Your Postpartum Body

Your Postpartum Body

Lately, I have seen many women posting pictures of their postpartum bellies to help break the stigma of not having a perfectly flat tummy after pregnancy. I love seeing all the real life pictures, and I love that we are trying to normalize postpartum bodies. I have deeply struggled with loving my new body because of diastasis recti and lots of baggy skin on my stomach. When I carry a baby, my stomach looks like I have swallowed a watermelon; this is not an exaggeration (I have pictures to prove it!). And my body did that three times, so you can imagine the disaster that is my abdominal wall. When I look at myself, I wish I could see a flat stomach, or even a bellybutton for that matter! I constantly compare my body to women around me who seem to bounce right back to a perfect, bikini-ready stomach. It’s a constant struggle, and it’s one that I wish would disappear.

Whenever I voice these concerns to my husband, he never fails to tell me that I am beautiful just the way I am. And even more precious, he tells me that he is glad that I carry these scars. Why? They remind him of what my body did to bring our three children into the world, and most of all, they remind him that our stillborn daughter did indeed exist. My broken body is proof that she grew inside of me; when the world tries to forget her, my body is evidence that she was real and she still matters. For a long time, I was mad at my body for failing her. I was ashamed that my womb did not protect her. But now, I understand that my body did keep her safe for nine months; it gave her a wonderful home for as long as it could. And her death was not my body’s fault. I can be grateful that God entrusted my body to sustain her life and help her grow; He could have given her to anyone, but He chose ME (and by extension, my stomach) to be her home. What an honor!

Whenever I am tempted to hate the way I look, I am trying to combat that by speaking truth and being grateful. Do I have a perfect stomach? No, but I do have a healthy body that can get pregnant. There are so many women who would give anything to have this stomach if it meant they had a baby. Do I have extra skin? Yes, but only because my body made room for three beautiful babies. It’s amazing that our bodies are able to do that! Do I look like the celebrity mom, Instagram model, or even like that other mom at church? No, but I am still beautiful just the way I am. Jesus says so and so does my husband, and to be honest, they are really the only opinions that matter! And most of all, if my stomach had gone back to normal, I wouldn’t have an ever-present reminder of my precious Hope Zoe. Yes, it’s painful to remember having her inside me, but only because I miss her so much. The time we had together was beautiful, and I’m glad that my tummy can remind me of that daily.

Do you also struggle with loving your postpartum body? If I were sitting with you right now, I would tell you that you are beautiful. I know that it’s so hard not to blame our bodies for the loss of our babies, but I believe it is essential to our healing to forgive our bodies and love them again. So, fellow bereaved mama, embrace your stretch marks, extra skin, and C-section scars. They are part of your story; they connect you to that baby that lives in your heart. Our bodies and our stories are heartbreakingly, breathtakingly beautiful just the way they are.

Lauren Young is a wife to Will and mom to two beautiful boys on earth (Matti and Sammy) and three precious babies in heaven (Hope, Jonah, and January).  She is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys writing, reading good books, cooking new recipes, and playing piano.  She lives in central Texas now but was born and raised in Georgia.  She and her husband are now in the adoption process and can't wait to see what God has in store for their family. 

Catherine Hartel

Comments

Catherine Hartel

Lauren, what a touching and beautiful topic you courageously talk about here. I’m so sorry for your loss of your 3 precious babies. What a beautiful way to remember your babies… by the changes they have left on our hearts as well as our bodies. Each one of my boys have left their own marks on my body as well, except my last one…or so I thought. I was reading last night about microchiserisms (or somethign like that) that basically states the babies DNA passes into the mothers bloodstream during pregnancy and is prt of the mother even after birth. It may sound strange, but it made me think about how part of my baby is still here… in me… in more ways than my heart. He was created and his DNA can still be traced in my body for decades to come. What amazing bodies we have, miraculous, and wonderfully made. You see after my 5th son was born my body didnt carry any new stripes that I could point to and say… that’s Hudson’s mark. I struggled with feeling like my body had forgetten him so quickly. Really the pain was just my body was the biggest reminder of my loss.

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