My postpartum body—it's like a giant Girl Scout sash covered in mom patches. After 40-weeks of hard work, the troop leader awarded me with The Lasting Linea Nigra (aka the black belly line), The Forever Flap Belly Button, and The Chipper Chaffed Nipples patches.
While I would love to tell you that I am proud of said "patches" and that I look at them as small reminders of our two little miracles, the truth is that I don't dry my hair upside down because I'm not exactly keen on the fact that my stomach looks like a day old, soggy crepe.
The picture above (in the magic hospital panties) was taken about 48 hours after Schafer was born. It's a reminder that even after the baby is out, the body still looks pretty pregnant. It needs time to recover—time to get things back into place (or at least in the vicinity of the original spot).
As much as I want to be the kind of woman who doesn't care about the "battle scars", I can't seem to get there. I feel like a fraud telling friends and other new mothers to be kind to themselves and cut their bodies some slack when I can't even do that for myself. My body just created a human life, and all I see in the mirror is the outline of a woman who will never wear a bikini in public again. (How ridiculous is that!)
On top of not feeling like myself, I'm riddled with the guilt of focusing on something so superficial—something other than my baby. Looks or baby weight aside—I wonder if I'm even healthy? The days get so busy and the sleepless nights cause a blur—survived only by the small (appropriate) amount of coffee and handfuls of trail mix and cheese in between feeds and conference calls.
I suppose I could blame Heidi Klum (or the slew of bloggers who post their 6-pack bra and panty pics 5-days post birth) for unrealistic expectations of post-baby bodies, but I'm not reaching for the stars here. I just want to button my pants without my belly button winking at me. (I mean seriously...it has its own eyelid.)
I'm struggling to find a healthy balance between getting back in shape and giving my body the time it needs to recover. So for the sake of my sanity, I am taking baby steps (4 to be exact) to start feeling like myself again. Perhaps that self won't be exactly like it was before, but taking a bit of "me time" will no doubt make me appreciate the beauty of motherhood.
STEP 1: Get Stepping.
I'm committed to 2 long walks a week. To the SoulCycle and Tracy Anderson Method fiends, perhaps this sounds completely lame, but I have to start somewhere. Between the lack of sleep, the pile up of work, and the family—this is the best I can do for now.
STEP 2: Product Placement.
Post birth, my skin and hair are in the toilet. Between the handfuls of hair falling out, the loose skin and the dark circles—I'm the poster mom for an upsell at Sephora.
Specifically, I religiously use the products below.
(click any image)
STEP 3: Green Juice.
Eating healthy. It's so vague. I require a more specific plan. In order to be sure that I get the nutrients I need, I down a juice, packed with 6 lbs of greens, every morning. It's time efficient and easy to stick to.
STEP 4: My lips are sealed.
This specifically applies to Olive. No body talk in front of the Bee. I have zero plans of passing The Scrutiny Patch down to her.
At the end of the day, when I take stock of my blessings—Brett and our two beautiful babies, my physical appearance is so far down on the totem pole of importance, yet still these insecurities sneak in. As moms, we are expected to be so much—even if those expectations derive from within, they're there. Acceptance and being kind to yourself are only part of the equation. For now, I'm tackling mine head on with healthier habits. Any of you going through the same thing?
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