Loving My Postpartum Body Was Hard Because I Never Got Over Puberty
Women are instructed to do lots of things, especially new moms. If we aren’t being told to “cherish every moment” then we’re instructed to “sleep when the baby sleeps,” or “embrace your new body” after baby. But here’s the thing, feeling comfortable in your own skin isn’t always easy, especially when you a) loved the body you had before having a baby or b) was not over the moon about your body to begin with. Loving my postpartum body was hard because I never got over puberty.
Puberty was a trying time for me because, unlike other girls my age who began sprouting breasts, and hips that accentuated their tiny waists, I got acne. To say I lacked confidence is an understatement. I hated my teen body because I did not look like other girls, the ones that graced the cover of Seventeen magazine or starred in MTV shows. It felt like I could never catch up to other teens.
I knew that my body would look different after having a baby but learning to accept the new me came with its own set of challenges. Prior to pregnancy I actually liked the way I looked because I finally learned to appreciate my body.
Then pregnancy threw me for a loop. I'd felt so uncomfortable in my skin while I was pregnant, but I knew it was only temporary. What I did not take into consideration was how uncomfortable I’d feel after having the baby when my hips refused to shrink, my hair fell out in clumps and a permanent roll of skin sat over the waistband of my pants.
It was like going in reverse all over again. Only this time instead of dealing with back acne and ill-fitting Lee jeans, my hips and waist were wider, my stomach had a little flap left over from my emergency c-section and my boobs were goners.
That is when I started looking into plastic surgeons to fix my breasts.
I actually considered getting my breasts done after my youngest daughter was born, since that’s one area of my body that has always bothered me. My girls literally abused my boobs. Prior to pregnancy I had a small B cup, and an A cup during puberty. Postpartum breasts were more along the lines of AA and AAA because my girls loved to nurse on one boob.
Just like my teen years, when I'm compare myself to other girls, I was constantly wishing I could look like other moms who seemed to have that idea body. It was puberty all over again, only this time I could fix things. That is when I started looking into plastic surgeons to fix my breasts. Oh, and considered (am still considering) botox for my eyes.
In a survey led by authors of The Confidence Code for Girls, the authors determined girls confidence takes a major hit when they reach adolescence. Of those 1,300 surveyed, girls between the ages of 8 and 14 confidence level dropped by 30 percent. Fear of failure and others not liking them are only a few factors driving the decrease in confidence.
Puberty is a difficult time for any teenager. So much so that a Google search pulls up several pages of articles encouraging parents to focus on a child’s strengths, talk often with your daughter or son about their feelings and don’t let the media’s definition of beautiful affect your body image.
Although I know it’s illogical to believe that celebrities wake up looking perfect or spend tons of time and money on getting that ideal body, there’s still this part of my former teenage brain that believes that’s how the perfect body should look.
It's taken me some time to learn to love my body after kids. Even now I still have insecurities about my body, but I’m working on being accepting. On my good days, I feel great about myself and comfortable about my body but a lot of those positive feelings are driven by my mission to model body positivity to my daughters. I want them to feel comfortable being themselves, which means I need to continue to work to feel happy in my own skin. Imperfections and all.