Many of us have probably heard it said that we should give ourselves as much time to get rid of the baby weight as it took to put it on. Well friends, that means my time is up. Last week I reached the milestone when Emersyn and Mckinley have officially been out of my belly longer than they were in it. They’re nine months old!
Ironically, on the day they turned nine months, I was on the beach wearing my swimsuit. There’s nothing like putting on a bathing suit in the dead of winter to awaken some internal struggles about postpartum body image. Let me tell you, since the girls were born, it has been an uphill battle fighting for perspective to see myself as beautiful despite my forever changed body. There have been weeks when I feel pretty good with my progress, and other ones when I hide underneath oversized sweatshirts and yoga pants.It’s been one heck of a journey, but I’m thankful to be able to say that I’m gradually settling into a healthy body image. I’ve learned things about myself that have brought me to a place where I feel confident in my postpartum body. I’ve learned that it’s much more than a number on a scale. Technically, I lost the baby weight fairly quickly in just a matter of weeks after the twins were born, but toning up and retraining my muscles was a long process and it took months of hard work before I felt like myself again. Even now, I know my body will never be the same. My stomach will probably always have a little pouch that will be tough to get rid of, my belly button will most likely be an outie from here on, and my short experience being well endowed thanks to breastfeeding has disappeared forever. But instead of letting those things make me feel insecure, I consider them my “mommy beauty marks”. They remind me of the miraculous transformation my body was able to make to form my precious children.During my twin pregnancy, I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to put on another two piece swimsuit. My body stretched in ways I never thought were possible, so I didn’t have any expectations. However, thanks to the active lifestyle I was able to maintain before and after they were born, I bounced back. Wearing my two piece isn’t so much about caring how others see me, but it’s about how I see myself. Being a mom doesn’t mean I need to look at my body and feel stale and run down.So yes, nine months after I gave birth to my gorgeous baby girls, I wore a bikini. In Cancun, Mexico. In front of my husband’s colleagues. It was something I never imagined I’d be comfortable doing after having three kids, but I’m proud of myself for going for it. It reminded me that I’m still me, and that I didn’t leave my identity on the delivery table. In fact, in order to take the best care of my little ones, it’s all the more important for me to take care of myself and feel confident. When I feel my best, I give them my best.