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I Don’t Want to Look Like I Never Had a Baby

Photograph by Twenty20

I see it everywhere—advertisements, blog posts, magazines—they’re all telling us moms that they can help us get our pre-baby bodies back. We can erase any evidence that we ever carried another human being inside our bellies. No one needs to know we were once 50 pounds heavier with swollen ankles.

It seems tempting. After all, nothing is ever the same after you’ve given birth. Body parts have shifted or grown in size. Stretch marks have claimed their space on my skin and don’t seem to be going anywhere. Maybe it would be nice to go back to 24-year-old me. Slim, toned, smooth.

But when it comes down to it, I don’t want to erase the marks.

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I don’t want the same body I had in my early 20’s. I've carried and birthed three children since then, and I’m proud of that. I’m proud of what my body has accomplished. I’m proud to be a mom. I love being a mom and I want the whole world to know it.

Why is it that women should be made to feel ashamed of what our bodies look like after childbirth? We carry a little extra weight or have stripes across our abdomen. Maybe our breasts are a little saggier, our thighs a little thicker. Why is that a bad thing?

Childbirth and aging are not punishments to be ashamed of and hide. They are blessings to be celebrated.

I consider it a privilege that I've been able to carry three babies in my lifetime. It’s an honor that I've been able to age this far and I hope to have many more years ahead of me. Childbirth and aging are not punishments to be ashamed of and hide. They are blessings to be celebrated.

I’m not the same person I was before I had children. I have changed, evolved, and grown. I almost find it insulting when people tell me that I look like I haven’t had kids. I absolutely look like I have had kids! When I see myself in the mirror I see the evidence. My body went through so much and changed and adapted as a result and I want everything I’ve been through to be acknowledged, not ignored.

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I’ve not only changed on the outside, but I’ve also changed on the inside. Becoming a mother has stretched me in ways I didn’t even know were possible. And with each year that passes I continue to grow and develop as a person. My physical body reflects those changes.

I no longer have a single girl bod, I have a mom bod. I have a body that has been through intense physical changes. I have a body that spends more time playing with my kids than sweating it out at the gym. I have a body wrapped in comfy practical clothes rather than the latest styles off the runway.

That’s all OK with me.

I’m a mom now. I’m different. And truthfully, I think my body is more beautiful, strong, and capable now than it ever was before I had kids.

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