I hope you enjoyed Part I and Part II of my Body Beautiful series. I asked moms everywhere to accept the beautiful bodies they have been given through pregnancy and child birth. During this process friends kept asking me why I wasn’t posing in front of the camera and including my own post partum body. Well, I didn’t want this project to be about my image, I wanted it to be about the journey’s. I thought I’d offer a more intimate look at my post partum body acceptance journey by sharing my story and how I got here.
Nearly five years ago I stood in my bedroom and cried. I was only a few months post partum, but this was the first time I had looked at my body. I was so big during my pregnancy with twins that I couldn’t see the stretch marks forming. Now they were bright red lines stretching out like lines on a map. I was also left with a C-section scar and what most twin moms are lucky to receive, the “twin skin.” That’s a nice roll of skin that will never snap back into place and so it just kind of hangs off of your mid section. I was feeling pretty powerless.
My husband walked in just as I was in the moment of taking it all in. I covered myself up quickly because I didn’t want him, or anyone else to see me like “this.” He asked me what was wrong and I told him, “I am hideous now.” Then he stepped closer and said, “show me.” I wasn’t prepared for what he said next. He looked me in the eye and said, “how could you ever think this isn’t beautiful? This was our babies first home. It kept them safe and healthy.” I was absolutely stunned. So stunned I stopped to really soak in what he said.
Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just flip a switch and suddenly love my body. But, that moment is the touch stone that keeps me on this path of acceptance. I worked my body hard after having the twins. Despite five months of bed rest and a painful year of physical therapy I made myself lose the baby weight and then some. I felt accomplished. But really what did I accomplish? There wasn’t a trophy or award handed to me. No pat on the back with “atta girl.” What I accomplished was satisfying everyone else’s expectations of what I was supposed to look like after having children. I mean every mom is supposed to make it her mission to lose the baby weight, right? I started to really wonder where that pressure comes from.
People made comments about how I looked good “for having twins.” I wondered what they would say if I only had one baby at a time. Did their comment mean I didn’t look as good as my singleton mommy counter parts? Did they mean I look healthy after coming through medical complications and a major surgery? Did they mean I looked great now because I looked like a giant whale before?
Maybe I don’t have the time in my day to really focus on my flaws like I did before having children. Or, maybe since turning 40 I am just tired of listening to my inner critique. I’ve gained a bit more wisdom about what’s really important in life. I don’t really care that I now weigh more than I did right after having kids. I don’t really care for people’s judgement of my body because they don’t know the story behind my body. They don’t know how fit I used to be, or how months of bed rest reversed all of that hard work. They don’t know what my body has lived through and survived. I don’t really need them to know either.
So go ahead world, judge away. What you see on the outside isn’t a reflection of the love and care I’ve given to my body to be able to create two healthy and amazing little humans. It isn’t equal to how big my heart is, how generous I am, how much I love to laugh or how much I love my children. I’ve always had a “love me or leave me” attitude. So, if someone isn’t going to love you for the person you are (not the body you are)… just let them leave.
The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here, Find her two party Body Beautiful project here and here.
Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy