I gained very little weight when I was pregnant. While my pregnant friends reported getting fussed at by their doctors or even being put on a “diet” for taking that whole “eating for two” thing way too seriously and gaining too much weight, I was smug in the knowledge that I’d be one of those moms who “bounced back” after pregnancy. I’d bounce right back into my skinny jeans in no time at all. I pictured future me, trim and happy, cuddling my sweet, clean-smelling adorably outfitted baby and saying something ridiculous about how all the baby weight just “melted off.”
Yeah, I know. I want to slap me right now, too.
I ended up staying in the hospital a little longer than average due to some complications, so when I stepped on the scale as part of the maternity ward’s discharge procedures, I was pleased (and yes, still a little smug) to see the number on the scale very close to my pre-pregnancy weight.
But my body didn’t “bounce back.” Not exactly. The skin on my belly was loose and floppy. I was reminded of the line from ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and thought to myself, So that’s what a bowl full of jelly looks like. My gut spilled over the waistband of my jeans — my new jeans that I had to buy since I couldn’t pull my pre-pregnancy pants up over my post-pregnancy butt.
This was 24 (eek!) years ago, and I didn’t have to contend with the pressures that social media can sometimes bring for new mothers and, let’s face it, for women in general. I missed my old body and as delighted as I was with my baby, I hated my new, squishy stomach and wider hips.
I wish I would have had someone like Oliva White to look up to.
If you’re familiar with Instagram, you know that women sometimes use it as a measuring or accountability tool to monitor their postpartum weight loss or their physical fitness in general.
She decided to proudly showcase her post-pregnancy body exactly as is, and the photo is quickly going viral. It’s impossible not to have admiration for her beauty and her courage but this is the part that sealed the deal for me:
“I’m not the same person I was before I had babies, so why would I want my body to reflect something and someone I no longer am?”
Motherhood changes us in a myriad of ways. Why indeed are we spinning our wheels trying to achieve some crazy idea of perfection from a phase of our life that no longer represents who we are? I’m not suggesting we become completely different people when we become mothers, but we change.
We change from within. Priorities change. And yes, our bodies change. Why shouldn’t we accept that and embrace it?
And, the reason things go viral on the Internet is because they resonate with people. Olivia’s “take me as I am” stance of self-acceptance is something that moms who might not be in love with their post-baby bodies can relate to. Post-baby or not, maybe this message is also important for anyone struggling to accept their body.
Props to Olivia White for showing us what real motherhood and real womanhood look like and for reminding us what kind of badass things our bodies can do.
And now, I think I’m going to go and eat a cheeseburger in solidarity with zero guilt because I freaking earned it.
h/t: Scary Mommy