Shape of a Mother

Jay Miranda pregnant 2012

I’ve been thinking about a reader’s comment for a few days now and my response started to grow so long, I felt it should be a post. I read every single comment left on this blog and it reminds me that blogging is a conversation.

Here is Lilian’s question.

What size do you wear if you mind me asking. I used to be confident if what I wore before I was a mommy. I have always being size 16/18 and i gave birth to my twin girls last year via c-section and due to that I have a little pouch..and I am not as confident as before….and am struggling with it… it is so hard to talk to my friends and family because most don’t understand the concept of the importance of feeling good you know. I loved myself and and now it’s hard to stay positive. My hubby says I look amazing. But as a woman it’s hard you know… how did you cope after your baby? Did you struggle?

Motherhood shifted almost everything about me and at times, those adjustments were hard on me. Pregnancy and childbirth are physical and emotional experiences of such a strong magnitude that there’s no way you won’t be changed by them. While I feel like “myself,” I also feel like a different woman today than I was a few years ago.

Jay Miranda motherhoodThe passage of time

I remember feeling so vulnerable and raw after giving birth—even moreseo than during childbirth. Your body has just finished this miraculous thing but we’re supposed to be obsessed with erasing any sign that we were ever pregnant. Like so many moms and like you, my body’s just different now. It’s not going back because it can’t and that’s OK. I’m marked with ripples of stretch marks and a soft, pouchy lower belly. Motherhood reshaped me.

What made it easier for me to accept these changes was understanding everything was a package deal—you get your babies, but it’s going to leave a mark on you. It is a struggle, but a worthy one.

At the same time, it’s OK to not always feel confident. Body positivity is a journey that has ups and downs. Every woman’s body is a story known only to her. I didn’t give birth to twins via c-section like Lilian, a feat unto itself. So, no one can say what your experience should be like.

The first time I watched BirthMarkings about post-birth bodies, I cried. I’d never seen bodies like these shared so bravely. Our scars are here because we went through something! I think every pregnant woman and new mom should watch it:

“This is your new body, because you’re a new person.”

I do think self-esteem and confidence are two distinct things. The latter is what we project, the former is how we feel inside. Both matter. I try to approach my body with gratitude and kindness. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Kundalini yoga classes I’ve taken for the last few months have helped gain a deeper awareness of my body and self.

I don’t mind the size question — these days, I’m wearing a 14/16. I think being open and honest about our sizes is freeing. Between pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, I fluctuated from size 14-18.

For all the mamas out there, my advice is to be gentle on yourself. When in doubt, I hold my baby and everything just makes sense.

Thank you to Lilian for the inspiration behind today’s post.

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