Aug 7, 2017

A Purple Heart For Every Mom

"Your life will never be the same." That's something everyone told me when I was expecting. I remember people telling me this over and over again. What no one ever told me was that my body would never be the same.

Let me start this post by saying I'm not going where you might think I might be going with this. There are millions of articles all over the internet about "postpartum weight loss" or "pregnancy weight gain." This isn't one of those posts. There are reports on staying fit while pregnant, and countless others about maneuvering your weight loss after having a baby. What I can't find is what happens after the weight is gone. When you're not pregnant, and you're not trying to lose weight, but you're staring at this body that's completely unfamiliar. That's what I wanna read.

The scale finally shows me the number I've been waiting for. It flashes up at me, and I stare down at it. I'm back... but am I really?

With my son I gained 70 pounds, and luckily it rolled right off. I did some working out, but somehow my body found its way back to its natural weight on its own. With my daughter, those 70 pounds found me again. Only this time it was way harder to drop it. I had to fight for every pound to fall off. When I stood on the scale and it said that magic number, I looked in the mirror, but didn't feel that I was "back." What happened? What changed? This wasn't the feeling I was expecting.

Postpartum weight loss is something we all talk about (and so is having a fit pregnancy), but the truth for me and my body is that no matter how healthy I am or how much weight I lost to get "back," I'll never truly have my pre-baby body back. There will be stretch marks, extra skin, malasma, and even more going on in the upper chest region.

I think we are always told to embrace our bodies as they are, but in the journey of becoming a mom everything happens so quickly that embracing my body is like trying to catch the superhero Flash! I'm pregnant. Then I'm not. Then I'm nursing. Then I'm not. Then I'm in postpartum weight loss mode. Then I'm not. This all happens in a matter of two or so years, and then I'm pregnant again. Forget about embracing. I'm just trying to keep up.

During motherhood our bodies morph so quickly. It's truly amazing to think of all that a mother's body goes through. Reflecting now, our bodies are soldiers. They carry lives, and help them survive. If my body is a soldier, then it's only natural it will have battle wounds. I wouldn't look at a hero with his or her Purple Heart, and think "wow they look awful!" I would feel grateful. I would respect and honor them. That is exactly what I owe my body. I need to respect and honor it. That's what this post is all about.

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