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It's a Mother's Body
July 12, 2013
I've heard mothers around me say, "Ugh, the baby RUINED my body" or "I just want my old body back!"

Not me.

I don't want my old body back. The body I had before was not the one that had babies. The body I had before was not the one that gained the weight necessary to grow, sustain, and nurture the baby within. The body I had before was not the one that proved on two occasions that it could be put through the extreme stress and gory aerobics of labor and come out the other end slightly battered but complete. The body I had before was not the one that showed a remarkable capacity for quicker healing the second baby around.

I'm (slowly) back to running and (tentatively) going to yoga because I honestly do want to drop what pregnancy weight I can, but it's mainly for convenience. I can't wear maternity togs forever and I don't have the time or inclination to go out and buy new clothes. I'd much rather go back to my old clothes. I also want to drop the weight because I'd like to get my previous lung capacity back. Hauling extra pounds around is tiring, and I need that energy for my family. I need that energy for my work. I need that energy for my sanity.

Running and yoga are going to give me that energy back, but I'm under no misapprehension that they will work miracles. Running and yoga won't turn back the clock. Because when I lose the pregnancy weight, and everything is more or less back where it used to be, it's still not going to be the body I had before. The hips will always be slightly wider, and I'll probably have to get resized for bras (again), and something will have changed about my butt or my neck or my elbows so that clothes don't necessarily feel exactly the way they did before and I won't ever be able to figure out why. But that's pregnancy. That's life. That's motherhood.

When I do have the time -- which is blessedly rare -- I look at myself frankly naked in the mirror. What I see doesn't repulse or dismay me the way it might have done before I had kids. What I see makes me shrug in a "yeah, that's about right" sort of way before a scream or a shriek or a crash (or all three) makes me throw on clothes and turn away from my reflection and toward my kids.

My body will never be the same, but I don't want it to be.

The body I had before belongs to my past.

The body I had before wasn't a mother's body.

The body I have now is.

Photo by Jen Maiser

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Stephanie Vander Weide Lucianovic