I’ve always heard of the term baby weight, but it became even more relevant to me after I became a mother myself. I would always see images on social media and television from commercials to viral posts celebrating a mothers’ body after birth and pointing out how sometimes it’s hard to lose the baby weight, and sometimes it just doesn’t go away and both of those things are okay. In that same sentiment, I would read how it is unnatural and not okay to lose baby weight quickly. Basically in the same wind uplifting one type of body while downplaying another. But what if you lose the baby weight and then some mixed with pre-pregnancy insecurities?
“Mommy, I think you’re pretty like a mermaid”
This was the case for me after I gave birth to both of my daughters. I lost the baby weight fast and each time I hated the way I looked. It was so bad I didn’t even want to look in the mirror or wear certain clothes, such as shorts, because I felt my legs were too skinny. Now, I’ve always been thin so the being skinny wasn’t new to me. I guess it was the fact that my body had changed in structure after giving birth; I just felt different. Growing up in the South, if you were thin you needed to “put some meat on ya bones” or deemed to not be eating, but I was in fact eating, just not putting on weight or enough weight to satisfy others’ opinions. BUT bodies come in all shapes and sizes and the same goes for postpartum bodies, and it took me years of body shaming from others, and even body shaming myself, and having two daughters of my own to realize I should be proud of my body and love it just the way it was. I want to teach my girls to love themselves, but I couldn’t do that if I didn’t love the body that helped to create them.
Truly, I love my girls more than words could adequately explain and I want to set a positive example for them, starting with loving my body. This realization hit me hard one day when I was speaking out loud, unknowingly in front of my four year old, about every thing I did not like about my body. My daughter stopped me and said, ” Mommy, I think you’re pretty like a mermaid.” Those eight little words from the mouth of a child stood with so much meaning in that moment. I felt like I was finally seeing myself for the first time and it was through her eyes.
Mainly from what I see, today’s body climate is all about natural bodies and curves, which is beautiful, but I feel sometimes people are unaware that thin people can be insecure because insecurities do not discriminate. The mind can play crazy tricks on self image, especially a postpartum one, and as cheesy as it may sound, we have to love ourselves the way we are. It’s not going to be all rainbows and butterflies; I still struggle a little and have my days, but we made life with our bodies and whether you lost the baby weight or are still trying to, it doesn’t take away from the fact that you made a baby with your body.