My team of co-mom bloggers for Columbia SC Moms Blog got together recently to pose for a “Mom Bod” photo shoot, celebrating their beautiful bodacious bodies that have changed and altered themselves to fit their demanding roles as mama bears.
I was unable to participate because I was attending a wedding in Charlotte, which was unfortunate because I wanted to do it so very much.
While getting ready for our friends’ wedding, I had the rare opportunity to have a few hours of quiet in a beautiful hotel room in Uptown Charlotte, NC. As I laid all my make-up and hair items out, I caught a glimpse of myself in my stretched out nursing bra and non-matching thong panties.
And instead of just looking away, I really looked at myself- top to bottom. In a full length mirror that was not at all tilted to be even the slightest bit flattering.
The physical woman that stared back at me was not the same one I remember looking at just a short four years ago. I was 30 years old then … running three-to-five miles a day, practicing hot yoga at least two to three times a week, eating cheese and crackers and a glass of wine for dinner most nights. I was thin, my arms were toned, I looked pretty awesome. Yet, I would obsess about one or two pounds on the scale and complain to my girlfriends about how crappy I looked in a string bikini.
Ummmm … yeah, how things have changed.
I looked closer at my reflection and pondered how much my body has changed since becoming pregnant and giving birth to my beautiful two babies in four years. And what those changes represented in my life.
My hair — It’s still a lovely dark color (thanks to my awesome stylist, Brad!) and has some bounce, but it’s progressively falling out and I had two little bald spots at my forehead. This represents that my baby is 5 months old and that he is growing and healthy – even at the expense of my hair falling out from not shedding for a solid year.
My skin — I have a few more laugh lines around my smile these days. And a few more creases in the middle of my brows. These emotions I feel daily about my kids are so real and intense and they show. So while at 34 I am showing more of my age than I would like, I know I laugh and cry because of two tiny humans that I helped create.
My boobs — They are lopsided. And huge (when I am full of milk). And floppy (after Marshall has nursed). They have fed two children. One for 22 months; one for 5 months and we are going strong. I have forgiven myself for supplementing when I needed to with my son. I am proud of what these lopsided breasts have accomplished. Healthy kids. A super strong bond. Comfort after their shots at the doctor, when they are sick, scared, and of course – hungry.
My arms — A lot more meaty than they used to be. Yes, there is more of them, but I know how much I can carry daily with these two arms. A 30 pound toddler, an 18 pound infant. These arms are the arms that embrace these two tiny souls whenever they need them. They are more because they have to be more. They do more than they used to.
My belly — The abs that I once had are still in there somewhere. They are no longer visible, but with those extra rolls I think about the 18 months I spent growing these amazing creations. It’s extraordinary, really. I am forever proud of those rolls.
My hips — They are curvier and softer than before. They represent a perfect place for my kids to sit and fall asleep. They allow me to carry two at the same time. They accommodated me to give birth. My jeans went up a couple sizes, but that doesn’t matter so much when I think of how many times they have swayed in a figure eight in perfect time to get my fussy baby to sleep.
My butt — It’s bigger, flabbier … no more string bikinis for this mama. It’s alright. My husband still likes to grab it when I am first up the stairs. A reminder that this behind is what I have sat on as I have nursed and rocked my kids and played with them on the floor.
My legs — The vessels of my energy on a daily basis. They are signs of veins that didn’t use to be there, representing the long days of pregnancy while working and trying to wear cute wedge shoes. They are still pretty muscular and I like my slim ankles so I rock my short dresses when I can. But like most moms, I would much prefer yoga pants or maxi skirts. I have bigger thighs these days and there are some signs of jiggliness … but these legs have bolted at the first utter of a cry in the middle of the night to quiet a bad dream. These legs have made me a “horsey” on the living room floor; a partner in “races” in the back yard; and a way for me to bounce a colicky baby for hours to get back to sleep. My legs are awesome.
My feet — They are one of the few things that haven’t changed much … but I know several of my mamas who went up or down a size and spent some grieving time about having to finally get rid of some beloved shoes. I don’t wear heels like I used to, but have found some adorable flats. It’s all about evolving.
And with one smile at my evolved “mom bod,” I realize I am beautifully made. I have been so blessed to have the privilege of being a mommy. And my body hasn’t disappointed me in the least. Yeah, it’s changed … it’s rounder, softer, more squeezeable … but I look at the two little people it allowed to be here on this planet and think “This deserves to be celebrated.”