You know how when that Justin Timberlake song “Bringing Sexy Back” came out, and everyone went around saying “I wasn’t aware that it left”? No? Just me? Ok then.
Well, that’s how I feel when people say things about getting their body “back” after having a baby. INCLUDING my Mother in Law who told me I really should be working on regaining my girlish figure.
Look, I, like most women in our patriarchal BULLSHIT society, have a complicated relationship with my body. Sometimes I think I look ok, good even! Other times I despair over this or that, and feel like I’m not fit for polite society. Then came infertility and a miscarriage, and I started to truly hate my body, because I felt like it had betrayed me and killed my child. Healthy, no?
Pregnancy was strange for me. I watched in a kind of fascinated horror like my body was an out of control science experiment. A Frankenstien, if you will. I gained weight, and that was OK because I was supposed to gain weight, for the first time in my life. All told, I gained about 40 pounds, a little more than the “recommended average,” but that was OK. Not only did I grow a baby bump (obviously), but I rounded out all over. My face filled out, my arms grew plump, and my ass curved and filled out my jeans in a way it never has before.
Once Ellie was born, I was pretty shocked with how I looked and felt. I was still plump and swollen, my boobs were rock hard and freakin’ HUGE and my stomach felt heavy and jiggled like I was pregnant with the world’s largest bowl of jello.
I lost “the baby weight” pretty quickly. I felt enormous pressure to do so, mostly from family. And now I actually weigh 7 pounds less than I did before I was pregnant. But you know what? My body isn’t “back.” I feel deflated and soft. My stomach is a lot softer than it used to be, and my pants don’t really fit the same way. My breasts are softer, and after Ellie eats they sag. My nipples are bigger and darker. I have the dreaded “mom butt.” Stretch marks cover my stomach, hips, and breasts.
So will my body ever again look like it did before I was pregnant? Probably not. I would be lying if I said I was totally comfortable with that fact. I’m trying to work on making positive changes for my body – becoming stronger, building muscle, etc. – in the hopes that I’ll come to terms with my new body and learn to love it the way I never loved it pre-baby.