Every time I go swimsuit shopping I swear Bill Withers sings, “Aint No Sunshine when she’s gone“, in my dressing room. And by “gone”, he’s talking about my pre-baby body.
(Don’t be smilin’ Bill. You’ve never had diastasis recti.)
For real. I don’t even know why I go swimsuit shopping anymore. I should just wear a garbage bag and call it a day. Only I can’t…because I’m a mom now and I have to swim in the water so my two-year old doesn’t drown. #responsibilities
There is a silver-lining to all of this, I promise, but first I must regale to you all of my humbling post-baby body moments, just so you don’t think I’m sitting here looking like Christy Brinkley. Cause I don’t.
(Is she even human? I mean, she’s 64 in this picture!!?!)
As for me and my 38-year old self:
My FIRST post-baby bod moment happened when I was nursing my first daughter and she literally pulled on my nipple and stretched it out like silly puddy. No joke. It stretched out like Stretch Armstrong and never went back. The horror! I cried for days.
My SECOND post-baby bod moment happened when I put on jeans and realized that my hips had expanded. Now obviously they’re “supposed” to do that in order to grow a baby and push one out, but that didn’t seem to happen with my first baby so why did it have to happen with my second??!
My THIRD post-baby bod moment happened with the diastasis recti. ARGHHHHHHH! You guys, my third baby WRECKED my abs. My midwife explained this to me at my 6-week check-up by asking me to do a mini-sit-up while I laid there, half naked in the stir-ups (there’s no end to this humiliation), and then asked me to press my fingers in the rift in my stomach. “You will never get your abs back,” she said. 😭😭😭😭😭😭
Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy???!?! Now everything on my body had changed! With clothes on I could kind of fake it (thank you Spanx) but with a swimsuit on, you just can’t.
So I came to a crossroads: I could either sit in my garbage bag and sweat like a bag of potato chips, OR I could swallow my vanity and get my post-baby bod into the pool and enjoy it. So I did. And thank God too!
Going swimming as a mom has not only been humbling, but it’s helped me unearth the lie that many women tend to believe (and can sometimes ignore until pregnancy) — that our self-worth comes from what we look like.
“It is not fancy hair, gold, jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from inside you — the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. THAT beauty will never disappear. And it is worth very much to God” (1 Peter 3:3-4).
I feel like every time I had a child, God said to me: Jonna, what do you REALLY believe in? Where is your self-worth? Because it can’t be in your outward appearance; that will all fade.
Plus, as a mom to three girls, I knew that I did NOT want my kids growing up thinking that their value comes from their chest size, pant size, hair volume, or eye color. That’s just absurd, right?! Their self worth and identity needs to be in God alone. So if that’s true for them, then it’s true for me too.
What I needed, then, was to develop some confidence in what God says about me, as well as in my post-baby body. Getting closer to God helped me have more confidence too! On a practical level, I also chose to only wear clothes that made ME feel good while also getting rid of everything else that didn’t. Like my maxi dresses. See ya! Thanks for no longer making me feel 3 months pregnant!
This has also meant foregoing the Target swimsuit section: ladies, post-baby bodies have NO business being there! I’m not kidding. Step away from the rack and head straight over to Everything but Water or Nani Nalu. These are the places that will make you feel fabulous and confident! And it’s worth every penny.
So at the end of the day, we have a choice, right?! We can either let gravity define us, or we can show Bill Withers that the Sunshine Ain’t Gone; it’s just moved on to more important matters, like raising our children, resisting comparison, and not wearing garbage bags to the pool. Let’s cannonball our way into summer (and motherhood)!