Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror, shocked at what you see?
You pass by the mirror and take one glance and something catches your eye and makes you stop. Maybe it’s your thinning postpartum hair, or the bags under your eyes, but it hits you like a brick.
Your body is an awkward shape. But you don’t remember it ever looking like that before.
Where has the time gone?
Is that a waddle??
You used to be so adorable, what happened???
These thoughts swirl in your head and in that moment, you really don’t like your postpartum body. Maybe you never have, but especially now.
This happened to me not long after I had my second daughter.
After the initial shock wore off, I forced myself to take another long look in the mirror, hoping to find the ingenue that used to look back at me. As if on cue, my c-section scar, still healing, throbbed gently, reminding me of the beautiful and amazing things my body has gone through over the past several years, most importantly, conceiving, growing, birthing and nourishing two gorgeous and enormous baby girls (close to 9 lbs EACH, and I’m just under 5’0”).
My body is an amazing machine.
I stood there, poking and squeezing bulges of flesh that weren’t there before. Every single scar was once a deep, life threatening wound that has now healed. The loose skin around my midsection reminds me how strong and healthy and big my girls were when they were born. My stained teeth is every cup of coffee I drank when my babies were little and sleep was barely there. These stretch marks? My babies put those there – I earned every single one of THOSE stripes.
(I can do without the developing neck waddle, lol. But self-love is always a work in progress, right? And I still have time to love on it.)
I never thought I would feel this way about my postpartum body.
Our whole lives, women have been taught to hate their looks in an effort by magazines and TV to sell the latest weight loss gimmick/scam, not to mention the ridiculous expectations from the opposite sex. A dumbass once call me fat and deformed because of my misshapen stomach. Another one said “You really need to do something about that scar. It’s really unattractive.” And a fellow actor once asked me why I wasn’t embarrassed by it.
Ignorant deadbeat slugf*ckers. All of them.
It is a damn miracle that I didn’t develop an eating disorder, and believe me, I tried.
Here’s the thing, though: I would have died at birth if I didn’t have that operation. You see, I was born with intestinal malrotation, a congenital birth defect that affects the intestines, causing painful bowel obstructions and can lead to death if not corrected in time.
I survived that sh*t. So why wouldn’t I love my scar? Why wouldn’t I love my c-section scars? I got two babies out of it. It was their doorway to my arms.
This body, all of it, is a miracle.
And you know what else? YOU are a miracle. Every dimple, every stripe and stretch mark, every scar, and yes, even that forthcoming waddle is a marvelous creation. An entity made of so much more than you can even fathom, capable of infinite wonders.
Don’t listen to those monsters telling you otherwise.
Take care of yourself. Feed yourself. Love yourself.
If you are struggling with loving your body through all its transitions, the NEDA website provides this beautiful list of reminders by Margo Maine, PhD to help you through this challenging time.
For more information on Intestinal Malrotation, visit the Intestinal Malrotation Foundation.