Motherhood has been the most incredible transformation of my life. In so many different ways it has changed me for the better. For one, it has completely changed my relationship with my body.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you may have heard me discuss the fact that I had a very unhealthy relationship with my body. For most of my high school years I struggled with disordered eating. I would restrict my calories to about 500 a day, and workout for an hour a day after school in my bedroom to burn off as much of that as I could.
When I went to college, I did the exact opposite. I numbed myself with alcohol and ate my feelings. I went from calorie restriction to binge eating and drinking.
No matter what I would look in the mirror and dislike what I had to see. It didn’t matter when people told me how great I looked, or my boyfriend (now husband) would tell me how beautiful he thought I was.
It wasn’t until I was 23, and my husband encouraged me to work on my relationship with my body, and get healthy that I began to heal my relationship. I learned how to fuel my body instead of deprive it, and how to exercise my body healthily instead of punish it. Healing my body helped me to heal my my mental health too.
My deepest healing came however when I became pregnant with my first child. I remember worrying that my unhealthy habits or thoughts would creep back up as I watched my body change drastically and quickly. Instead I found myself in awe of my beautiful new body and the life it was creating inside of it.
That feeling only continued after birthing my daughter. This past pregnancy, the love I have for this body grew even more. I watched it once again blossom into a beautiful home for another lovely little girl.
I saw it’s power as it labored and birthed her quickly and powerfully. I sit in awe of it now as I watch it shrink slowly back down. I cannot believe how after 9 months of housing a little human and birthing that tiny person, it is capable of caring for 2 children day in and day out as it continues to heal.
The other day, my two year old daughter saw me getting dressed after taking a shower. She has started to become super curious about the human body since she saw my tummy shrink since her sister was born.
My last pregnancy I didn’t have a single stretch mark, while this time I gained quite a few. She innocently touched them and asked me “mom…. what are these?!”
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little upset when I first saw them appear on my belly a few weeks before my baby was born. I mourned the fact that I would never wear a bikini or crop top again, and complained about them to my girlfriends and husband. That being said, I have made it a mission only to talk about my body in a loving, positive way in front of my daughter. I know that the way I look at, and talk about my body is how she will in the future.
Without even thinking I responded to her “these are my Super Mama stripes! I earned them by growing two incredible little ladies in my belly!”
She got the biggest smile when I said that and asked “Wow! Can I have those too?!”
This made my heart so happy. I explained to her that yes, someday she can earn them too. She looked so proud that her body could do the same thing mine had just done, it made my day.
I couldn’t tell you where that explanation came from, it just flew out of my mouth. I can tell you that it not only made my toddler proud of my body, but it has actually made me more proud as well. Now every time I look into the mirror, I no longer see ugly stretch marks. Instead, I see my Super Mama stripes, reminding me how amazing and powerful my body truly is.
Motherhood has taught me many many things. I am so grateful that becoming a mama has taught me to truly love my body, and appreciate it for all its beauty.
So moms, next time you look in the mirror and don’t recognize that body staring back at you, know that this body in front of you has transformed from human into a super human. The body you miss has now created and birthed life, it shouldn’t look the same.
Think of Spider-Man, Captain America, Captain Marvel and all the other superhero’s who have come before you. We are just like them. So be proud of your new body, and of your Super Mama stripes!