Fashion Friday – Or, ‘Mama’s Still Got It’ or, ‘Learning to Accept a Post-Baby Body’

Hello All,

I don’t know about anyone else, but having a baby has definitely affected my body image, my confidence and my ability to ever humble-brag again (the words, “I guess I just have this crazy metabolism…I just eat and eat and never gain weight.” will never cross my lips again!).

When I first met Maple I was in, probably, the best shape of my life.  I ate super healthy, walked everywhere and did enough yoga/dance/movement that I was lean and strong. After Maple and I had been together for about eight months we simultaneously woke up to the realization that our steady diet of love-and-brie had left us both a little bit heavier than either of us liked. Then I started working a desk job and, despite my best efforts of walking during lunch breaks and playing racquetball with Maple after work, I gained a bit more weight. Then I got pregnant and, while I was fairly healthy my first seven months I just anger ate through everything I could get my hands on during the last two months of my pregnancy .

The day after Baby GHM was born I lost 17 lbs. In my giddy joy of just having given birth to a beautiful baby I was floating on a cloud of endorphins. “Losing this weight will be easy!” thought I, “These pounds will just melt off!”

smile from front

Well, that hasn’t happened and, as I write this post, I weigh about twenty pounds heavier than I’d like to be and about thirty pounds heavier than I was when I first met Maple.

Now, I understand that bodies grow and shift and change and that that is part of life. I actually don’t mind my stretch marks or the wider hips that a baby has left me with. I like that I look like a mama and I respect my body that birthed a beautiful baby. However, respect and acceptance are not one and the same.

But my stomach. See, in middle/high school I hated my stomach. And while it’s not great to use a word like ‘hate’ to describe my body, sixteen year old me hated my stomach. Nineteen year old me did too. And while I’d like to say that I realized, in a feminist moment of epiphany, that my body was beautiful, I didn’t. I lost weight and got fit and started eating really well and my stomach went away. And I felt so sassy and strong and sexy.

Now my stomach is back. And while I’m definitely older and maybe a little wiser, I for sure have a much better and broader perspective on my body. Especially being a mother of a girl. I want to shield Baby GHM for as long as I can about all the negative garbage society is going to feed her about her weight and how much she will be respected/judged/valued on what she looks like. And yet I struggle. Because the years passing has not made me any fonder of having a stomach and now that it’s back, while I know that my body went through a major shift and it takes time to lose weight and I had a baby and muscle weighs more than fat and that my body is a beautiful, strong combination of muscle and skin that birthed a baby….knowing all that and having a better perspective on it, still doesn’t make getting dressed in the morning any easier.

baby on hip

baby fly look down

I want to teach my daughter that her body is beautiful. And for me to actually teach her that I have to be an example to her. Me grabbing my stomach roll and saying, “YUUUUCKK” does not teach my daughter healthy body image. And I need to get to work now cause honestly, I got a lot of work to do.

This is where being a parent is forcing me to grow. I have to be the best example I can be. I have to be the best me I can be. I can’t just tell her that her body is beautiful while disparaging my own. I have to show her what radical self-love is first hand.

kiss

I was waiting to do Fashion Fridays til I felt fashion-y again. But I’ve realized that what I was really waiting for was until I felt thin again. And that’s not honest. I’m still dressing up as much as I can (elastic waists are my new best friend) and I’m definitely learning how to dress my body differently in this new iteration of myself.

So Fashion Fridays are starting again. Below is a pretty standard outfit right now. Skinny pants, boots, long tank top and a blousy shirt. Call it New Mama Fashion.

confused

ring

shoes

Shoes: Steve Madden (bought new) // Jeans: J.Brand (thrifted) // Tank Top: Eloise (thrifted) // Top: LOFT (thrifted) // Earrings: Thifted // Scarf: Amazon (bought new) // Vest: Old Navy (gift)

Cheers and Love,

Maple and Me

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8 thoughts on “Fashion Friday – Or, ‘Mama’s Still Got It’ or, ‘Learning to Accept a Post-Baby Body’

    • Hey Trista – I KNOW. Nothing like learning that you STILL don’t fit into your skinny jeans to really bring down the day. 🙂 I also feel like so much of what I was told was that breast feeding would ‘melt off the pounds’ and I’ve weighed the same since Lu was two days old which has been frustrating. I finally did a big purge and I’m waiting until she’s a year old to do part two. I feel like getting rid of clothes that aren’t going to fit again – while initially hard – is the most mentally healthy thing you can do for yourself!

  1. I’m so glad FF is back! As an already curvy lady who has had issues with too easily fluctuating weight, and who wants to get pregnant in the near future, I’ve found myself already worrying about this issue. I try to think about how I WILL think about things, which is unfair and probably totally inaccurate. I like that you focus on accepting and not so much, accepting after you’ve gotten back to where you’re most comfortable. I think its important to love our bodies where they are AND work on improvement. Thanks for this, from my present me working on my weight and from the future me who will inevitably struggle with it again. ❤

    • Thanks for all the kind words Leah – I’m really working on focusing on strength and muscle and not on having a flat stomach. It’s a constant effort to mentally realign! 🙂

  2. From my favorite feminist Tina Fey:

    “From “Remembrances of Being Very Skinny”:

    I was cold all the time.
    Sometimes I had to sleep with a pillow between my legs because my bony knees clanking together kept me awake.
    I ran three miles a day on a treadmill six days a week.
    I didn’t have a kid yet.

    “We should leave people alone about their weight. Being skinny for a while (provided you actually eat food and don’t take pills or smoke to get there) is a perfectly fine pastime.”

    From “Remembrances of Being a Little Fat”:

    My boobs were bigger.
    I once left a restaurant in the middle of dessert to get to Krispy Kreme before it closed.
    I wore an oversized men’s overall that I loved.
    I could not run a mile.

    “We should leave people alone about their weight. Being chubby for a while (provided you don’t give yourself diabetes) is a natural phase of life and nothing to be ashamed of.”

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