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Along Abbey Road | A Lifestyle And Family Blog : The Post-Baby Body Complex

2.13.2014

The Post-Baby Body Complex




When I look in the mirror in my most raw and vulnerable state, staring back at me is a body covered in scars, marks, and fleshy skin. My stomach is not flat and tight, but rather readjusting from stretching itself to take on a different kind of beauty that comes with carrying life. The backs of my thighs are riddled with grooves and dimples, previously preparing a way for my baby to enter the world. My waist continues to hold on to those extra inches, which sustained my body to hold the weight of a growing child in my womb, and my face is still slightly more round, all the more to smile back with to my cooing baby.

I am sick of the tiresome and grueling pressure I feel as a woman to achieve a picturesque body, especially after having a baby. Our society inundates women with images of how we should and should not look — moms should be thin specimens of proof that having a baby doesn't ruin your body; moms should take pride in not "letting go" of themselves (I hate that saying); moms shouldn't be fat and frumpy; moms shouldn't use motherhood as an excuse to not maintain a fit and chiseled body.

I vehemently disagree with all of that nonsense with all the passion my motherly and "flawed" body holds.

One of my favorite quotes is from Eat, Pray, Love, when Elizabeth Gilbert is talking about the unrealistic standards of the female body image, and her final surrender to release herself from its confines.

"Let me ask you something. In all the years that you have ... undressed in front of a gentleman, has he ever asked you to leave? Has he ever walked out and left? No? It's because he doesn't care! He's in a room with a naked girl, he just won the lottery. I am so tired of saying no, waking up in the morning and recalling every single thing I ate the day before, counting every calorie I consumed so I know just how much self loathing to take into the shower. I'm going for it. I have no interest in being obese, I'm just through with the guilt. So this is what I'm going to do, I'm going to finish this pizza, and then we are going to go watch the soccer game, and tomorrow we are going to go on a little date and buy ourselves some bigger jeans."

Clap, clap, clap! Bravo, Elizabeth Gilbert! Thank you for putting what we women feel into such delightful and relatable words. Isn't it the truth, though? I have absolutely no interest in being obese, and I certainly have no interest in measuring up, or rather down, to the inches and pounds of models and celebrities tormented with eating disorders. I'm tired of everyone treating sugar likes it's anthrax. I wholeheartedly believe in putting healthy, clean foods in my body, coupled with exercising, but I wholeheartedly believe in balance and enjoying life, too. And in my case, that comes in the form of a double layered chocolate cake.

Like Elizabeth, I am done sabotaging my self-confidence with a deluded sense of self-image. I can confidently say I am at a point in my life where I am beginning to truly love myself, imperfections and foibles included. I love my scars and soft, flimsy midsection. You know, I'm even beginning to love my cellulite if you can believe it. And it's because I am a woman. My body was made to be curvy and stretched and marked in order to give life. And I wear those womanly, motherhood badges proudly.

Be on your hungry way, Post-Baby Body Complex. I don't want you, and I definitely don't need you.

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23 Comments:

At February 13, 2014 at 8:56 AM , Blogger Megan Davey said...

Amen. I'm 12 week post-pardeum, and I feel the guild of having not "bounced back" creeping over me as I get ready to return to work and most my pre-baby clothes still don't fit... but shoo, shoo away guilt!

Megan from Chasing Davies

 
At February 13, 2014 at 8:57 AM , Blogger Camille Millecam Whiting said...

I love this! I haven't been able to have kids yet, but I think the principle applies at all phases of life. We always have something we hate and feel like we're being judged for.

 
At February 13, 2014 at 9:16 AM , Blogger Janelle said...

Beautifully put! And I love that quote from eat, pray, love!

 
At February 13, 2014 at 9:27 AM , Blogger Ann Bates said...

I love this! And I absolutely love your hair!! You are one gorgeous mama!

 
At February 13, 2014 at 9:39 AM , Anonymous Stacy @ Stacy Eats said...

I don't have kids quite yet, but I totally agree with you! There is too much pressure put on women when we should be embracing all that our bodies can do.

 
At February 13, 2014 at 10:47 AM , Blogger Jessy Carlisle said...

Love this!! And being preggo with baby #1, I had some issues with gaining baby weight to begin with. But, as I've become more confident and accepting this amazing gift, I've realized this is what our bodies are made for. It is hard sometimes to see my stretching belly (and butt and thighs and everything else), but it is a beautiful thing we are able to do.

