Taking a step toward appreciating my mom-bod
My twin boys and I ventured to the annual airshow this weekend. We waited atop a hill in a park near our local air force base anxiously waiting to see fighter planes do killer stunts. I wanted to see my boys’ faces light up with amazement. Instead, we saw one plane do a loop-de-loo, and then there was a long intermission. The boys passed the time playing in the dirt, and seemed as happy with this as anything. I chatted with a lovely family spectating nearby. After giving up on my dream of seeing the boys light up with amazement at the sight of nose-diving jets, I packed it in and said goodbye to the kind family. As I sauntered down the hill with my two boys in tow, the grandmother called out, “By the way, you are in great shape, especially for having twins not that long ago.” It was such a nice compliment. I responded in my usual self-deprecating way, going on and on about how my twin boys were born full-term and wrecked my stomach… it would never be the same…blah, blah, blah.
But today, as I loaded the boys into their car seats, it occurred to me that a simple thank you would have done. Why do I always highlight my insecurities? I’m sure its human nature. And even more importantly, why am I so insecure about my stomach of all things? Sure, I have diastasis recti and have been asked if I am pregnant when indeed it was just the dreaded “mommy tummy.” Yes, I absolutely have inches of loose skin. And, yeah, my belly button still sticks out a bit. But you know what? I carried my three sons in that body. I carried my twins full-term. My hip-less, small frame carried two beautiful boys to 38 weeks. I carried them strongly. I had very few problems and maintained decent energy throughout the pregnancy. They were born weighing 7 and 6 pounds. That is 13 pounds of babies, two placentas, and bunch of amniotic fluid. Miles and Denver came out so vibrant and healthy. They were quick to nurse, and strong-spirited at birth. My body carried two beautiful humans at the same time for nearly 10 months. That truly is a miracle.
So today it occurred to me that my body is not flawed. It is changed. It is changed, and it is miraculous. These two things can co-exist. They should co-exist.
I have spent so much time and energy since the boys’ birth cursing my stomach, pinching the skin that dangles, examining it from every angle, wearing mom tankinis to cover up the wreckage, or judging an outfit’s wearability not by how cute it is, but by how pregnant it will make me look.
After the airshow, I met up with some friends for a backyard workout. As the twins ran around, my friend said, “I can’t believe how big they are now. I remember when you were pregnant and just huge. I just saw that picture of you the other day and I couldn’t believe how grotesquely large your stomach was.” The timing of this conversation was perfect. He was right. I certainly was huge. I took a moment to reflect on where my body had been only two short years ago. I laughed as I remembered strangers coming up to me in Target telling me that my pregnant belly looked painful. If I had a dime for every time someone asked if I was going into labor, when in fact I was barely six months pregnant, I’d open a charity selling shoes made from the earth with proceeds going to physical therapy to help women who pee themselves after child bearing. But seriously, by the end of my twin pregnancy, I could barely reach the steering wheel. In this moment, I felt proud remembering how strong my body was carrying those babies. This vessel I walk around in each day IS truly amazing. Carrying my children was the single most challenging task I have ever asked of my body.
I’m not saying I will never look at my body with a furrowed brow adorned on my face. I can’t say that I won’t pinch my lose skin and wish it were less…dangly. I will most certainly poke my belly button back in and try to remember what my washboard abs and innie belly button looked like. I think I sort of remember it being amazing. Will I still be my own harshest critic? Absolutely. I will always strive for better—to be better, to work harder. But I will also celebrate it—this body of mine. It is a body of a mother. It created three beautiful lives. I fed three children with milk that my very clever body made. It gave me the most precious gifts. After all, I am a mother thanks to this body.
So yeah, today I am going to tell my inner critic to f-off. And thank you grandma lady. My body is pretty freaking awesome. Awesome, indeed!
I’d love to see your pregnant belly pictures! Let’s celebrate what our bodies accomplished!