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.) She asked me to press my fingers in the rift in my stomach and said, “Feel that? Your abs have separated.” Oh really? I replied. How can I get them go back? “You can’t,” she said, and then walked away laughing. (Not really, but that’s how it felt to me at the time, the cruel joke that it was.)
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 cross roads: 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.
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? I believe most women “know” this to be true but don’t really accept it. We evade it or ignore it and then BAM. We have children.
Now we’re faced with not only our fading elasticity and our mom-pooch, but we also have to teach our children how to respect and honor their OWN bodies while we struggle to do the same! (Thank you irony.)
As a mom to three girls, I HAD to check myself, fast. Because I would rather walk around naked and shakin’ forever than let my girls grow up thinking that their value comes from their chest size, pant size, hair volume, or eye color. That’s just absurd, right?! So if it’s crazy for them to believe, then it’s crazy for me too!
What I needed, then, was to develop some confidence in my post-baby body. This can happen in a lot of ways, but on a practical level it meant wearing different 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! It’s true that they WILL cost you a pretty penny, but it’s entirely worth it. I promise.
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.
We all have REAL things to show for our sacrifice as mothers, so let’s not hide any of it. Let’s cannonball our way into summer (and motherhood) instead!