 
At February 13, 2014 at 10:59 AM , Blogger Jessica said...

This makes me want to cry...having a second baby boy 3 weeks ago...my body will never be the same. Thank you for sharing that there is someone who feels the same way I'm feeling. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who isn't bouncing right back into my jeans :)

 
At February 13, 2014 at 3:00 PM , Blogger Offer KINDNESS. Choose GENEROSITY. Give LOVE! said...

AMEN Abby!
What beautiful words and images from you today.
Our society can be cruel, and we can be even more cruel to ourselves.

You are so right.
And may I say I love your new do! I'd really love to see it dark too.

Thank you friend for your wisdom.
(9 weeks post baby number 2 and holding on to the 10 extra lbs way longer than with the first).

 
At February 13, 2014 at 3:07 PM , Blogger Jenna said...

Abbey, you have a way with words. I love your writing! All of this is so true, and it's amazing to me STILL how much is pushed and pressured on women to "look" a certain way. Sure, it's important to take care of yourself and try to stay healthy, but happiness is also a huge part of keeping healthy. As long as you're happy within yourself, that's all that truly matters. You have a beautiful heart, and I love that I follow your blog. You're inspiring!

 
At February 13, 2014 at 4:15 PM , Blogger Jessica Holly said...

Thanks for this Abbey! I was just having this conversation with Steve last night. I feel like I've never heard any woman say "I love my body" without being sarcastic and this shouldn't be the norm. We should love our bodies, especially as women.

 
At February 13, 2014 at 7:12 PM , Blogger Katie said...

This could be my favorite post ever. I completely agree and I think we as women need to start the change we want to see in society.

 
At February 13, 2014 at 7:18 PM , Blogger steph nelsen said...

agree! and at 35, have come to love my "grown woman" face. i don't look like i'm in my 20's anymore. and that is ok :)

 
At February 13, 2014 at 8:51 PM , Blogger Jayme said...

Thank you for this post! As a 25 year old, in my first trimester with my first babe, what's about to unfold with changes to my body has me both excited and anxious. This was exactly what I needed to read tonight!

 
At February 13, 2014 at 9:12 PM , Anonymous Bethany said...

This is a beautiful post, and you are a beautiful woman and mom!

 
At February 14, 2014 at 9:02 AM , Blogger Mavie Miller said...

This is such a great post. I grew up thinking there was something wrong with me, as I am certain most girls do, due to magazines like Seventeen saying things like "get flatter abs" and concentrating on why un-flat abs are not to be considered beautiful. So what if my abs are not perfectly chiseled, I would never have thought there was something wrong with myself if someone hadn't given me that idea. Let's all just celebrate being happy first and foremost, healthy and buy ourselves a nice, new pair of jeans!

 
At February 14, 2014 at 12:40 PM , Blogger Terri Wirth said...

thank you abbey for posting this. your words are an inspiration to women everywhere.

 
At February 14, 2014 at 2:04 PM , Blogger Anne Hill said...

Thank you thank you for this post! I'm still learning to love my post baby body, but I really think we should love it! Crazy standards be damned, I need my cake ;)

 
At February 15, 2014 at 7:23 AM , Blogger Tisse said...

I love this, Abbey! Well I love everything you post but I love this especially. Much love to you... kep preachin it, sister <3

 
At February 15, 2014 at 6:13 PM , Blogger Emily Kate said...

Stunning photos and beautiful words, the perfect combo!

 
At February 15, 2014 at 9:51 PM , Blogger Sierra @ Oh, Just Living the Dream said...

You are beautiful. :)

 
At February 17, 2014 at 8:52 AM , Blogger Alicia Mackin said...

First off I think you look great and look at that bundle of joy you have who cares! Cute blog following via Bloglovin.

Allie of ALLIE NYC
allienyc.com

 
At February 18, 2014 at 5:36 PM , Blogger Katie said...

I think you are beautiful and all moms :)

 
At February 19, 2014 at 10:30 AM , Blogger Leah said...

Even those of us you have not had a baby struggle with the constant bombardment of what society thinks is beautiful. Thank you for this post, it could not have come at a better time. I have been beating myself up for gaining a few pounds and working out extra hours at the gym to lose that weight, but I think tonight I am going to sit and watch tv and eat bagel bites :)

 

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