In terms of mom bodies, I know I am a little lucky. My incredibly oily skin that cursed me as a teen has made my skin practically invincible to stretch marks. While distributed differently than before pregnancies, I return to pre-pregnancy weight pretty quickly. However, my mom body may look different to the casual observer than it does when I am confronted with they bathroom mirror. I have three children, two of which are rainbow babies. The powerful love I feel for my children, both the ones here and the ones that I never met, are forever etched into my body in very permanent ways.
My babies were headstrong even in the womb and refused to turn correctly, resulting in three C-sections. The deep scar at my bikini line aches occasionally long after the surgeries. There is also a dark pigment line spanning from my pelvic bone to belly button. The pigment ,allegedly, disappears completely after a year or two, but it has not for me in the six years I have been somewhere in the birthing cycle. I have abs somewhere under a thin layer of chub that does not want to leave. If I poke around on my abs, I can feel the district separation between the two sides, which is the direct result of multiple pregnancies.
My breasts are quite literally a shell of their former selves. Multiple pregnancies, plus three rounds of breastfeeding left them… well, a bit deflated. Between milk engorgement and release, I can easily fluctuate an entire cup size in one day. This makes dressing a bit complicated. Do I accommodate inflation or deflation? Can I nurse/pump easily in this?
My hips are naturally a little wider.
I have some pigmentation marks that are a common side effect of pregnancy hormones.
I have a few tiny lines on my face that look to be the result of making “mom disapproval face” and smiling.
But, ironically, I am more comfortable in my skin than ever. If one would have told 25 year old me that I would be completely fine going make-up free daily, I would have said that you had the wrong girl. But here I am, gallivanting all over, with maybe a little mascara and lip gloss (sometimes). And guess what? I actually get complimented frequently on my glowing skin.
I am more conservative with my clothes now, which is probably a side effect of being older and not just being a mom. I will probably never feel confident enough to wear a bikini, but in those alone mirror moments, I am reminded every time I see my imperfect midsection that I carried five little lives inside my “imperfect” stomach and three of those little lives are with me everyday. My C-section scars are reminders of three of the happiest days I will ever have.
My “imperfect” breasts nourished my children exclusively for the first six months of their lives. I will never forget snapshot moments, alone with my girls during the wee hours of the morning, when their sweet little eyes lovingly locked with mine. Those moments are gifts that my body allowed and physical ramifications are gentle reminders of that special, intimate and short time.
The lines on my face reflect my interactions with my family- the love, laughter, teaching, learning. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I think of how trees have their long lives etched on their surface through glorious weather and torrential storms; the combination of this creates such beautiful character.
I exercise and eat healthy (mostly) to keep my body/mind/spirit strong and healthy, but I know my body will never quite look as it did before children. Although, admittedly, I have to remind myself of the gifts I have been given at times. If given the choice, I choose now in a heartbeat. I now have three times the love in my life as I did then.