I’m just going to say it, having a baby is wild. First of all, your body actually grows a little human for 9 (long) months. In the mentality of pregnancy, we say 9 months like it’s nothing. But in reality that’s 3/4 of an entire year or roughly 270 days, give or take. That’s a very long time in which your body changes, adapts, and stretches to accommodate and protect that sweet blessing. But wait, there’s more. At the end of it all, we are then responsible for literally bringing them into the world. Like I said, wild.
When my precious baby girl (finally) arrived, after 24 very long hours of labor, she was a surprising 9 pounds, 14 ounces and 22.5 inches long. The nurses weighed her twice, in sheer disbelief. I was shocked as well, but also completely delirious and relieved. The hard part was finally over (all of the mamas are welcome to laugh now). Let me backtrack a little, while you’re still laughing at me; growing up I always had a fast metabolism. People would judge my weight and tease me by saying I needed to eat a cheeseburger. The irony was that I did, and could proceed to washed it down with a pizza, without repercussion. So after consistently hearing how thin I looked, or that I needed to put meat on my bones or whatever smart remark people had for me, I truly believed that the way I looked wasn’t appealing. So fast forward back to having my big, healthy babe, my postpartum body felt unrecognizable.
I had literally just brought my beautiful baby into the world but I could not find anything beautiful about myself. Just to be clear, this is not a ‘pity party’, it’s a transparent account of my journey, that will hopefully help another mama out there. So, as a new mom, my world began and ended with my stubborn baby who just would. not. sleep. Months went by and I still hated my body for not bouncing back, like everyone else’s seemed to. Meanwhile, I did not have the energy or will power to work out regularly in order to remedy my ‘mama gut’ or saggy skin. So I continued to despise what I saw in the mirror. I didn’t see my loose skin as a badge of honor for being my baby’s home or feel blessed with the precious ability to even have a child, when I know so many women would have traded me places in a heartbeat. There was no appreciation, just embarrassment. I didn’t wear anything remotely tight because I was so scared of what other’s might think and be disgusted. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have cared about that but it’s hard to take a step back when you’re unhappy with the reflection right in front of you.
So then, when I was a little over a year postpartum, I saw on FaceBook that Royal + Reese was seeking models for their photoshoots. I was NO model, but I had been feeling God speak to me about this company. I had a strong desire to just be a part of it, even in this small way. So I applied. Mind you I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight at this point, but my body was far from back to normal. I still decided to listen to the call and stepped out of my comfort zone. You guys, amazing things truly do happen when we take that step of faith. Now, after working with this company for almost a year, I am currently full time and FINALLY starting to appreciate my new normal. My body is definitely not the same and probably never will be. But I constantly remind myself that there is such beauty in this imperfection. I will forever morn the loss of my good belly button lol but it’s a part of my journey. My body is not flawed, my loose skin (although still not my favorite) is not embarrassing. My body did something totally wild and is here to tell its story.
So if you are a mama who is newly postpartum or even if you are two years post baby, like myself, the first step is giving yourself the tiniest bit of grace. Take a step back and appreciate how stinking awesome you are for creating life. Also, take care of yourself with whatever self care fills your cup and splurge for postpartum pieces that are beautiful. That way your inner beauty is able to shine through. Personally, finding those kinds of tops here at Royal + Reese really helped me find some light during a time that felt so dark. I hope and pray that sharing my long road to appreciation is the tiniest bit helpful to a mama out there, and hopefully makes your journey much shorter than my own. Life is precious and our kiddos need mamas who fully love themselves, so that we can give our best in return.
So in case you need to hear it today; where you’re at, in this moment, is your own beautiful version of ‘normal’.
I am so happy you found your way back to appreciating yourself. Having a baby doesn’t just affect your weight but your mind as well. Happy to have joined this group even if I can’t spend a lot.
Erica thank you for your story. You are beautiful and such a natural at modeling. In reality those people who told you to “go eat a cheeseburger” were most likely jealous. I’m happy that you found a place at Royal and Reese. You are definitely an asset.