So this is tough.
We’re living in an age of sparkly social media front and female empowerment, and we’re not supposed to admit that there’s anything we don’t love about our postpartum bodies.
It’s almost taboo to say “I hate my postpartum body” – and it’s ESPECIALLY taboo for me to say it, as an “influencer”. (We could talk about how much I hate the word influencer too, but we’ll save that for another day.)
But, because I’m writing things that people read on the internet, I’m supposed to bravely model self-love and shameless-ness for the world (maybe even put on a bikini and take a selfie showing off my cellulite and hangy boobs? No thanks.)
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I should be encouraging women everywhere to embrace their “tiger stripes” and scars – to laugh a little with all the other moms about the fact that we all pee ourselves when we run. (It just makes us a member of the club, right?)
Perhaps it’s even more important that I do these things because one of my kids is a girl.
As the mother of a daughter, I feel like I should display ONLY respect for my amazing body. I truly don’t want her to grow up thinking that how we look is equal to what we’re worth. I know it’s not.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I KNOW my body is amazing. I was there. I saw what it did.
And I am eternally grateful for my body. I know there are bodies out there that don’t work like mine does, or that aren’t able to grow babies like mine did, and it seems disgraceful that I would complain about a body that functions almost perfectly. So I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. Because I am eternally grateful.
It’s the truth.
But, there have been times in the past few years (my oldest is almost three), when there’s been another truth that I haven’t felt “allowed” to talk about – there’s been times when I’ve felt like I hate my postpartum body.
And then the real kicker is that I feel SO MUCH SHAME about feeling that way.
Originally, I wanted to make this sort of light, like the ten things I hate about you poem. (You know, from the 90’s movie. Does that date me?)
Sort of like this:
I hate the way my boobs just hang, like empty pancake socks
I hate the way my hair falls out (I miss my awesome locks)
I hate my crepey stomach skin, and the stretch marks on my butt
I hate how fat I feel in jeans; (tights are better – somewhat)
I hate it, I hate the way I pee myself – can’t hold it if I try
Postpartum hormones are no joke – I hate it when I cry
I hate it that these hemorrhoids suck, and the fact that they’re here to stay
But mostly I hate the way I’m “bad” for saying I feel this way.
(Ok so it’s not exactly the same, I left out the whole last line because poetry has never been my thing and I was stuck there, and I wasn’t about to invest another half hour of my life into that.)
As I got started with my poem though, it didn’t seem contrite enough, and I got really frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t turn it around and make it all positive and empowering and rainbows.
Because we’re SUPPOSED to love our postpartum bodies.
We’re supposed to be in awe of what these bodies have accomplished.
It’s tough to feel like you hate your body.
It’s awful to feel like you have to wear a bra in bed or see a picture of yourself in a swimsuit and think “is THAT what I really look like?”
It’s also awful to feel like you’re the only woman out there who isn’t strong enough to not give a damn what she looks like.
So even though I can’t shake the feeling that I’m letting down girl-power-warriors everywhere and setting women back 50 years, I want you to know that if you hate your postpartum body, you’re normal and you’re not alone.
I also want to tell you that I believe it will get better.
The truth about my postpartum body is that it is just different – and to me, different FEELS worse… but I’m going to work on changing the things I can change (I’m starting this postpartum core healing workout), and I’m going to work towards accepting the things I can’t change.
Like my boobs.
I think the damage is pretty permanent there.
UPDATE – I just read about a woman who’s dead boob CAME BACK a few years later!!!