When I was pregnant, I was slightly worried about how I would cope with my body after labour. How would I feel about being in a body that was slightly flabby, potentially a bit broken and not like the one I had pre-pregnancy?
I knew that part of my thoughts were due to the struggles I’ve had in the past with eating, having spent a period of my life locked in battle with anorexia and, up until recently, dealing with stress and anxiety through compulsive comfort eating. I remember standing in front of my mirror so many times, pinching the fat on my tummy and judging the dimply skin on my bottom. I would look at other people who were slender with such envy; I couldn’t comprehend how they were able to eat a sensible amount of food and stop when they were full when thoughts of food constantly plagued my mind.
So it was normal for me, in advance of giving birth, to be concerned about how I would feel about my postpartum body.
I have to tell you, dear friend, how much I’ve been astounded by my actual experience of how I view my post-pregnancy body. Instead of judgement at how I look, I’m filled with a sense of wonder and amazement at it.
My body, which is capable of producing enough milk to feed and make my baby thrive.
My body, which went through the most physically challenging experience I’ve ever experienced – labour – and is still standing strong.
My body, which was able to grow another human being.
Another human being!
And it is so much more than that. It is capable of healing itself when hurt, warming itself when cold, has ways of coping with famine and has such strength and resilience.
I remember looking at my stomach the day after labour – it was a bit flabby, still rounded like in early pregnancy – and all I could think about was the amazement I had for it. And I thought to myself ‘how could I have ever been judgemental about my body when it is capable of so much?’
It was as if a light had been switched on and I could suddenly see my body for what it truly is. It’s not something to be scorned, punished or hated or an object to be toned and sculpted to perfection.
It’s truly incredible, amazing and worthy of all my love and respect.