter.
And why shouldn't we love our bodies JUST THE WAY THEY ARE?
These extraordinary badass bodies, that created and grew beautiful humans inside them. These bodies, that for nine months expanded like balloons, stretched and grew, and allowed NEW LIFE to start.
When you think about it, is it really so surprising that our post-pregnancy bodies look so differently than how they looked before?
Some people may think that my body is unattractive because it's not the "perfect" body according to fashion and celebrity standards, but I can assure you that my post-pregnancy body can kick ass any day of the week.
This body that carried two pregnancies, survived childbirth, preeclampsia, produced milk, kept going for months with just a few hours of sleep at night — this body that can push a double buggy up a hill IN THE SNOW while dragging a screaming toddler on their scooter. This queen of a body that juggles a career and home life, this ninja body that is also soft and comforting, that gives the best hugs ever, that runs, plays, laughs, and has fun. This superhero of a body is capable of so much more than just looking "pretty" or being thin, or having a tight ass and perky boobs.
This body is real.
It has scars, stretch marks, and it sometimes hurts. It's tired and often needs a time out. It does not look like one of those airbrushed bodies that cover beauty magazines and it never will. But it is also joyful and full of life. It's sexy and passionate, and it rocks my husband's world. It's silly and funny, it sweats and farts, and sometimes even smells.
Now don't get me wrong, of course there are areas in my body I don't love, and there are things I would like to change. I sometimes toy with the idea of getting my boobs done and I think about how nice my tummy would look if I had a tummy tuck. I know that I could lose weight if I went to the gym more often and ate less cake. But the truth is that I know that no matter how I look, no matter how big, small, fat, floppy or tight my body is, my body tells a story — MY story.
And more importantly — IT WORKS!
In today's pop culture world, people put too much emphasis on looks and totally forget functionality. People speak about positive body image, but don't realize that the only way to really promote that is by focusing on what our bodies can DO rather than what they LOOK like.
Our bodies can do so much: run, climb trees, tickle, kiss, swim, roll on the grass, lift up, lay down, dance, hug, have sex, think, feel, smell, laugh, love, speak, hear, shout, cry …
Our bodies can do all those things and more — how amazing is that? Does it really have any significance how small our waists measure? Does it actually improve our lives in any meaningful way if we bounce back in record time?
No. Just no.
Some moms find it easy to lose the weight, some struggle. The point is that this should not define us. Not as moms, not as women, and not as humans.
I have no doubt that the people who love us don't give a shit about what we look like in a bikini, or how much cellulite we have on my thighs. They don't care what size dress we're in or if we're wearing skinny jeans instead of yoga pants.
All they care about is that we are happy.
It has taken me a long time to realize that if I don't stop giving a fuck I will miss out on so much in life. It has taken many years of self-doubt to discover that life is too short to avoid cake, or ice cream , or swims in the ocean with my kids just 'cause I don't look super hot in a swimsuit anymore.
I am done trying to bounce back or change how I look. THIS is my body — deal with it!