Early Cinco de Mayo + Thoughts on the Post-Pregnancy Body
Hi friends! Doing the Friday dance over here…although we’re running on a little less sleep over here. After a few nights of great sleeping, Lila decided to throw a little party last night. It was an all-nighter, and Ryan and I were both invited—lucky us!
Dinner last night was an early Cinco de Mayo meal:
Tacos with toppings. Easy and delicious.
I went to another Barre class yesterday morning, and I’m feeling it today—those classes are no joke. I was going to go to another class today, but when I woke up and could barely lift my legs out of bed, I decided a little break might be necessary. I know I need to ease back into these workouts—my strength is nowhere near where it used to be, even though I worked out during my pregnancy.
It’s hard not to throw myself into working out with abandon for a few reasons. First and foremost, I like exercising. I like the way it makes me feel, and I love the stress release that comes with it. I’ve always been an exerciser, and consider it a part of my identity. No, I don’t win medals at races. No, I don’t run marathons. But I consistently do something on most days of the week, and I like to push myself. I like sweat. I like breathlessness. I like my red face. Working out is not something I have to do—it’s something I like doing. Eating healthy doesn’t always come easily for me, but exercise? That I love.
And secondly—and this is where things get a little more complicated—I miss my old body, and, frankly, I’d like to have it back.
I read this article on the Huffington Post yesterday, and while I enjoyed parts of it, some of it really rubbed me the wrong way. In the article, Winterton writes, “It’s time to pause and ask where our obsession with eradicating the physical evidence of pregnancy and birth has come from…” and then argues that much of it comes from societal pressure. She writes that women in America are “reared on a diet of post-baby celebrity bodies,” and therefore feel a strong need to return to “the ‘perfect, taut stomach’ of a pre-pregnancy teenage girl” almost immediately after giving birth.
First of all, my stomach has never been the perfect, taut stomach of a pre-pregnancy teenage girl—even when I was a teenage girl. My body pre-pregnancy certainly was not perfect—but it was my body. So much of pregnancy and motherhood is about relinquishing control, and part of that is relinquishing control of your body. In pregnancy, your body, especially your stomach, becomes something not wholly your own. Post-pregnancy,especially if you decide to breastfeed, you certainly hand over your breasts.
And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling a little bit sad about this—or even angry. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with mourning the loss of your old body, rather than celebrating your new one. Honestly, it’s pretty hard for most women to celebrate stretch marks. In the article, one mother calls her stretch marks a “badge of motherhood.” I think it’s wonderful that she thinks of her body in such positive terms. But you know what? I have a badge of motherhood too—her name is Lila. So you can keep the stretch marks.
I don’t think it means that I’m superficial or have fallen prey to the evils of our celebrity-obsessed society, simply because I’d like to fit in my shorts again. I’m not striving to be Jessica Alba—I just want to recognize my body again. With everything that has changed in the past nine months, seeing my old, familiar body will be like welcoming an old friend back into my life. And these days, I’ll take familiarity wherever I can get it.
Whew—long post. If you’re still reading, have a great weekend!