I had a baby. Scratch that; I had three babies. And in my current state, I no longer recognize my own body.
When I look in the mirror, I see the baby weight that I still want so desperately to lose. I see the differences in every inch of my body. When I look in the mirror, I see the stretch marks. I see the angry, loose skin over my c-section scar. I hate it. Better yet, I despise it. My clothes don’t fit like they used to and I’m constantly tucking my ‘mom tummy’ back into my pants. I look in the mirror and I’m depressed at what I see.
And then, just when I’m feeling like I’m stuck in the depths of my despair, I feel a little ‘pat,’ ‘pat’ on the back of my leg. I turn around to see my smiling 11 month old who reaches her perfect little arms up at me, just waiting for me to pick her up.
It sounds silly, but at that moment all of the vanity-driven insecurities instantly disappear. This sweet little thing, that knew me from the inside first, will look at me with love no matter how many stretch marks are lined on my stomach.
So, I ask you: how do you want your children to remember you?
Twenty or thirty years from now, when they’re full grown, what will they say about you? In my head, it would go something like this.
My mother was strong. She was driven, she kept us in line but she loved on us every single second of the day. Her world revolved around us and my childhood was filled with so many amazing experiences; and my mom was there to capture and enjoy them all.
This is the thing.
How much I weigh or how confident I feel in my clothes will never matter to my children. They never knew my pre-baby body and what difference would it make in the end anyway?
I spend my days leading fitness classes that are geared towards pre and post natal moms. I’m there, I’m in it. I’m surrounded by moms just like me. And I know this feeling of insecurity is not one that is just mine. It’s all mothers. We throw around the words “thunder thighs” and “muffin top” without really considering what this is doing to our psyche, let alone the offensive vocabulary that we are inherently teaching our children.
We shame our bodies; the very bodies that were capable enough to grow a precious baby within. Why do we belittle ourselves down to mere physical appearance? When do we say enough is enough? Where do we draw the line?
I’m calling for an end, mama. We, as mothers, are so much more than this.
You are beautiful. You carry a piece of your children in your heart every single day. You are strong. Your body stretched and expanded for 9 months before your precious baby was laid in your arms. You are a warrior. You fight day in and day out for the health and happiness of your children.
You are, as my husband likes to call it, ‘the MVP of the family.” Your children love you for all the love that you give them, not because of the way that you look or the number on a scale.
So, what do we do mama? We become the ‘Mama Warrior.’ We breathe it and we live it.
Treat your body well. Nourish it, be kind to it and be kind to yourself. Teach your children what it means to be confident in your own skin. Spend time on you. Go shopping for yourself. Go out with your friends. Make a date with your husband.
Rediscover YOU. That hobby you forgot about the second you had a baby? Re-invest in it. Find your passion. Try a new hairstyle. Take more pictures with your children without hiding behind them. Smile more.
Let your Mama Warrior free. Let her shine. This season of life might be challenging, but life passes by too quickly for you not to live as the very best version of ‘you.’ Let’s help to create a culture of mothers who embrace their stretch marks just as much as they embrace their children.
You are strong, you are beautiful and you are a Mama Warrior.