Postpartum: the time in which we discover a new version of the body we once loved and lived in. Within moments it became the vessel for new life. Within minutes we lost an immense amount of weight through the delivery of our child(ren).
We are often overwhelmed with the emotion of proudness; of pure and utter amazement. We did this. We birthed. We are stronger than we had ever imagined. We are absolutely magnificent creatures. We are Mothers.
Even while writing these words, this reflection gives my body full-blown shivers. And, though some believe they forget the experience of birth itself, whether Baby was delivered through cesarean or vaginally, I personally still remember the euphoria I experienced once my First Born slid out of my body. It was truly surreal.
Considering the trauma (note: I do not consider this type of trauma to have a negative connotation) we experience during our very unique labors; it is still unbelievable how we collectively feel a disconnect from our new bodies.
I write generally. Not all of us feel misplaced living in our new and improved bodies. Some feel connected to them the moment we become Mothers. Others, like myself, form a new relationship; a newfound love, respect and appreciation for what it did that influences the way I, like many others, look upon it.
There are many opinions that consider how most bodies don’t “bounce back” after birth. This term, in my mind, is oversaturated because whether your physical exterior could very well reflect the one you knew before motherhood, every single body changes after birth. Every single mind changes after birth. And this is something to embrace.
All good things take time. Carrying a child even takes (generally) 40+ weeks. Then, we are left with a sudden change. Something that takes 9 months to grow, then suddenly left it emptiness, flabbiness, and stretchiness. Our bodies are incredible non the less. But, it can be hard to embrace the new body that took months to form and seconds…or hours to empty.
It takes strength, acceptance and love to nourish our new bodies and to love our children to our fullest. Baby see, Baby do. The more we embrace our bodies the more likely our children are to be shameless and caring to theirs.
Even while considering its magnificence, it can be hard to learn and love your new and improved body. But, it can be vital. It can change the way we move, eat and live. Without love we have nothing.
Luckily, I personally see a major shift in advertisement, in television and in social media. I notice it changing my perspective and I hope it is changing yours. In turn, it will effect and change our children’s opinion on body positivity, too.
This does not mean I encourage you to publically post your stretch marks or sagging breasts; however, when you see these posts and notice the advertisements that are not touched-up with Photoshop, I encourage you to open up conversations with those around you. I encourage you to speak highly of those who are courageous enough to show off their natural bodies; especially those who publically post their new and improved bodies postpartum.
Though it is not always easy, we are seeing a shift in the public’s eye. If we continue to embrace our own bodies then this will hopefully subside most of our children’s own insecurities.
Body Positivity starts young and does not end when we’re old. It can be a constant battle and constant work. If we come together to appreciate what we did, recognize what we can do, we can shed new light onto these new and improved temples. Don’t forget: all good things take time.
Words by Mother Muse Julian Jamie
Art direction by Charlotte Ratel