Having Kids Didn’t Ruin Your Body

At Macy’s the other day, I noticed two women looking at dresses together. One of them held up a cute little number, while the other eyed it up and down, sighed, and said, “Yeah, there’s no way I could wear that now. Having kids totally ruined my body.

Moms say things like this all the time—”Pregnancy/ childbirth/ breastfeeding ruined my body.” And I get it. But at the same time it makes me sad that so many women lament the softer breasts, squishier tummies, and streaky stretch marks that frequently accompany childbearing.

As if such things signify “ruin.”

The truth is our societal obsession with physical perfection has blinded us to the sacred beauty inherent in a mother’s body. Excepting some rare circumstances, pregnancy and childbirth don’t ruin your body. They sanctify it.

And I don’t mean that in an airy-fairy, metaphorical, poetic kind of way. Your post-pregnancy body is literally sacred, because life was created inside of you. Seriously—a whole person was molded and formed purely from the elements in your own body. 

That’s mindblowing.

If you didn’t think of your body as holy before, it certainly became so when it BUILT AN ENTIRE HUMAN BEING PRACTICALLY FROM SCRATCH, didn’t it?

Your body brought a life into the world. That same body you now deride and despise as imperfect, unideal—ruined.

That line of thinking is wrong. Just flat out wrong. Really. A mother’s body, no matter how subjectively imperfect or flawed, is not ruined. It is blessed and holy.

Your thicker-than-you’d-like thighs? They carried the weight of your growing baby and everything it needed to stay fed and warm and safe inside of you. And once your baby arrived, they rocked, swayed, bounced, and strolled your baby into peaceful sleep, just as they did when it was still in your womb. Your legs are mighty and loyal steeds who should be commended, not condemned.

Those arms that jiggle a little more than you’d like when you lift them? Those arms are the warmest, safest place your child has ever known outside of your uterus. They carried your babies when they were still figuring out what their own limbs were for (those same limbs that were formed from scratch inside your body, remember). They scooped up your toddlers when the world became too big for their little legs to handleYour arms are strong and constant protectors that should be revered, not ridiculed.

That tummy of yours, which might be a little softer than it used to be? That’s ground zero for the greatest miracle and mystery we can witness on this Earth. Don’t diminish that or brush it aside. Your belly is now the most hallowed and sacred part of your physical being, and should be treated with the same reverence and respect as you would treat any holy ground.

And pregnancy stretch marks? Hard-earned tattoos that prove how divinely badass your body really is. Wear them proudly.

The human body is amazing, no matter who you are. But a mother’s body—the body that has held the spark of a brand new soul, served as builder and safe harbor for that soul’s temple, and sacrificed a portion of its own perfection in order to do so—is nothing short of stupendous. I seriously think every mother’s body should be enshrined in a museum somewhere, to be stared at in awe and wonder by those who understand the awesomeness of what they’re seeing.

There is a deep, eternal beauty in what your body has been through. Truly. So honor its beautiful work. Bless your body as it has blessed you. Strive to keep it healthy and strong—not to try to undo its “ruin,” but in reverence for the venerable vessel that it is. Look at your body with love in your eyes. Treat it with kindness and compassion. Care for your body as you would care for a saint who has spent the precious energy of her life performing miracles.

Because that’s exactly what it has done.

Nobody says you can’t have a little fun on sacred ground. 🙂

 

 If you enjoyed this post, please pass it along. You can follow Motherhood and More on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

Comments 7

  1. Susan

    While I think this was beautifully written and intended, I sometimes worry that things like this give pressure from the opposite direction. I think it’s just as valid to feel the way your post talks about – beautiful and amazing, period. as it is to feel that while it’s totally amazing that you created life, you still wish you weren’t covered in marks and extra weight. It’s a big change, and not everyone can get to “beautiful and amazing, period.” At least not right away.

    1. Post
      Author
      Annie Reneau

      Hi Susan – Thank you for your comment. I think I get what you’re saying, that all feelings are valid. But I’m not sure there’s anything really bad about feeling pressured to not hate your body. 🙂 Perhaps it’s a matter of degree? I think you can acknowledge that you miss your pre-pregnancy body without seeing your post-pregnancy body as “ruined.” Perhaps it’s just semantics?

  2. may akale

    You’re so awesome 🙂 Thank you for this! I’m a first time to a 4.5 month old baby and while I’ve been under no pressure to get back into my size 4 jeans, this article made me cry tears of joy because it reminded me of what has happened here! It’s so easy to forget how miraculous and beautiful it is to be able to bring a life into this world.

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for this. I stumbled across this randomly and it came at a very important time for me. I don’t usually take the time to leave a comment on blogs and such, but I needed to tell you how touching this was for me. I have a one year old, and I recently started a new work out routine. I felt that one year was more than enough time and I needed to get “back into shape”. Well, my last exercise class did me in. I was shaking by the end and I was (still am) so sore I could hardly function at home. I have been diagnosed with very low progesterone and very low adrenals (for which I don’t feel comfortable treating with medications/supplements because I am still breast feeding). So I struggle some days with not feeling well anyway, and I am left wondering why the heck I am pressuring myself with intense workouts. I think you are so right about the unfortunate views our society holds about women and their post partum bodies. Your post reminded me to be compassionate with myself and take a step back. Thank you, this was beautifully written.

    1. Motherhood and More

      Thank you! I’m so glad you found it helpful. It’s so easy to get sucked into that pressure. My philosophy on exercise is that it should energize you, and it should primarily be a means of reducing stress and improving vitality. If you’re overdoing it, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Ease into it, especially as a nursing mom – your body is doing a LOT already! 🙂

  4. Anonymous

    I love you Annie! You make my heart sing! Thank you so much for writing and posting this. I have never thought about it this way – and I’ve never worried too much about how my body looks – but what you wrote is just SO true.

    Audrey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge