Can I just be frank with you?
I’d like to encourage those that aren’t mothers, but are maybe concerned about the changes their bodies will go through.
It’s not as scary as you think.
I used to wonder if having kids would “ruin” my body.
Having kids does change your body.
Things stretch and go back differently.
But they do go back.
You gain weight in weird places and lose weight in other places.
You turn to mush immediately following birth, and then things slowly tighten up again.
My belly button is no longer an innie.
But who cares.
My body is far from destroyed.
On the contrary, I’m more conscious of my body.
I take better care of it.
And my motivation has changed.
I no longer workout to “burn calories” or look a certain way.
I recently saw some photos of myself when I first got married.
I was so different.
I was skinny, but I was addicted to sugar.
I’d never done cardio in my life.
Even when I started going to the gym, my mind was in the wrong place.
I thought working out was to make up for eating too much.
There was guilt and there was punishment, an endless cycle.
There was vanity, as I wanted the perfect abs, even if it meant being hungry.
I didn’t understand nutrition at all.
I workout to stretch myself.
To meet goals.
To get stronger everyday.
And to live a long healthy life with my kids.
It’s kind of amazing how much my life has changed in 5 years.
Ironically, after two kids, I’m the healthiest and fittest I’ve ever been.
And it’s not punishment.
Physical activity truly enriches my life.
I don’t want to go a day without it.
I think it’s incredible how training builds endurance.
The more we *kindly* ask from our bodies, the more they give us.
One day a hill leaves me breathless, and a couple weeks later I’m like “what hill?”
I don’t stress or obsess over my accomplishments.
They are a byproduct of doing what I love.
They are simply the results of riding my bike more and refusing to drive to the library or grocery store.
I’d encourage those who “hate exercise” to pick a new hobby.
Take up swimming, boxing, cycling, martial arts or acrobatics.
Do something that challenges you and makes you feel strong.
My kids are a part of this.
If it weren’t for them I might never have started.
They’ve changed how I see myself. They’ve changed how I treat myself.
It’s not in spite of them but because of them that I’ve changed my lifestyle.
I used to show more skin, but I never had the self-confidence and self-assurance that I have now.
My body did some amazing things.
And the weakest.
It was the most I’ve ever felt anything ever.
“Will kids ruin my body?”
Having children didn’t ruin my body like I thought it would.
But, more importantly, I realized I was asking the wrong question.
My tummy isn’t just something to try to make perfectly flat again.
It cradled each of my boys for nine months.
My body is so much more than a size.
So much more than what the scale says.
My body isn’t exactly the same as it used to be.
But it’s awesome.
I’m not afraid of my body being a fluid, changing thing.
Our bodies are always changing anyway.
No matter how fit and healthy I am, I will continue to age, sag, and wrinkle.
It does no good to fear these changes.
I have to accept myself and all my “imperfections.”
Accept that no matter how much weight I gain or lose, I’m a person of value.
I am beautiful and loved.
Even if I have to get rid of some of those ridiculously skinny pants I used to wear.
My body post-babies isn’t about my belly button or skinny jeans.
It isn’t really about me at all.
Even if our bodies don’t go back the way we want them, I don’t think they’re “ruined.” Far from it.
Even if our bodies don’t go back the way we want them, I think our children are a huge part of what makes us beautiful.
So please don’t fear the changes – whether they are due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, or simply getting older.
It’s all vanity and it will all disappear.
Rather, respect the journey your body is on.
Ps: I feel like I should add a disclaimer on Postpartum Depression, as it is one of the complications of pregnancy that truly can ruin everything if left untreated. I’ll write more about this in detail soon. For now, here are some resources to hang onto:
Postpartum hotline: 1-800-773-6667
Suicide hotline: 1-800-784-2433