A Letter To My Daughter About My Postpartum Body
There's a skewed perspective of beauty in this world you're growing up in. It won't take you long to take notice of the billboards, magazine covers, and TV commercials, and the way they expose the female body. There's a depravity making it's way into the minds of young girls and young boys; an unrealistic expectation of what the female body should do and what it should look like.
Some people say that we have children to teach them lessons about life. Sometimes I think it's the other way around. From the moment that we found out we were pregnant with you, our world shifted and we were feeling things and seeing things from a different perspective. As my body grew, so did my love.
You taught me a deep self love that I didn't know was possible. Through every body change in pregnancy and postpartum, I've come to a place of full acceptance, love, and admiration for how beautifully God equips our bodies to create and sustain human life. How incredibly strong and capable He creates us to nourish and grow a perfect little human.
It gets worse when you become pregnant. Your body uncontrollably grows and expands in every area they've told you it shouldn't. And even then the world will tell you how much, or how little weight you're supposed to gain. They will give you every remedy to try to diminish the stretch marks, to try and hide the miraculous journey your body undergoes for ten months, and as soon as you have your baby, you'll start being told, "How to get your body back."
Every stretch mark reminds me of the growth that took place in those precious months. Not just your growth, but I also grew in my ability to surrender, and to fully trust. I let go of expectations that kept me from fully embracing life. I grew in the ability to fully love myself, and at the same time, be capable of deeply loving someone else so much that I could put my own desires aside to nourish your needs first. I grew to embrace life's changes. Our world will tell you that we need to stay stuck in a time warp.
They want you to reverse wrinkles, lift sagging, slim your hips, raise your breasts, and lift your nipples. They want you stuck in your pubecent days rather than to fully embrace the journey of becoming a woman and mother.
When I look into the mirror now and see my extra skin, I see a body that stretched pasts its limits to grow a miracle. When I see the stretch marks covering my hips, thighs, and breasts, I see marks of when my body was holding you closely. One day you'll be fully grown and won't fit in my arms for me to hold. However, I will always have the marks on my body to hold onto, to remember our journey that brought you into this world. When I see my less than perky breasts, I see your breakfast, lunch, dinner, cluster feeding, and all those middle of the night snacks. I see a source of life and nourishment. Speaking of middle of the night snacks...those dark circles under my eyes...those won't always be there. For now they serve as a reminder that one day you won't need middle of the night snacks and comfort. The night I finally get a chance to have the full nights rest that I've been longing for, is also going to be a night that I won't sleep anyway, because I'll be missing and treasuring all of our late nights and early mornings.
I don't want "my body back," whatever that means. I don't want to erase the most transformative times of my life to fit an unrealistic false body image that the world tells us to attain. I want us to pioneer a new perception of beauty. I want beauty to be a body that is nourished, healthy, lived in, happy, and reveals the hard days and long nights spent caring for others.
I write this to you to remind you that, YOU, taught me these precious lessons. Woven deep into your spirit is truth and purity. God made you perfect. Don't let the world taint that truth as you grow into a young woman, and a future mother. There is nothing more beautiful in the world than a mother's body.