Friday, October 16, 2009

On body image and motherhood

Zoey is 7 weeks old today, wow time flies. Yesterday I went shopping with my best friend. She had her baby girl five days after I did, and we were eager to get out of the house even though it took us two hours to do so. We were two mommas in great need of pants that actually fit, balancing babies in slings while we took a range of sizes into the change rooms.

I had to remind my friend that it's ok to be big right now. Let me clarify...she looks like she had a baby 6 weeks ago, and she did. She also looks fantastic. But it's her first baby, and I can remember looking down at my body after my first and being both amazed and saddened by its new look. I didn't know what the female body is supposed to look like after a baby is born. All the celebs seem to go out and get tummy tucks and personal trainers and torture themselves thin by the time their baby is 6 weeks old. We really don't have a lot of resources to show us anything different, and many of our girlfriends, instead of helping us love ourselves, are complaining about how fat they are and how they need to lose weight even as they tell us not to worry about ours.

After my first two, I lost my extra baby weight gradually over several months. I think I was down to within 5 lbs of my prepregnancy weight at around one year postpartum. How did I do it? Breastfeeding my baby, eating healthy foods, and walking a few times a week. I didn't cut back on my food intake, and there were times when my babes were going through growth spurts that I was ravenous, so I ate more than usual. (I have to be honest here and say that I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where food wasn't an issue, and I have a healthy happy relationship with food.) The walking was more about getting out in the sun and fresh air and working out the creaks than focusing on a specific goal.

Even though I lost the weight, my body has never looked the same as it did when I was a maiden. I have a bit of a saggy stomach. My boobs sag, as does my bum. I'm a little softer and rounder than before. I have 'jiggly bits', to coin a term shared by my partner from his friend on Twitter:
"When did looking like a twig become sexy? Women should have jiggly bits. You hear me? JIGGLING IS SEXY, YOU FOOLS." ~ Jacquelynn Rasmenia Massoud

Women need to be more honest with each other about their motherly bodies. A few months ago I came across a great website devoted to loving our bodies as they are, called "The Shape of a Mother". On a more universal note, I love the website "AnyBody" and its challenge to limited representation of the female body in our society.

I guess the point of my post is: love yourself, share yourself, nourish yourself, take care of yourself. Oh, and get some clothes that fit. If you are still early on this journey to accepting your body, and you have to cut out the size tags to make yourself feel better, so be it. Or recognize size for what it is: a number. People can't see it, but they can see if you feel comfortable and confident in your clothes. For the record, I'm wearing new size 14 cords today.


  1. I'm still on that journey of accepting my body...I went back to pre pregnant body shape/weight after my first who is now 6...then my lil one Haillie well...i never really lost my baby "bulge" after her...because when she was about 6 months ... i was pregnant now they are 2 adn 1 and i still have a big of a saggy belly..and sadly enough it embarrases me:(