Thursday, August 8, 2013

Royal Babies and Motherhood

Honestly, this if far less about the Royal Baby and far more about Motherhood. But I have been surprised over the amount of talk there has been over the postpartum body of the Duchess of Cambridge. There are those that cannot believe she stepped out in public with her postpartum belly bulging out, and there are those who have defended her. And it got me to thinking about my journey in this Motherhood Race.

I live in a body that has grown and birthed nine babies. That's right, nine.  And let me tell you something. This body isn't pretty by most standards. It is scarred, jiggly, lumpy, and sagging. It also weighs 20 pounds more than what I was accustomed.  My stomach has a permanent baby bump. Yet when I go out in public I am constantly told I look great for having nine children. Now, let's stop right there and chase a small rabbit. That is NOT a compliment. Because what you just told me is that if it weren't for the nine children, I would be looking terrible. So let's just put that statement to rest. Back to my point. Why is it important for us to comment on how we look pre or post children? Is it really necessary to comment on our bodies at ALL?

I will admit, for years I was ashamed and embarrassed by my stretch marks. When I was pregnant with my first child, I gained over 40 pounds of baby, and my underweight body took a beating. That eight and a half pound baby stretched me for all I was worth, and I have the scars to prove it. I was mortified when I discovered those marks. I seriously felt like I was sub-par and couldn't measure up to the perfect pregnancy. And I shamefully have hidden those stretch marks ever since. Now, before you get too worried, I am not having a complete "freeing" moment and am not about to post pictures of my stomach. But can I share something with you? Along the way, I learned those were not marks to which I should be ashamed, they were scars I EARNED in my trek through motherhood. And with each baby, I have gained new scars. Not all are on my belly. Some are on my thighs, and many are on my chest. But you know what? Those legs carried and supported nine pregnancies. This chest has fed and sustained 9 babies. I carry these marks with honor!

I am not that teenage girl anymore. I'm not that 20 something woman anymore either. I am a 36 year old Mom that is not afraid of my 36 year old body. Being a mother has changed me literally from the inside to the outside. I would not want to go back to being a teenager emotionally or experience wise. Why would I want to go back to that gangly, awkward body? As women we should be comfortable, or possibly even proud of our post-children bodies. This is not to say we should throw all caution to the wind and become seriously unhealthy, but we should not be paralyzed by the permanent muffin top we now carry either.

And when we see another Mom, could we move away from the superficial compliments? Why should we base our likings of another woman on whether or not she looks like she has had a baby or not? It isn't emotionally healthy. Talking about their baby or child, or just saying congratulations is kindness enough. Furthermore, it begins to trickle down to our daughters. I recently overheard a young girl telling her friend she wasn't going to have babies because she didn't want to be ugly once they were born. Sigh. We are missing the mark. The worn out, circles-under-her-eyes, pony-tailed, ill-fitting clothed mother that is grocery shopping with her brood is just as beautiful as the perky, put together pre-child woman. 

Ladies, wear your battle scars with dignity and purpose. We earned them on our journey into the exclusive club of Motherhood. These babies are precious gifts, and the journey, along with ALL its changes, is just precious.