This was my hardest and easiest pregnancy all wrapped into one.* All things considered, it was easy because I had minimal “side effects.” Don’t hate me, but I had little-to-zero heartburn, I’ve been pretty much sleeping through the night (with the exception of getting up to pee a lot more now), and disregarding the first trimester where I was always nauseous, and these last few days before I give birth where life drags on FOREVER; I’ve felt relatively good the whole time.
On the flip side, this pregnancy was harder for me emotionally and physically. Adding 40 pounds onto a body that never lost the first two babies’ weight, and already needed to lose weight on top of that is TOUGH. I’ve been out of breath, aching, moaning, and groaning for far too long, and I’ve had a really hard time with just how big I got. (Upon reflection, a 10-pound baby has to fit somewhere!)
So what does one do when they’re 36 weeks pregnant and feel totally uncomfortable in their skin? They take off their clothes and bare all of their flaws in front of a camera, of course.
I’m so thankful for the San Diego Moms Blog for initiating their Mom Bod project, because without it, I’m pretty positive I would’ve continued to hide under my maternity yoga pants and oversized LulaRoe shirts. I signed up to participate the second I heard about it, and my initial reason for saying, “YES!” was because of my girls. I want them to see someone who loves herself even if the world may say that I should hide behind my clothes.
Then I realized that we all have different bodies and different insecurities; goodness knows I’m riddled with self doubt and negative thoughts, but doing this helped me remember why I love my body…flaws and all.
I encourage you to read the Mom Bod posts, and celebrate each woman who bravely stood up for their bodies, and then come back here and read a little more into my story. We could only share a snippet with you over there, but I, of course, had more to say!
With that said, this is where I’m at. This.Is.Me; all of me. And instead of hiding behind it and feeling shame for not losing weight beforehand, I’m choosing to love my mom-bod—squish all over, stretch marks swimming across my entire torso, a second chin, short legs, and everything else. And do you know why I choose to embrace it? Because this body—my mom bod produced two gorgeous girls, and is keeping their little brother safe and sound until his birth day.
It’s when I thought about my girls that I realized I had to do this. My perfect, impressionable, young daughters who haven’t been subjected to the world and its lies yet; I thought about how I’d want them to see me, how they do see me, how I want them to see themselves, and how I hope they’ll view other women.
They see me as, “Mama.” I’m their safeguard and their hope. They see me as the one who’s always there for them. They don’t see my faults, and they don’t judge me. They don’t see my stretch marks as ugly. Nope. My husband told my oldest once that they’re my “Tiger Stripes,” so whenever she looks at my belly she rubs her hands over them and wants to know the story about them—she wants to know her story, and I tell her that the stripes grew as she grew in me, and that she will always be part of me, and then I point out all the new ones and how they are from her siblings.
People try to stop stretch marks from appearing, they try to cover them up when they’re there, and then women try everything under the sun to make them disappear, but honestly? I love mine. They tell the story of my kids and my life.
Did you know you can grow horizontal stretch marks? I didn’t know that until last week when they started spreading across my belly—a new story about the little boy I’m carrying. These stretch marks—my tiger stripes—are not ugly. They’re beautiful, and they remind me that I carried three kids past 40 weeks, and that I’m stronger than I ever thought I was.
As women we all have insecurities, but I hope this Love Your Mom Bod project will, in fact, help other women—other moms—to love their body just as it is right now.
*Photos taken at 36 weeks; post written at 39 weeks
Special thanks to Melissa Tara Photography, Crystella Photography, Mint Studio, and the San Diego Moms Blog for making this project become a reality.