“Write on your mirror: ‘I had a baby. I’m a superhero.’” —Kelly Rowland
Seeing yourself for the first time after having a baby can be a beautiful thing. Your body just carried, nourished, and birthed a person. How crazy and beautiful is that?
It can also be jarring, emotional, and lead to a lot of negative self-talk. I could tell you that I loved my postpartum body, that, even though I was still 50lbs heavier, it was beautiful. That I loved all the stretch marks and the scar left from the c-section and second surgery. That I embraced all the puffiness because it led me to my sweet babies.
But, those, my friends, would be complete lies.
I was embarrassed of my body. I didn’t want to go outside. I didn’t want pictures taken of me. I wanted to hide.
Going into my son’s birth I just wanted to prove that my body could birth a baby naturally. That it could bounce back and I could be up and walking within hours. That my body was strong and I was capable.
My expectations were so high and every single thing turned into the complete opposite. My body let me down. It was capable in that it could carry and nourish my baby, but it could not birth a baby naturally and then it couldn’t handle the stress that was put on it during labor. This body that I had tried to be so good to, that I tried to make sure was prepared for this birth, failed. Or that’s how I saw it then.
I have learned so much since then. That expectations will only lead to disappoints. Practice appreciation instead. That just because the birth I experienced wasn’t what I expected, doesn’t mean it wasn’t beautiful. It resulted in a healthy baby boy who is now almost 2. My body did not fail me in nourishing him through the pregnancy and it also didn’t fail in nourishing him after. And I cannot even begin to explain how much I appreciate the nurses, doctors, and staff that cared for me, my husband, and my son. Without them and their diligence, I may not be here today.
So, while my body may have not been the same right after the birth, while I had so much swelling that happened, while I felt exhausted from birthing a baby, healing, and taking care of a newborn, everything turned out ok, amazing even. I lost 30 pounds of water weight in 2 weeks. Six months later, I found a fitness program I love and lost the rest of the weight. I breastfed my baby for almost a year and a half. I have kept two kiddos alive and happy. I have pretty much run our household, while working a baking business at night.
You do not have to sit in the negative. Things will get better. You will get better. Find support, lean into personal development, join a mom’s group, share your story, do whatever it is that makes you feel like you. And then just take it day by day and know that even though it won’t happen overnight, if you put in the work, if you take your goals into your own hands, you can become your happiest, best version of yourself, even after trauma.
Yeah, I think it’s about time I got myself a cape.