March 3, 2020

Mostly when people search the term “body after baby” they’re looking for ways to get their pre-baby body back. Well let me tell ya, if you’re looking for that, this is not the place. If I’m being honest, I wish it were, but after carrying, birthing and nursing three babies, my body did not go back to what it once was and after talking to other moms, it seems to be this is the case for a large amount of us.

First off, I want to preface this by saying I am whole heartedly grateful for these three babies of mine and I feel so blessed to be their mama and would endure whatever it took my body to do and look like to get them here! So, I hope this whole post does not come off as being ungrateful or anything like that- because my babies are my entire world and entire heart and I do know how extremely fortunate I am to have carried them all. The human body really is the most remarkable thing and the fact that you can grow a human being inside of your own is mind blowing! I really cannot express how thankful I am for my babies and everything my body endured to get them here & nourish them even outside the womb!

Let me give you a little background on my pregnancies and how my body changed with each of them.

I have had one c-section followed by two VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean) and with each pregnancy and birth, my body continued to change. After my first pregnancy I was left with a csection scar but that has never once bothered me! I look at that as a scar of honor and constant reminder that my body brought our little Harlyn into the world. Even though I was left with a slight case of Diastasis Recti (which is the separation of the large abdominal muscles) I didn’t have any loose skin or really any stretch marks around my stomach area at all.

After my second pregnancy and first VBAC, I was left with some extra skin around my stomach, an umbilical hernia and a more severe case of diastasis recti. That’s when I began to notice the discomfort when laughing or coughing due to the hernia and also when my core wasn’t able to support certain activities. Once again, never thought anything about it. I stopped wearing two piece swimsuits about this time as well, but in clothes you really couldn’t tell there were any issues at all.

Flash forward to our little, or shall I say BIG, Pax man. My third baby weighed 9lbs and pretty much did my body in. He’s the smallest of our kids now, but definitely made my body work hard to get him here. I am only 5’2, so my stomach carrying a 9lb baby in it had no where to go but OUT. I still look back at pictures and am amazed at how far that thing poked out! This is when I started to notice the stretch marks around my stomach. After I had him and my body started to heal, I was left with a lot of extra skin in my stomach area, even more of a severe case of diastasis recti-where I looked 5 months pregnant even though I was 8 months post-partum, and that’s when I kind of had a “now what” moment.

I am going to be completely open and transparent with you despite the backlash I may receive. I think we all have our own self love journey and I hope to one day absolutely love my stomach for all its flaws, but to be honest, it’s going to be a journey getting there. I have big struggles with how my stomach looks and it is by far my biggest insecurity. At the moment, I find myself comparing my saggy, stretched out stomach to all the other moms who post their perfectly tight tummies in their cute two piece swimsuits, instead of praising mine for what it has given me! I’ll see a mom of three with a flat stomach and zero stretch marks and instantly wonder why my stomach didn’t go back to that.

I often times find myself turning around to change when Chad walks into the room and that has NEVER been me. I was always the one changing in front of all my girlfriends, family, who ever- with not a care of who was in the room. But now I find myself being completely embarrassed to have anyone see my stomach. Which is RIDICULOUS! I’m working really hard to change my outlook on all of this, and I’m loving how more people are starting to share their bodies and self love stories. Which is why I feel like I should share mine and be more open about this topic. But whoa, this is so hard for me to expose something that I’m used to always wanting to hide.

Recently, I had asked other moms on Instagram about what struggles they have come across with their own postpartum bodies and so many women responded with “accepting my new body”. A body that doesn’t feel like their own, a body that has stretched out skin and stretch marks that were never there before. A body that can’t be changed no matter how much weight is lost despite seeing the pre baby lbs on the scale. It’s kind of a tough pill to swallow knowing that no matter how hard you try to see that pre-baby body, it’s most likely not going to happen. But then it clicked for me, our body has changed so that a new life could be born. After becoming a mother nothing about us really stays the same, does it? Our hearts are forever changed, the way we think is forever changed, the way we view the world is forever changed, why should our body be the only thing that stays the same? To me, that’s pretty powerful to think about.

I look at these three lives this body of mine physically built and created and then look at my stomach and think if it weren’t for this stretched out skin and funky looking belly button, these three human beings would not be here. My heart wouldn’t be as full and life would not be the same. That in and of itself is gut wrenching to think about and is really the only thing that gets me to the point of acceptance.

postpartum body -

I will always want to better myself and focus on health and strength while continuing to exercise and live a (somewhat) healthy lifestyle . To be honest, I may even consider plastic surgery in the future if I want to explore that route. But for right now, I’m going to try my hardest to accept my body for all that it is and isn’t and know that it did the most incredible thing. Despite what my mind will think at times, my body in NO way let me down- Instead it has given me the greatest gift of life three times and when I think about that, I can feel nothing else other than grateful.



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