Standing in my bathroom at the hospital, alone for the first time in probably months, I looked at myself in the mirror. I stood there for awhile. Just thinking. Looking. How did I get to this point? How did my 31 years lead me to here? So much passed through my mind as I began processing the didn’t go my way birth of my very not planned third baby. I pulled up my mesh panties, took a deep breath and started the next chapter of my life.
This new chapter, the mom of three under 5 stage, the newborn all over again stage, the stereotypical yoga pants, messy hair and overly caffeinated mom stage, the just trying to survive stage is definitely not how I imagined life. Did any of us ever?
When you decide to have kids your life is no longer your own, you are committing yourself to someone for the rest of your life. This is true with your body as well. As I stood in that hospital bathroom taking in everything that had just happened, it was hard to believe that the person staring back at me was actually me. I once was this 24 year old, bikini wearing, traveling, carefree girl and suddenly there was this dark circle, pants don’t fit, lactating mom before me.
The dark circles under my eyes from years off all nighters. Nursing babies and comforting big siblings. Not sleeping is my body’s specialty. These wee hours of the night are when I do some of my best mom work and earn the forever dark circle. My eyes might not see worldly sites anymore but every day they get to see the wonder of these tiny little humans figure out their world.
The bikinis have been replaced my leggings. Everyday it’s leggings because wearing jeans is a chore after having children. Pregnancy and postpartum bodies are not meant for denim. Fully accepting this and embracing the leggings has been one of those mom hurdles that you just go with.
The breasts. I remember so many pubescent years of wondering if I’d ever get boobs. Now I stand here staring at these giant, engorged, milk producing things. I never imagined being so disconnected with my breasts. Going on five years of breastfeeding, I no longer worry about sexy cleavage, but about what clothes I can wear to make pulling out my nipple easiest.
The stretch marks, losing your hair, peeing when you cough, stitches in your vagina, hemorrhoids and the entire process of childbirth. If I were to have told myself these things upon having children I probably would have ran. Giving your body to motherhood is one of the hardest parts of this journey. One that you are not prepared for and seldom talked about.
Looking at myself in that mirror I just had to laugh. My body has been through the motherhood wringer. I could feel it, I could see it. So many years wishing to have a womanly body, to so many years loving and showing off that body, now giving up that body to grow and feed babies. This new chapter I am entering about accepting my body, a tired and worn out body. Loving and respecting this body that has grown three babies and fed them is just another chapter. Learning to love new parts of myself, healing those parts that can be healed and spending too much time trying to cover up.
I’ll start this new chapter of being in my 30s, with a postpartum body, and a giant cup of coffee with a newfound sense of self. Motherhood is hard, both mentally and physically. Giving yourself grace, taking time for self care and embracing this amazing body that has created life will be a huge part of this chapter.
I will look in mirrors with confidence and love this body. I am so happy that the road has lead me to this point in life and that 31 years has brought me here even if I do pee a little every time I laugh.