Sunday, August 26, 2012

P.S. #5: Postpartum Body--by Audra

I don't think anything prepared me for what my body would look like after five kids. After my first child I had very unrealistic expectations about my body just going back to it's pre-baby self.  Thanks, Hollywood. I didn't realize how uncomfortable I would feel knowing that my body just couldn't possibly look the same. I had stretch marks now,and layers of skin that hadn't existed before. My hips had spread and my body shape had physically changed permanently. I was shocked at how many people would tell me I would get my body back,and that this was just temporary. My problem with those comments was that I didn't feel accepted until I didn't look like I had had a child. A pregnant woman is considered beautiful, but a postpartum body is something that a lot of people seem to think is an unacceptable body type. I felt like I couldn't think I was attractive until I didn't have that extra skin hanging off me and my hips were smaller.  I did loose most of my baby weight after my second child, but my body didn't look like my 19 year old body, how could it?  I had accepted that I had battle scars of mommy hood and that I should never be ashamed at what my body had done for me and my children. I felt strong and powerful after my second child, mostly because of all the working out I did,and when I found myself attractive others noticed, even though my body would never look like a teenage body again, I felt like a beautiful woman and that was good enough for me. I had 3 other children after my second child and lets just say time and my love of Twinkies while pregnant has lead to a lot of weight gain, and I am trying to get my self back on track after baby number five. But, I am not doing it to be a certain size or feel attractive to others, I am doing it for me.

Working out is like therapy for me. I cry when I work out. I know that sounds crazy and insane, but I literally feel my bad emotions and feelings leave my body. I feel it being replaced by power and confidence. I know that I am keeping myself healthy and being a good example to my children. I hope I can teach my sons the beauty in a woman who has had children. I hope they learn that their wives bodies will change, but they changed for a wonderful gift that she has given to you, a baby, and that means more than being a size 2.  I hope they treasure their wives and realized how fearfully and wonderfully made we all are. My husband's love for me seems to have grown through our many children and my changing body. I feel he doesn't just love what I use to look like, he loves what I look like at every stage because he knows how much I have sacraficed for our children, he appreciates that. And that makes me realize that he does love me completely. 

I think we as women tend to think if we don't look perfect that our husbands wont love us anymore, that's just not true. That being said, I know I am not in a healthy state of my body right now and it takes the time to tell me daily, with my aches and pains. But, I know I will get my "body back" as they say. Not my 19 year old body, because, well I don't have a time machine and I would get my stretch marks, wide hips, and extra skin, over and over again if it means I can have my children. But I can have my "strong, fearfully and wonderfully made" body back, and I can live with that, because I am a woman. A woman who has birthed five beautiful children, and that's better than anything to me!

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