Pregnancy and motherhood have forever changed my body. My hips are wider, my skin is looser, I have stretch marks that go from above my belly button to the tops of my thighs, all signs that my body has accomplished something exceptional and particular.
I see many women who post images of their post pregnancy bodies and I consider them brave and appreciate their message and their confidence, but I am brave and confident too. I am proud of my body, more proud then I ever was before and the message that bodies that have worked to accomplish something, and have the scars to prove it, should be celebrated and seen just as much as any other is more important to me than ever before because it is now my reality.
The balance between pride in our bodies and also feeling beautiful in them can sometimes be a difficult one after having a baby, especially as the actual pregnancy and birth drift further into the past but the evidence of them on our bodies remain, but the perspective that the two feelings are wonderfully tied together is one I stand firm in believing is both possible and correct.
No bikini body can express the specific kind and depth of pride that a post pregnancy body is able to, and while I want to feel sexy and beautiful for myself and my husband and at times have affirmation of it from the world around me, I refuse to minimize the empowerment and assurance gained from embracing my purpose to grow, birth, nourish and care for our babies merely because we live in an image obsessed world that has such a hard time appreciating and understanding realistic bodies apart from ones that have been sculpted and slimmed.
I am absolutely an advocate for caring for our bodies and keeping them healthy and I highly commend those who work to tone their bodies again after pregnancy, but I also commend those who have grown and birthed children and never return to what they looked like before because it is not a matter of shameful comparison, but an equal playing field in which we have all accomplished something fantastic no matter how we appear afterwards.
So whether you are stretched and scarred or never got a stretch mark and were back to your pre-pregnancy weight when you left the hospital, if you have birthed a baby, birthed a soul, in any way, you have an immense amount to be forever proud of, including your body that accomplished the feat.