You know what they say — having a baby changes you.
It does, in so many ways. Perhaps the most fundamental change, though, is the change that mothers see in their bodies.
No matter how or if we lose that “baby weight,” our bodies are forever altered. While the scale may read the same number, our shapes change in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
But we asked you how you felt about your post-partum body, and many of you bravely shared your thoughts.
The majority of you told us that yes, you are uncomfortable with the changes you see in the mirror.
“Honestly? Not comfortable at all,” says reader Carryn Maclean. “My daughter is almost a year old and I haven’t lost hardly any of the weight. I can’t diet because I had such issues getting the nursing started that I’m afraid if I mess with my daily calorie intake it will impact the my ability to nurse. I look forward to the day when I can diet and hit the gym hard.”
Maclean isn’t alone. Kris Harrison was “fine” with her body after baby No. 1, but her second pregnancy resulted in twins.
“Fourteen months later, my belly looks like someone threw a party on it and left all the crepe paper behind,” she says.
Crepe paper is the perfect description, agrees Katie Mcsherry Vigil, and she added that nursing did “a number” on her breasts.
Stephanie Rosene Farney pumped her breast milk, and she says that alone was enough to change her body forever.
“Exclusively pumping for 11 months did far worse things to my body than pregnancy did,” Farney said. “I don’t like it, but he is worth the damage.”
“It Was Worth It”
The fact that you wouldn’t trade your stretch marks or belly pouch for your children was a common theme.
Many of you said that yes, your body endured permanent damage, but you got a fantastic child in return.
“I think if I had known how it would change my body, before my son, I wouldn’t have done it, literally,” says Jacqueline Hannah. “Now I know its 100 percent worth it, but its taken me almost four years to accept the changes and stop grieving the loss of my pre-baby body, to be honest.”
She adds that having a supporting, loving partner also goes a long way toward helping her accept and love her new body.
Andrea Erbach Siechen admits that her body isn’t perfect anymore.
“I am easily 50 pounds heavier after two children (close together). Am I happy with it? No,” she says. “If it was a choice between this body and my girls… I’d choose this body – every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”
“I Like My Body”
And then, there are those of you who are perfectly content with your body exactly the way it is.
Dannette Dunklau Tucker was just 19 days into her first term as a mom when she left us this delightful comment: “I like my body, but it’s mostly because both the baby and the changes to it are new.”
Tucker isn’t alone in her body acceptance. And Laura Haber even has a new-found respect for what hers can do.
“My body is definitely different from what it was like before having a baby, but my attitude towards it has changed, as well,” Haber says. “Before having a baby, I valued my body to the extent that I liked its appearance. Now I have more appreciation of what it can do. I can grow a human being inside of me.”
How do you feel about your body?