I want to preface this before I begin by saying that the way I view my body isn’t entirely based on having Henry Duke. I struggled with wanting a perfect body long before I became pregnant and having a baby didn’t help those thoughts. Regardless of the way my body looks now, I wouldn’t take back those 9 months of growing my son for anything in the world.
This is hard to write, y’all.
When I found out that I was pregnant, I immediately went on the hunt for the best stretch mark prevention products. I wanted to do whatever I could to help the elasticity in my skin so that I could preserve the way my stomach looked. Prior to being pregnant, I genuinely thought that I was big and needed to lose weight…. I was 117 pounds!!!! I hate that I judged my body so harshly when there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. I STILL hate that I judge my body so harshly when there is nothing wrong with it.
I wasn’t very healthy during my pregnancy and that came back to bite me after having HD. I gained 25 pounds during my pregnancy and didn’t have one stretch mark until after I gave birth. I have no idea how that happened, but here I am. I spent so much time worrying about getting stretch marks on my stomach and I ended up getting them on my hips. Isn’t that funny? I was so self conscious about them, and still am, but why? These marks were derived from creating and nurturing this sweet little boy of mine.
About 6 weeks after having Henry Duke, I still didn’t want Chase to see my body. I didn’t want my own husband to look at me closely because I was embarrassed of the way I looked. I was the biggest I had ever been in my life and thought that he wouldn’t find me pretty anymore. Let me just tell you… That was the devil in my head. That was fear talking to me. There wasn’t ONE SECOND where Chase made me feel self conscious. In fact, he couldn’t have cared less! He was grateful that I gave him his son. He once told me that even if my body never goes back to what it once was, he would still love the way it looked. I started repeating that to myself over and over again until one day I finally loved my body too.
Fast forward to now, I’m 4 months PP, I am still 12 pounds over my pre pregnancy weight, and I love my body more than I ever have. My body has fed my baby for 4 months and for that alone, I no longer care about what it looks like on the outside. For the past 4 months, I’ve spent so much time worrying about the number on that scale. I’ve obsessed over working out because I wanted the loose skin to go away and for my muscles to be toned. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to strengthen your postpartum body, I wasn’t going about this in a healthy way. I was trying to perfect what I put into my body so badly during the day that I would end up binging on junk food in the evening. This was NOT healthy! This was the start of a dangerous pattern and I’m glad that I realized this was not okay before it got out of control.
It took a lot to get to where I am now. Ever since high school, I have judged my body harshly. Now, I refuse to continue talking to myself the way I once did. I GREW A HUMAN. My body spent 38 weeks and 6 days crafting a little boy who turned out to be perfectly healthy. I will not allow myself to be upset that I no longer have the frame I did 5 years ago. Even when I had that frame, I still wasn’t happy. This is proof that the number on a scale or the size of your jeans does not influence the amount of self love one has. Even at my biggest, I love my body way more than I ever have.
Even though I have made drastic progress, I still have moments where I have to catch myself from saying something negative. I still can’t fit into the jeans I once wore, I am no longer comfortable in crop tops, and I have a big incision on my bikini line. Because of this, my first instinct is to speak badly about my image. Now, before I even open my mouth, I try to show my body grace instead.
If you are struggling with your body image, try saying these things: “I thank my body for the child it gave me. I am appreciative of the stretch marks I have. I am grateful my body housed a human. I no longer feel ugly in my skin. I love my body. My body is beautiful like it is. I am exercising because I love my body and want to take care of it, not because I hate it. I am thankful to be able to move my body.” These words have helped me more than I ever thought possible. Regardless if you have a had a baby or not, know that your value and self worth does not correlate to your weight. Repeat this until you believe it.
I hope that by sharing my story, it will help one of you to start accepting your body the way it is right now. You are perfect in God’s image even when you don’t think so. Yes, my hips are wider, my thighs are thicker, and my stomach is looser, but I have never felt more confident than I do now. I hope that you can feel this way about yourself too.