5 Apologies I Definitely Owe My Postpartum Thighs

My body has been through hell. I struggled with ballooning weight as a child (hello puberty!), then dropped a large amount of it (hello high school nerves!) and eventually (10 years later), got pregnant (hello, baby!). Of course the pregnancy meant my body would change again, and I was totally OK with it, until after delivery, that is. Oh, boy. There's some heavy apologies I definitely owe my postpartum thighs for going to war on my behalf. I mean, in order to give me the most beautiful little girl possible, my body became superhuman and deserves way more credit than I've ever given it. I'm feeling really bad about that so, here we are.

I didn't take the best care of myself during pregnancy (or even before). Even though I popped in a Yoga DVD every day, I gave into all the cravings and piled on the poundage like there was no tomorrow. In retrospect, I wish I'd have chilled because I didn't realize what my poor body was going through or how long it would take to "spring back" (hint: never). I swore to myself, after delivery, I'd do everything possible to show my body some love, thinking, "No big deal! I'll bounce back in no time!"

Spoiler alert: I did not, in fact, bounce back.

With that, here's a long overdue list of things I'm sorry for, dedicated to the parts of me that stretched and distorted (almost as much as my growing belly) when I was pregnant.

Sorry About The Whole Pregnancy Thing

Look, I never intended for the pregnancy to change you so much. I knew we'd have to make room, sure, but not to that level. I realize now it was lack of judgement on my part in terms of how much ice cream I indulged in and little of those yoga videos I actually participated in. Even after the birth of our oldest all the way to the birth of our youngest, I knew you were different but I haven't given you the attention you deserved. I see now how much work you've done to carry my entire body along with the lives of my offspring at the risk of losing your elasticity and still, you were there for me. Mad props, boo.

Sorry I Didn't Use Cocoa Butter On You

Even though it was intended for the belly, I heard it from every source possible — "use the cocoa butter on the stretch marks" — and still, I didn't. I saw my thighs in need of love, too, and ignored them all anyway. And now, you have these tiger stripes running down the sides that will be with us forever. There are times I'm self conscious over them (like at the beach) and then I remember: I didn't use the damn cocoa butter.

It's my fault you bear those stripes and while you did a fantastic job waddling me around in those hella comfortable maternity pants, I realize you're a little traumatized in the after. I promise to always use cocoa butter, or any lotion, on you from now until infinity.

Sorry I Tried To Force You Into Ill-Fitting Pants

I knew my postpartum body wasn't ready for jeans right after delivery and yet, there I was, stuffing you into them. I know they hurt and pinched but looking "good" was more important than comfort. I shouldn't have forced you into Spanx and I know, you're still not over it. I regret not wearing maternity gear every second because now that we're long past pregnancy, it's apparently "frowned upon." You deserve that life. One full of stretchy materials and forgiveness. The kind of life where you're free to be you. I'm sorry I put you through hell, when all you wanted was a little breathing room.

Sorry I Cursed At You When I Looked In The Mirror

If I'm being honest, there are still days I look at you and wonder why you haven't found your way back to what I remember (pre-kids). I recognize all your hard work through weight gains and losses but sometimes, I get envious of who you used to be. Before you helped carry me and the lives inside of me. Those days I feel my most self-conscious, I know I'm not very nice to you. I curse at you and wish you could look differently. My kids have jokingly said you're "crinkly and soft" and my partner thinks you're perfect but I've not done my job in making sure you know, even on those bad days, you don't deserve my anger. You've done nothing wrong; it's all me.

Please forgive me for all the times I said things I did and didn't mean, and the times I might in the future (like, for example, literally this morning). Especially as my daughter's eyes fall to me on all things body image. Because I need her to see my thighs are perfect, and hers are, too. Just they way they are.

Sorry I Waited So Long To Appreciate You

Where do I begin? I've neglected to treat you the way you deserve for far too long. You've endured two miscarriages, two full-term pregnancies, and a whole lot of weight fluctuation just over the last 10 years. You may not be of the same form as you were before all of that, but it's OK. You're different now; experienced and weathered a bit. You grew in size to nurture my babies before they entered the world and no matter what it's done to your physical appearance, you're still there, fighting to matter. Let me tell you — you do matter. This is why I run so much; to make up for all that time I didn't care for you. I want you to be strong and healthy now. And I'm sorry I haven't said so sooner. Even if you aren't toned, and you don't fit into a smaller size like you sometimes wish, you're mine.

There's no better reminder than when I look at my beautiful kids. Even when they continue to call you "crinkly and soft."