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Your Body :: It’s Worth It!

Pregnancy gave me two things – a brand new baby and a brand new body. One thrilled me a bit more than the other, especially with swimsuit season looming just around the corner. You can probably guess which one.

So go ahead. Ask me if I'd prefer a flatter tummy. Or pre-breastfeeding boobs (hey girls!). Or zero stretch marks.

Of course, I'll say yes.

But if you ask me whether I'd trade my sweet babies to get that pre-baby body back, the answer will always be NO.

It was all worth it. 

The morning sickness. The fatigue. The heartburn. The (cough cough) hemorrhoids.  

Worth it. 

The labor pains. The seemingly endless pushing. The sleep deprivation. Pee in the face (congrats - it's a boy!).

Totally, 200%, worth it.

But, for a longer time than I'd like to admit, I allowed my insecurities about my body to rob me of fully embracing motherhood. I apologized for my postpartum body, either by engaging in negative self talk or by thinking it was somehow less beautiful because it wasn't what it was before children. I thought everyone at the pool or beach was staring at me and thinking it, too. I focused on what I was not, instead of marveling in what I had become. 

Then my husband asked me a simple question that changed everything: Would I trade motherhood to get my pre-baby body back?

WAS HE CRAZY?! 

Rhetorical question: For the record, my husband is only crazy about football. {In fact, if I'm brutally honest here, I was the one acting crazy.} That question hit me like a ton of bricks, because I realized that I was focusing far too much energy on things that didn't matter. It was blocking me from wholeheartedly loving myself as a mother. 

Who has "Still a size 4 after all these years" or "Left the hospital in pre pregnancy jeans" on her tombstone?

It probably won't be me, either. Let's get real.

Do my babies love me less because I am hanging on to a few extra pounds? No ma'am.

Do my babies think I’m less beautiful because I have cellulite? Nope.

Will they look back and think I should’ve spent more time at the gym? Doubt it.

My babies will remember the time I spent snuggling with them in bed. They’ll remember me building them a play fort in the backyard. They’ll remember how I danced around the room with them, singing Kidz Bop songs at the top of my lungs (I know them all. Don't judge).

They’ll remember ME, not the size on my clothes or how defined my abs look. What's more, the way I look at myself shapes how they will look at themselves. At their spouses. At their own children. They'll learn to love themselves, too - just as they are, not as they aren't.

That is what they will remember. 

I owe it to them to love myself. I owe it to them to stay healthy and strong, so that I can cherish as many years as God will give me on this Earth. I owe them self care, so that I have enough of myself to share with them. And one day, when they are parents, I hope they take time to realize how amazing our beautifully imperfect bodies are.

I hope they appreciate the gift that I sometimes struggle to provide them: a kind, respectful appreciation of my own beautifully imperfect body. 

Y'all, I can't say that I don't miss my pre-pregnancy body from time to time, but I can tell you that I wouldn't trade it for anything. These lingering physical effects of pregnancy and motherhood are reminders that God picked ME to help with a miracle – which, by the way, is pretty impressive considering I can barely make a functional Pinterest project.

Take a moment to ask your kids what they love most about you. What makes you a good mama? What makes you beautiful?

Hold that close to your heart. And remember, dear mama, the way you look at yourself will be reflected in the relationships your children create. 

They're worth it, aren't they?

So are you. 

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