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Dear postpartum body,
I realized today that, in many ways, I have been a failure at practicing postpartum self-care. I rarely give you the appreciation, nourishment, and love you desperately need. I promise to do better; starting today, I’m going to show you exactly how much I love you.
Feel stuck about ways to love your body? I made a list of 15 ways to love your postpartum body. You can find it in the Toolkit.
I found myself reflecting on a quote:
If I asked you to list all the things that you love, how long would it take you to list yourself?
And so I looked at you in the mirror and stared at your soft, squishy tummy. I looked at you in both awe for everything we’ve accomplished and in wonder for what our future together will bring. For a minute I stood there listening to my inner voice picking you apart; listening to all the awful things that voice was saying. I saw your stretch marks, the c-section scar, the flabby skin, the unshaven legs, and the dimples on your thighs where muscles used to be. And then I saw you staring back at me.
What did I fail to see?
The strength, power, and beauty of all this body has endured.
You’ve carried three lives. You’ve held death. You’ve endured 108 hours of labor. You walked to the NICU less than 4hours after a c-section. You’ve breastfed two healthy babies. You’ve run a half marathon. Lifted crying children and carried them on your back. You’ve laughed so hard your stomach hurts (sometimes you even peed a little). And you’ve cried too. You’ve been my home. And I want to say I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for devaluing you.
I have chosen time and time again to see flaws where there are beauty and strength. I have looked upon you in disgust and hate for your outward appearance; wishing you looked different. Smaller. Less rugged. Instead of choosing to see all the beautiful, powerful things you accomplish every day.
I know I haven’t always treated you well, postpartum self-care is hard. You were on the back burner on my busy days, and I didn’t make you a priority on my not-so-busy days. There have been days you’ve survived on a sleeve of crackers and cold coffee.
I feel ashamed that I haven’t always spoken words of love to you, but I’m renewing a promise and starting fresh today. Today I choose to love you like I love the beautiful babies you gave me.
When I watched my girls giggling and laughing today, I looked down at you and smiled.
Remembering your waddle and large turn radius at 39 weeks and how difficult simple tasks had become. I reminisced about what it felt like to carry life- the constant kicking and the uncomfortable feeling of having your insides treated like a trampoline. And I remembered holding those precious babies you created for the first time.
You are truly miraculous.
If I want my daughters to have body confidence and a positive self-image, I have to start with me. I must practice postpartum self-care, radiate self-love and teach my daughters how to do the same. So when I look in the mirror, I must choose to see the you I should’ve seen a long time ago.
When I look in the mirror, I don’t just see a body. I see power, strength, and immeasurable beauty. I see a wife who chooses to keep smiling through the difficult days of raising small humans and navigating marriage. A mom who is determined to lead by example and show her girls how to love themselves beyond what they see in the mirror. And I see a woman who is so, so proud of what this body has accomplished.
So, thank you, postpartum body.
Without you, I would not have received the greatest gifts I’ll ever experience in life. My days are spent changing dirty diapers, playing princesses, nursing an infant, and arguing with/kissing a preschooler. But you know, there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be than where I’m at right now. And I owe that to you and your courage and your ability to create life.
When I pass by a mirror from today on out, I will thank you every single time. I will have grace-filled eyes that focus on your strength, instead of the flaws. Thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made. I promise to practice postpartum self-care, be more gentle and love you fiercely.
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