After a long day of toddler tantrums, newborn nursing, and general life as I know it, I took a hot shower a little after midnight.
I wrapped up my hair in a towel and grabbed my toothbrush, trying to get ready for bed. When I did, I noticed my naked body in the mirror.
This article is a part of the postpartum mom series.
Scarred, stretched, sagging, and wrinkly, each part of my body that made me a mom sadly stared back ay me like I shouldn’t be staring. I counted my stretch marks and worried about my weight. I looked at the thousands of loose hairs that lined the trash can and felt the anxiety of what it means to be a mother on my shoulders.
But all I could really think about in the moment was that I wish I could have taken a photo of my pre baby body. Nothing fancy or risqué, but something raw and honest like what I was looking at in that moment. But why?
It was those sad stares that my body was making that made me feel proud of my post pregnancy body.
It was the scar on my lower abdomen from my emergency c-section that announced I had tried, failed, and overcome.
It was the countless stretch marks littering my hips and stomach that proclaimed I was victorious in having a home birth VBAC and that I was strong enough.
It was the belly button that used to be so tiny, I could hide it with my finger that was now bigger than my thumb that reminded me my body was a life line to previous generations and to my own babies.
It was the pen ink that was doodled across my upper thigh that showed me my body was a canvas of creativity in the moment of silly fun.
It was the sagging boobs that declared I had been nursing for 2.5 years straight and even surpassed my goal of two years of breastfeeding.
It was the lopsided breast that quietly reminded me I was tandem nursing two.
It was the flat and fallen right foot that subtly whispered I had overcome a hard pregnancy and would be a time in my life I would never forget.
It was the wrinkly skin across my stomach that told perfection does not lie in the flawless, but in the journey that grows us… or in this case that grows my kids.
In the end, the self-conscious spirit I had been holding onto for days, weeks, and months was all shattered in an instant with pride for the billboard my body has become. I thought back to who I used to be and the body I used to wear. And while my clothes may not fit anymore, neither does the skin of my former self. And in that moment I reflected on the beauty of what it means to be a mother.
My body is the roadmap of how far I’ve come, how I have grown, and who I am today. So while I wish I would have taken a picture of my pre-baby body, it’s not because I truly miss it. It’s because I have found an appreciation of my body now that I never knew then.
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!