Mama, Your Body Is Perfect

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Mama, Your Body Is Perfect

December 8, 2016

Inevitably it seems, a new mom’s main concern, aside from her baby, is how to get her pre-baby body back, how to lose just a few more pounds. The message communicated to her isn’t to take it easy or to nurture herself, but to diet and begin exercising as soon as possible. She’s bombarded by media artillery depicting new and veteran “fit moms” in sports bras, flexing their muscles and showing off their abs. This in itself isn’t the issue. And censoring these fit women is not the answer, but reframing the message moms are receiving and how new moms are treated, is.

Almost every new mom I’ve encountered, myself included, is eager to resume her fitness routine, so she can lose weight and fit into her pre-pregnancy jeans. She is exhausted from her shocking lack of sleep, breast or bottle feeding a baby multiple times a day and night, and dealing with a plethora of new feelings, anxieties, and hormonal changes. Women in North America give birth to their babies and are sent on their way, hours or days later, often with little to no support or guidance. Spouses and partners may have additional time off, but for many new moms, family isn’t available during the day. And so, many new moms are left completely alone, with their babies, with their bodies, and with their thoughts. In North America, new moms are left to do it alone and told that having a baby is no big deal, that getting back to their pre-baby body is easy and attainable and should be high on the priority-list.

It’s all bullshit. Every bit of it. Motherhood is hard as hell. It is isolating. It is exhausting. It is alienating. New moms are at their most vulnerable in those early days, weeks, and months, spending more time online than ever before, trying to grapple with their new identity, their new role. It’s in these moments when new moms are most vulnerable, most susceptible to believing the bullshit that is out there. To believing that their bodies are failures because they can’t fit into their jeans. In these moments, many new moms begin to doubt themselves, to believe the bullshit. And many begin punishing themselves, commencing exercise way too soon and way too intensely. Many start dieting, restricting calories, avoiding fats. This hurts my heart.

Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. I’m sick of seeing ads talking about blasting your fat, getting rid of love handles or muffin tops or mommy tummy. This is predatory marketing. Preying on new moms’ vulnerability is sickening. I was so incredibly thin before I had my kids and even then, I thought I was fat. Fat! And what is fat anyways? Are you fat if you have a body fat percentage of this or that? Are you fat if you don’t have a flat tummy or thigh gap? Are you fat if you are bigger than a size 8? The word fat needs to piss off!

My perfect "mommy tummy" is soft, squishy, and streaked with stretch marks.

My perfect “mommy tummy” is soft, squishy, and streaked with stretch marks after having my two children.

Something is seriously wrong with the message that women are receiving. The message seems to be that you will never be good enough, that you need to buy this product, do this exercise, eat this food, wax this, shave that, and maybe, just maybe, you might be palatable, tolerable, decent. No. Fucking. Way.

Here’s the message I want you to hear. Loud. And. Clear. Your body is perfect. I see you at the grocery store, the mall, the farmers’ market. I see you at barre class, the swimming pool, the park. I see you. I see all of you. I see the sum of all your parts. I see your strong arms that hold and comfort your children. I see your forehead that creases when you’re worried and your laugh lines from all your giggles. I see your legs that hold you and your family up, that would climb mountains for your children, for anyone’s children. I see your stomach, the one that grew, nurtured, and carried babies, and that has cushioned them earthside. I see your eyes sparkle when you’re with your children and narrow as you scold them. I see your hands that hold tiny hands, that change diapers, make meals, fold laundry. I see your lips that kiss boo-boos, sing lullabies, and speak love and kindness. I see you for all that you are. Magnificent. Powerful. Awe-Inspiring.

Next time you pass by a mirror, stop and see yourself. Really see yourself. See the beauty, power, and strength that is you. You are worthy.

With so much love,

chelsey

0 Responses to “Mama, Your Body Is Perfect”

  1. Charla says:

    Thank you Chelsey! Sing the truth. I was having a tough day dealing with some issues and body image was one of them! Your post lifted me up!

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