In a world of skinny, watching your body grow can be difficult. Even when that growing belly, butt, and boobs are growing for the best reason in the world.
We watch celebrities parade basketball-sized pregnant bellies and maintain unearthly low levels of body fat, just to pop back a month after childbirth and strut down red carpets. We pack away jeans and wonder if they will ever fit again. We dread the weigh-ins at our obstetric appointments. We wonder why breastfeeding doesn’t melt the fat off our new mama bodies like everyone told us it would.
It’s ok, Mama.
It’s normal. Your body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do, and it’s awesome.
Just like your body can change to grow, it can also change to shed fat. If you want it to shed fat, you will have the chance to choose foods that nourish while still allowing fat loss. You will have the chance to exercise with intensity, sleep through the night, drink plenty of fluids and feel calm. One day. When the more important job of growing and sustaining a person is over.
You might not be able to control your body like you’re used to right now. You might be on bed rest. Maybe you are waking every hour to nurse at night. Perhaps you’re hating the feeling of pregnancy and food is your comfort. Or maybe a cesarean birth has you unable to move much, let alone exercise.
It’s ok, Mama.
It’s normal. Your body is doing the best it can right now.
In fact, in case you’ve forgotten just how good your body’s best truly is, let me remind you. From someone who has been there — 3 times, over 60 pounds up and down, and years upon years of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and sleepless nights — let me remind you how full of grace and wonder your body is for this short period of time.
And let’s have a few laughs because, after all, it’s just fat. Are you with me?
Shaving your armpits is way easier.
I don’t know about you, but I cut myself all. the. time. when I shave. You know that little “pocket” of the underarm that you have to delicately scoop your razor through? Gone. Replaced with a lovely pillow of armpit fat. The razor just glides over it. I haven’t cut myself in MONTHS.
You are a travel mug.
Now, mamas who don’t breastfeed, you’ve got to work so much harder. Mixing, warming, and keeping formula fresh is a part-time job in itself. Kudos to you. If you’re breastfeeding, though, you’ve got it easy. Diaper, lip gloss, boobs. Out the door you go. Plus, less dishes!
Winter just got so much nicer.
Pre-pregnancy coat doesn’t fit? Who cares. You’ve got the body fat to stoke an internal furnace and keep you and your little one warm. Whether baby is in your belly or in her snowsuit in a carrier, you are swag in last year’s fall coat, unzipped, and your rain boots. Because BODYFAT.
Wrinkles? What wrinkles?
I’m pretty sure I’ve grown approximately 46 crow’s feet since the birth of our third child, but as long as I stay a bit plump they are just the hint of a crow’s foot. Thank you, face fat, for easing me into middle age.
Shelf. You’ve got one.
Whether it’s a cup of tea on your pregnant belly, or your iPad resting in your postpartum tummy, you’ve gotta admit that belly shelf is pretty darn useful. In the early days of breastfeeding, as you work on teaching baby to latch, that belly is not just useful — it’s a lifesaver. Baby’s tiny frame rests on you, holding her perfectly lined up with the breast. Coincidence?
Your body balances out your big hair.
Wavy, curly, thick, afro…if you’ve got HAIR you know what I mean. I can wear my hair big and long and it matches my ass. My hairstylist tells me it’s supposed to be my handbag that matches my ass, but I like the symmetry of my current hair-to-hip ratio.
You can carry your children, the neighbour’s children, and a purse.
Hips aren’t an accident. They’re the original baby carrier, and they don’t cost $200 and require four hours on YouTube to figure out. Enjoy those hips while they last, because nature intended for you to have them.
You are ready for the apocalypse.
Or the “snowpocalypse.” Or a tornado. Or a weekend of scrounging wilting veggies and eggs out of the fridge because you forgot to shop. That bigger body is bigger for a few important reasons, not least of which is to sustain you — and that precious little pea — in case of a famine. You are a human storm shelter.
You are so, so huggable.
That soft, pillowy belly is your little one’s favourite place to sleep, snuggle and dream. Now that I have older kiddos, I see how much they love squeezing mama and being enveloped with soft, squishy love. And let’s not forget the grown up hugs — that big, round pregnant belly and smooth, soft post-baby belly are the perfect resting place for your partner’s hand when you can squeeze in a little spooning session.
You are magic.
Without even giving you the heads up, your body knew exactly what to do when you got pregnant. It urged you to eat more, to move a little less quickly, to care for yourself, and to grow. It knew that part of growing a baby is growing a bigger mama. And it knows that you need to worry about more important things after baby comes than clothing size, detoxes, or “fitspo.” Your body knows it needs time to stay big and strong until that kiddo is big and strong. Your body knows it exists for this purpose. Your body communicates with the universe. Allow it. Trust it. Love it.
Treasure it. You have all the years to come for less important things like weight loss. This magic is once in a lifetime.