My Postpartum Body Image

I am a very fortunate girl in that I have never had a weight problem. But that doesn’t mean I’ve never worried about my weight. Like most girls I’ve been conscious about how I look since I was about thirteen. It was probably one underlying reason why I chose health science as a major in college. That’s when I really learned about our miraculous human bodies, nutrition, and exercise science. Back then I felt great and I think I looked great too! (Those pictures from our honeymoon are proof!)

Of course, that was all before I had two babies.

Every mother warns that having a baby will change a girl’s body forever. After Jed was born, I thought I understood what they meant when I struggled to do my first sit-up. Stomach muscles like pulled pork? Check. But then nine months later my body snapped back into shape and I was actually skinnier than I was pre-baby (thanks to a little less muscle tone and nursing). Upon delivering a second baby, I naively thought my body would do the same thing again--maybe take a little longer but still snap back into shape.

Boy, how wrong I was! Now I know what those seasoned mothers are talking about.

Here I am thirteen months postpartum. I’m at my goal weight. I’ve worked my tushy off. I even ran a half marathon! Okay, so I haven’t done as many push-ups and sit-ups as I probably should have, but I still exercised religiously and tried (oh, I should try even harder!) to watch what and how much I eat.

However, the truth is… I’m still not me. Not the old me anyway. I look in the mirror and frown, thinking she’ll never be back. I mean, my arms are “fat” and my waist is two inches wider. My tummy is not only a bit poochy but it has chicken skin too! You know, the skin that was stretched too far for too long that doesn’t stand a chance bouncing back into bikini shape. Ugh. It’s honestly depressing.

I’m having a hard time accepting this new shape of mine. I’m determined to keep working at it and I think it will improve, but I know deep down inside that the 22 year old woman I used to look like is gone forever.

My friend Amy tried to pacify me when she said I’m a size two babies. Huh? That’s how all jean sizes should be labeled, she explained: +2 Babies, +3 Babies, etc.

I think she’s right. I ought to shake these slightly stretched out hips of mine with pride! My babies are my pride and joy and my body is the physical proof of my sacrifice and devotion and unconditional love. Yes, my chicken skin is simply a battle scar!

Though my body has been marred, I CAN STILL FEEL BEAUTIFUL!

And beauty? Well, that is an entirely different post for another day perhaps. All I know is that I feel good about the girl in the mirror staring back at me most days. She’s talented, intelligent, and a good friend. Better yet, she gives her all to her family and she is definitely loved back. And when all is said and done--to love and be loved--isn’t that all that really matters?

 Also, a little photoshop is good for a girl too.  ;) wink wink


  1. Oh you do look great my friend! I know what you mean though. You are a wonderful writer! And yes, we need to get together soon, in Idaho or you are always welcome to visit, we have lots of space for guests :-)

  2. So perfectly said!! You look fantastic!! Way to go Momma!!

  3. You are GORGEOUS, Jessie! And you look so much like your dad. Seriously, you do...out of all three of you, you are his spitting image except you are a girl and more feminine and prettier.

    I hate to tell you this, but if you plan on having more babies, that tummy is only going to get worse. After my second, it was bad, but after my third--the HORROR! I tease that I'm getting a tummy tuck and I'm going to collect 3500 dollars from each kid to pay for the damage they did to my stomach!

    I've learned that if you eat, exercise--you just feel so much better. You have more energy, more confidence--things dont effect you so dramatically, you can handle stress. Focus on being healthy and strong...if you do, the beautiful part just happens.

  4. Oh geez do I love your blog. What a woman you are! An inspiration! An honest to goodness inspiration! I'm about to land in your country soon-- the part where i spend a lot of time scrutinizing my body and a lot of time telling myself to stop scrutinizing my body because I am me and there's no one else I'd rather be, stretched out tummy and all!

    Thanks for the reminder. I hope I can embrace things like you have.

  5. I think the body is again the same but you can try me after the second pregnancy Slims 17 kg by exercising and leading a balanced diet but my belly will not return to be the same and my cacera or my chest .... But well worth it I guess. Kisses and happy Thursday.


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