I hear it often enough. I’m thin, as I always have been, and the scale balances a mere 10 lbs heavier than it did before my babies came. “You look so good!” is common to my ears. “You don’t look like you even had a baby!”
In many ways, I do look good for having two kids, one only three short months ago. Yet, I remember well what my body was like. These days when I look in the mirror I only see a shadow of what my body used to be. Stretch marks dot my skin…scars from carrying new life within me and then bringing it into this world twice over. Love handles that never used to be there, even after my first baby, hang over the top of my jeans. My belly pooches out in a squishy mess of extra skin (thank you, Nora, for making my belly so stinking big!). Things sag that didn’t used to and squish where there used to be firmness.
Then there’s the rest of my physical appearance. My fingernails sit chipping and needing attention for weeks because I can never seem to find the time to paint them. When I do finally paint them, invariably some child will unexpectedly need my attention and they’ll end up smudged and imperfect. I usually manage to get makeup on, but by the end of the day it’s badly needing to be refreshed. I tend to go one too many days without washing my hair, and my outfits are planned around nursing. I never wear white because that would just be insane, plain and simple.
Yet, I’ve honestly never felt more beautiful. I’m lucky enough to have a husband who thinks this post-baby me is more attractive than my pre-baby, skinny-as-a-rail self…and he makes sure I know it. My children find comfort in my squishes and rolls. My extra skin is Miles’ favorite place to snuggle when he’s sick or tired. As I gradually transform my wardrobe to accommodate nursing and motherhood, I find myself discovering better my own personal styles and tastes and dressing accordingly. Most importantly, I am proud of each stretch mark and roll. They’re the lasting memorials of the two precious babies I bore…my two little blessings from God.
Maybe, after all, my current body is not the shadow of its former self. Maybe it’s the other way around.