Having a baby is an exciting, wonderful, life-enriching thing. When you have a beautiful, healthy child, there is a great deal of gratitude, joy, and awe. There are also other emotions. Feelings like frustration, fatigue, and anxiety. I had my third child almost 3 weeks ago, and the crazy emotional cocktail arrived with its typical fanfare. Because I have been through it twice before, I know what to expect and it doesn’t reek the same kind of havoc; however, my poor husband has ridden the crazy train with me a few times in the last 3 weeks.
One of the things that bothers me the most is my post-pregnancy body. It is so awkward at first because you can’t hide behind pregnancy to explain it. Inevitably someone asks you when your baby is due, and you try to light-heartedly say, “Um, I had him a couple of weeks ago – I’m still working on the belly…” You are embarrassed, she is embarrassed, and you cry a little – even though it’s perfectly normal to have a belly still.
Women do this all the time! We have unrealistic, silly expectations of our bodies. Not only that, in wishing for something else, we totally miss the things we have. For example, I can’t enjoy my larger boobs because I still have my baby belly. Such a shame.
I have been trying to learn from our clients who have an accurate self-perception, and like what they see. A person who likes herself is easier to be with, and work with, especially in photography. She is quicker to laugh; she is more trusting; she shares more of herself, and wants to know more about others. A person who does not perceive herself accurately or is predisposed to see flaws is impossible to please. She will never be happy with herself, no matter how great she looks. Feeling good about oneself is a matter of the heart, and will not alter with just a change in the body.
So I am going to make a choice to own and love my body. At least I’m going to choose that in this moment – I’ll probably have a relapse as I’m getting dressed tomorrow morning and realize that none of my clothes fit me yet. But it’s ok! They will! My body, after all, has brought three lovely children into the world. And really, who would trade perfect abs for new little people?
When I start to feel more like myself physically, I am going to celebrate that. I am going to buy a pair of jeans, a clingy t-shirt, and a piece of lingerie. And I may even let my husband take my picture. And lastly, I am going to like the process, from the beginning to the end – from big round tummy to smaller round tummy.