I've been thinking about my body recently. It's kind of hard not to - some part of me is usually unclothed and hanging out at any given point. (Ah, breastfeeding.)
I've been sore recently, which made me start thinking about things more. I'm still carrying around plenty of "extra" weight after having Thomas, so I'm sure that contributes to me feeling sore. I'm getting ready to go back to work, so now thinking about what I have to wear that "fits". Apparently wearing sweat pants and nursing tanks to my job at a Fortune 500 company isn't a great plan. :-\
Part of me - the part that's been worrying about this weight/appearance thing since I was a teenager - immediately thinks "Ugh, you're so big and fat and everyone's going to SEE that! Insert negative comments about my stomach/arms/thighs/butt here." Another part of me is so exhausted she couldn't give two ****s about what anyone thinks. She's kind of annoyed and grumpy due to lack of sleep, so please excuse her. But another narrative showed up yesterday, and I thought this was pretty powerful.
Most days I'm running around taking care of everyone else and since I'm not going anywhere, a shower is low on the priority list. But yesterday, Thomas was cooperative so I had a chance to take a decently long, hot shower. Bliss!
While in the shower, I took stock.
Yep, I'm bigger for sure - all over. I've lost a bit of the baby weight just from existing these last 6 weeks, but the rest is hanging on there. That kind of sucks, but one of the cool things is that I'm curvy in ways I never was before. I have hips. I still have a soft postpartum belly. I have cleavage (and at varying times throughout the day I have way MORE cleavage. Ah, breastfeeding.). I'm not carrying a baby inside me anymore, but I'm still full. Full of life. Full of milk. Full of possibility and confidence and ability. More than I've ever felt, even though the scale shows me the highest number I've ever seen.
I used to think about my boobs a lot. (I mentioned this in another post - I had some pretty big insecurities about my size and being "too small" up top.) I'd be frustrated when I couldn't find bras or bathing suits that fit well or looked flattering. Let me tell you - I think about my boobs a lot more these days. Mostly because they've transformed themselves into these incredible vessels for nutrient delivery to a tiny person. And not just nutrient delivery, but perfectly tailored nourishment. Think: fats, liquids, antibodies, you name it. They require maintenance now - if I go too long without nursing or pumping, there could be trouble. They grow and shrink in size. I feel things as a nursing mom that I don't get to feel any other time (the tingly let down, the bizarro leaking when baby [or toddler, as it turns out] cries, feeling full versus feeling empty....). They are incredible. I'm in awe. And kind of wishing I was nicer to them back in the day, because they certainly deserve that respect and appreciation.
My skin is coming back to itself. I have stretch marks everywhere - this last baby of mine made himself known, and these marks will follow me. On my thighs, belly, breasts. All the best parts. All the parts that transformed themselves completely to allow room to create a person. From scratch!
I worried a bit about stretch marks after James. But now, I'm not so concerned. Sure, having a youthful, slender, unmarked body would be nice... visually. But I'm not the same person I was when I was 18 or 21 or 25. I don't want to give up what I've learned, and how I've grown and what I've accomplished. These marks are like a line in the sand. A road map. A visual reminder to myself of how far I've come as a woman. Sometimes it's tricky, going through this life. Day after day lines up and files out, and it's easy to think and feel that no time has passed at all. Children change this. And so do these marks. I owe it to myself to reflect on all that has happened and who I really am.