Finding My Body After Pregnancy

Finding My Body After Pregnancy

Finding My Body After Pregnancy

Guest Blog By: Marisa Cooksey

 

Community Over Competition

“Your body is beautiful. It is a temple. It is the only one you have, so take incredibly good care of it. Be kind to it.” This is a mantra my mother instilled in me from the moment I was born. As I grew into a young adult, I worked hard to find peace and confidence in myself ­ physical, mental, and emotional. Living in the age of community over competition, diversity in sexuality, and embracing our differences helped shape my mindset and find confidence in my body. By the time I was married in my early twenties, the insecurities that once brought me down were instead a reaffirmation of my unique beauty. The birth mark on my back that I once stressed about became a feature that made me smile. My thighs that touched when I walked that once made me feel large now made me feel strong, as my legs carried me to many places that I dreamed of exploring as a young girl. My curly hair that I spent hours straightening in my teen years became a feature that I grew to love.

My relationship with my husband also helped me find a new aspect of self love and confidence that I didn’t have before. I’m married to a man who sees me in a way that brings me a calm and a strength that I am proud to carry with me everyday.

By the time I reached my late twenties, I felt completely in sync with myself. This was a feeling that brought such peace, and was a feeling that I was glad to settle into. Then I entered the years of pregnancy, and was thrown for a major loop. 

My Body After Pregnancy

My body changed dramatically during each of my pregnancies. Though I was so grateful to my body for growing two beautiful and incredibly healthy boys, once they were born I felt like a stranger in myself. It seemed as though every aspect of my body had changed. My bust grew several cup sizes. My hips widened. Stretch marks crawled up my midsection and down my legs. My hair fell out. Stubborn baby weight refused to go away. Physically depleted, looking in the mirror became something I dreaded. 

As the months pressed on, and my children grew, I began the quest to get to know my body again. Nothing about my life was the same after becoming a mother, and I realized that my relationship with my body was no different. Though difficult at times, I made a point of thanking my body for growing, sustaining, feeding, and caring for my children. As I held them in my arms, I took comfort in the fact that my children loved my body, just the way it was.

During this time, my husband’s and my love grew and deepened in a way we were never expecting. Becoming parents together bonded us, strengthened us, and matured us inexplicably. It was through this new bond that we took a step to finding new meaning in our romantic life.

My First Post-Partum Swimsuit

During this season of change and rediscovery, my family took a trip to the beach. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward it, as wearing a swimsuit was something I really didn’t want to do. Nonetheless, I wanted to experience the wonders of the ocean with my children, so I put on my swimsuit and coverup and headed for the dunes.

When we arrived and set up our chairs and umbrellas, I nervously looked around, wondering who was going to judge my soft and dimpled appearance. As I settled into my beach chair, I smiled as my children played in the sand before me, building castles and moats. A few minutes later, a woman came up to me. I instantly tensed. She greeted me with a smile and said, “You and your family are so beautiful! I remember coming to the beach with my children who are now grown and doing the same thing. I just wanted to let you know that you are doing great, and seeing you all brought back such happy memories.” 

I thanked this beautiful soul and fought the lump building in my throat. It was at that moment and with that random kindness that it all hit me. Each new curve on my frame helped me become the fiercely loving, bold and strong woman, wife, and mother I am now. My tiger stripe stretch marks don’t need to be covered ­ they are a visible mark of my new identity. My waistline isn’t nearly the size it was before, but it expanded to accommodate human beings. With the waves crashing before me and the sun shining over, I took in a deep breath of salt air. I let the negativity out and the positivity in. I decided to stop trying to get my body “back.” It had been with me all along.

As women, let’s encourage each other through all of the seasons we experience. Let’s remind each other that there isn’t a single definition of beauty, and that this fact is beautiful in itself.

 

About Marisa

Marisa Cooksey is a former freelance theatre technician turned stay at home mom, freelance blogger, and small business owner. With the goal of instilling a zest for travel as well as everyday adventures for her children, Marisa is passionate about sharing her family’s travel experiences as well as life experiences through her writing. 

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