You spend nine months growing a human; your body undergoes an incredible transformation. So much information is out there supporting Mom’s during pregnancy but there are very few books which prepare you for the aftermath of what your body will be like after giving birth. This fourth trimester, as many refer to it is often filled with leaky boobs, blow-out diapers and severe sleep deprivation. As mother’s we put ourselves on the back burner as our tiny humans demand so much of our attention during their first few months.
Having three children you would think I would know what to expect. After the first child, I found it pretty easy to bounce back…although my stomach was never as flat as before children, the little bit of loose skin and minor stretch marks really didn’t bother me. I got pretty lucky with my second as well, physically by the time she was one I was back to my pre-baby weight and feeling good about my reflection in the mirror. But with my third one….not so lucky. After enduring a scary pregnancy and the traumatic birth of my son, I knew my body would never be the same. Why you ask? Well, it now carries a vertical scar that starts below my naval and runs down to meet my previous c-section scar. Given that Maverick’s birth was planned, I knew the incision would be different but didn’t realize the ramifications it would place on my self image. At around 3 months postpartum, after the initial honeymoon phase most of us experience when bringing home a newborn ended, I found myself very sad and at times depressed about how my new body looked. Couple this with the constant and unwanted locks of love donation that was my bathroom floor…I dreaded shower day’s (because clearly when you have a newborn and two other children, taking a shower isn’t often a daily occurrence). Where once stood this very confident woman was someone I didn’t recognize. I would rush to put clothes on my body, as the sight of seeing myself would often bring tears to my eyes.
Picture of me during my third pregnancy. I was adamant about documenting it since I knew it was going to be the last time I was pregnant. Photo credit: VZModa Photography
Now at almost five months out, a glimpse of my scar in the mirror still takes my breath away. Although, I may be far from in love with this new body of mine, I am growing to accept it, you could say…I am making peace with it. You may not find me prancing around this summer in a two piece bikini (thank goodness one-piece suits are very stylish now), but spending my time sulking about my imperfections isn’t productive. Staying active, finding ways to do nice things for myself and opening up to my husband and close family and friends about what I am going through has been critical to helping me heal.
My younger daughter asked me yesterday, “Mommy, when will your boo boo go away,” pointing to the scar. “It never will fully go away, but Mommy’s who have scars like mine are super strong” was my response. I have always been the glass half full type of person and I always want to be a strong role model for my daughter’s when it comes to body image and loving their body’s, even the imperfections. I need to show them they don’t have to physically be perfect…to be perfect. I want them to feel proud of who they are, both inside and out. At the end of the day, each scar, each stretch mark tells my story. How I grew three, healthy beautiful children in my body….that I overcame obstacles and endured so much to be here today.