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!”
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.
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.
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.
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