It has taken me two years to begin to see the beauty in my postpartum body. That vision is still a work in progress, but every day it’s taking shape. Perhaps if I had learned to love my body more as an adolescent or as a younger woman, it would not have taken me so long to reach this moment.
Like so many other women, as I grew up I began to view my body as a collection of problems to be fixed. A lazy eye, crooked teeth, acne, small breasts, cellulite, belly fat…things that still bothered me even when they were “fixed.” While I was pregnant, I loved my body and all of the amazing changes I could see and feel. But in the weeks, months, and years postpartum I began to look with scrutiny and frustration at a rising number on the scale, at a soft belly that hangs over my pants when I sit, at hair that is thinner, at breasts that don’t sit as high after nursing for two years, at hips that won’t zip into my pre-pregnancy jeans.
All that is changing, though. Slowly, I am seeing my body for what it really is:
A womb that was my son’s first and safest home.
The site of my biggest triumph and dream-come-true: the birth of my baby.
The sole source of food for my child for the first six months of his life.
A soft belly that my son playfully tickles and pokes with his fingers.
Two arms that are fortunate enough to hold a baby-now-big-boy every day and every night.
This body is not perfect to me, not yet. But I’m getting there. And it’s perfect to the two people who matter - my husband and my son. It is strength, safety and softness. It is courage, comfort and calm. It is a living tribute to love and life. And in being all of these things, it is showing me daily the quality of mother that I hope to be.
Strong. Soft. Courageous. Loving.
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