feel good: the shape of a mother
This is my post partum body.
For the past eight months, I've been struggling with this new version of myself. Some days, I feel rad and proud of what my body achieved: growing two tiny humans from scratch, and housing them safely for 35 weeks and two days. They were born healthy, and couldn't be more perfect. But then those other days. Days where I look in the mirror, and I don't recognize this soft, pliant belly. This stretched-out navel. Days where I touch my C-section scar and cringe, even though it was the only way to get my babies out safely. Days where I realized I'm still wearing my maternity jeans because they're the only ones that still fit me. Days where I feel and look like I've aged five years instead of 8 months, because holy cherries on a stick, these babes can run me ragged.
I'm still adjusting to motherhood, still finding my way. I expect this journey will continue for the rest of my life. I'm trying to find some kind of balance. I'm trying not to step on the scale so much, trying to forget what my pre-pregnant weight was. Why do I care so much about a number? I'm trying to eat moderately healthy, and that's hard too, when there's two babies who demand my attention for most of the day. But most of all, I'm trying to be kinder to myself, and do good things for my body and mind. I started taking barre classes three months ago, and it's been the biggest source of my confidence lately. There's just something about sweating it out while doing power squats and pliés in a room with other women (many of them mothers too) that makes me feel strong and beautiful.
Even the act of taking these photos for this post was empowering. I hadn't done any kind of photography just for me in such a long time, and it felt strange but good to roll down my seamless backdrop and go through the motions of doing a simple self-portrait again. I've missed it. But the most surprising thing of all was when I looked at the photos I'd taken after uploading them to my computer. Instead of seeing a battered, stretch-marked body, the one I've been so negative about these past months, all I could see was a beautiful mother. A mother who is doing the best she can. A mother whose kids love to climb all over that soft, stretched-out belly. A mother who loves her kids so hard. A mother who is learning to love her body again.