Yes you read that correctly. I don’t feel empowered by my “tiger stripes” and yes I feel OK about saying that.
I feel there is a lot out there in the media suggesting women “should” be grateful for their stretch marks, feel empowered by what they represent, etcetera, etcetera, that not many actually propose anything different. Most likely in the name of self acceptance. There is definitely pressure on mothers to get their “pre baby body” back, but I wonder how much of that is self-imposed? I’m certainly not here to offend anyone, and I’m definitely not pro body shaming (hands up who else was a chubby kid?) but I really don’t like the extra skin and stretch marks I have because of bearing two big babies. For me, it’s uncomfortable. I’m not overweight, I’m not obsessed with being a size 6 (or 2, or whatever equals waif-like where you come from), and I’m not out to attract members of the opposite sex. I just want to feel comfortable in my favourite clothes once I finish breast feeding, and to feel strength in a one-part mid section.
I look at a lot of my friends who’ve had children and I see a range of post baby bodies from washboard stomachs, to clear perfect skin, to maybe a little extra padding, but for some reason or another (I feel like) I am in the minority – with all the extra texture left behind as well as the extra “cushion”. And yes I am well aware that I could be a lot worse off. That other women in the world suffer horrific trauma to their body (and mind) in the process of childbirth. But I just want to put it out there to other Mamas not to feel guilty that they don’t worship their post baby body and/or look like a supermodel. Just do everything you can to make the changes you can (if you want to change it), and make sure you are healthy (for your own sake and that of your children). But don’t beat yourself up about it. And do it for YOU. For so long I felt guilty that I didn’t honour and love this new addition to my waistline, and it was this guilt that actually caused the most pain for me. It was painful to pretend I was OK with it. So, I am here to state that I’m not, and that’s OK by me!
I think we should be OK with not being OK with it. And OK with being in love with it, if we truly are. But whatever situation you have, whatever baby belly you have, and however you feel about it – remember that it is part of who you are now, and however you feel about it is OK. ❤