No one can deny pregnancy changes your body. You gain weight. Your hips widen. Your skin loosens. For some of us, our bodies turn unrecognizable so we stop being kind to ourselves and start self-critiquing. Then, after that baby is born, we look at ourselves in the mirror and see someone different. When I looked at my postpartum body I didn't see myself. Instead, I saw a broken version of someone I once was. I talked down to every part of me, but what if my body talked back? What would my thighs say if they could talk?
I've found myself wondering what it would be like if my body had a voice. Honestly, I bet it would be angry with me for treating it so poorly and for talking to it so cruelly. "Where did this extra roll come from?" "What's up with these lines all over my stomach?" "Why is there hair here?" These, and many more, questions swirled around in my self-judgmental mind like a Spotify playlist stuck on repeat. Still, at some point I had to stop and think, "My thighs aren't my enemy, so why do I treat them as such?"
Because they aren't the enemy, and because my postpartum thighs are part of a body that did something truly miraculous, it's time the self-doubt goes silent and I start to listen to my body. With that in mind, if my postpartum thighs could talk, I bet they would sound something like this:
"Have We Always Been So Close?"
Hey there, left thigh! Have we always been so close? I know we are counterparts, but wasn't there some sort of gap between us at one point? I gotta say, though: I'm glad this baby brought us closer together. I've always felt so close to you and, yet, so far from you. Now we can stand together as one and help this woman raise this child. Let's do this!
"Please Don't Hate Us"
Stop calling us names! We are here to support you. Don't tell us we are fat and ugly. Don't hide us under loose sweatpants and tunics. We aren't as bad as you are making us out to be, so all this hate is unacceptable. You're being mean and while we know you are not a bully, so you need to cut this sh*t. Tell us we are beautiful. Do it!
"Stretch Marks Are In Now"
So, here's the thing: I know you think stretch marks are super ugly, but we think you should re-frame that mindset. Listen, stretch marks are a natural part of the process. We haven't had much growth in some time, but when your body grew to adjust for bearing a child we didn't really expect or prepare for it. So, stretch marks happened.
Instead of looking at them with disgust, try appreciating why they happened in the first place: your body made a human. Stretch marks are a tiny price to pay. Plus, most moms have them, so it's like you're part of this awesome club now. You're welcome.
"We'll Be Your 'Shoulder' When You Need"
Hey, girl. You know how sometimes you cry in the shower so no one can hear you? You know how you sometimes feel alone and scared? We know. We want you to know that we'll always be there for you to embrace us. We'll give you the comfort you need. We'll be your 'shoulder' when you cradle us in the shower. We'll be your solace when you end up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor because the rest of the world feels so overwhelming. We are always there for you, even when no one else is. We love you.
"Don't Listen to Other People"
Girl, please stop listening to what others say about you or about themselves. It's easy to be self-disparaging in a company of other women while they criticize themselves. It's much harder to look at yourself and be like, "I actually love my thighs!"
Well, let us tell you something. Those women should take a break from talking sh*t about themselves, and you should help them. Help them by speaking kindly about us in public. Help them by not taking what they say to heart. Help them by reminding them that they are beautiful, too.
"Help Me Move"
Listen, we need your help. We know it's hard to feel motivated when you feel crappy about yourself and that feeling makes you want to sit on the couch and eat cupcakes. Not that there is anything wrong with eating cupcakes or sitting on the couch, but you must find some sort of balance, girl. Take us for a walk? Maybe do some squats? We will enjoy that pain, we promise.
"Dimples Are Cute, Right?"
We hear there is something called cellulite and that the presence of it is scary for many women. That word sends women screaming into all sorts of laser treatments and purchasing special creams. But don't you dare look at our adorable little dimples and think they are ugly. It's a known fact that dimples are considered cute, so why do you hate them when they appear on us? Seems kind of discriminatory, no? Dimples are dimples, no matter where they appear.
They are cute. End of conversation.
"Cut Us Some Slack"
Please stop. We've been through a lot. It would be so very nice of you to look at us with some warmth. Maybe offer us a kind word and a little bit of affection. Would it really hurt you to make us feel better? We promise, if you treat us with respect, we'll return the favor.
"We Comfort Your Kids"
We aren't here just for your criticism, you know? Consider how much of our existence is spent holding and comforting your children. We are the foundation of every story time, many games, and most hugs. We are there when your kids want to tell you a secret, when they climb on you after getting hurt, when they need you to wipe their tears. If it weren't for us, your kids would not be falling asleep in your arms. Your kids sit on us on airplanes, in movie theaters, and in doctor's offices. We offer support when your kids need it most, and hat is definitely something we should be celebrated for.
Hey! Hey you! We'd like to remind you how strong you are, OK? We know we keep you steady, but you are doing all the work. You just carried and birthed a human! Take a step back from all of these feelings and embrace your strengths for at least a few minutes. This is a reminder that you created a miracle. So stop concentrating on us and start concentrating on being the best mom to that adorable little baby.
I really need to start listening to my thighs, you guys. Who knew they could be so wise?