I got all the feels when I saw this FB memory pop up today. So much love and a whole lot of feelings I am not sure I can even describe. Being a mother is my calling! I know many women who love being a mommy too but who absolutely hated being pregnant… yup, that was not me!
Within 24 hours from taking this picture, my third baby was born. I shared more about this experience on my Baby time! post. But this morning, while I was still laying in bed, scrolling through FB to delay getting this day started, I saw this picture and so many things came to my head. Things I want to share with you because, as always, I live with the hope that my words will one day help someone at some point in his/her life.
My son will be turning 4 tomorrow. I am so excited to make his birthday as special as any corona birthday these days… LOL! We are getting him a cake we know he will love and some Legos to add his collection; boom! But back to the bumpy feels this morning: I loved being pregnant! With every pregnancy I’ve gained a ridiculous amount of weight… oops! What can I say? My belly transforms into a nice, cozy, roomy house for my love bugs. And while the pregnancy experience was a loving one, the price my body paid… now that’s another story.
Right before I got pregnant with my third child, I was at my absolute best post-partum body. I struggled for years, 8 years to be precise, to lose some of the extra pounds I had kept with both previous pregnancies. In 2014, I found a fitness program that worked for me. I have always loved working out, but I have always struggled with a healthy and balanced diet. For the first time, I was in control of my exercise and diet and the combination of both helped me shed about 25 lbs over my first year. I know people try to lose that much in one month these days, but like I said, I had struggled for years so when I saw the pounds slowly but surely going down, I was beyond thrilled and proud of myself for finally sticking to something enough to see results. Then I got pregnant and it was time to start all over again; however, this time around everything had changed.
I tried my best to have a healthy pregnancy. I think I did great but of course I still gained a bunch of weight. Unlike with my previous pregnancies, after having my third baby I was able to see my body in a brand new light. A light filled with love, acceptance and compassion. I used to look at my body and be mad about the fact that my skin didn’t shrink back to pre-pregnancy conditions like a Victoria’s Secret Model such as Heidi Klum or Alessandra Ambrosio. Nope. Years after having a baby, or two, my body still had extra weight, stretch marks and saggy skin. Hey, it is what it is! But when in 2014 I found a fitness program that finally was working for me, more than the structure and guidance I needed to see results, I gained a support group that made all the difference.
Sharing my journey with women who had similar struggles and common goals, made all the difference. It wasn’t just that feeling that I wasn’t alone in my journey, but it was the cheering and the reminders that we were in this together. So when I got pregnant for a third time, I saw my body in a new light. I was grateful with my body for what it was capable of. I mean 3 healthy babies is an amazing thing to do! And then I knew I needed to honor my body for all it does for me on a daily basis. There was a paradigm shift in the way I looked at my body. I realized the weight gain associated with the pregnancies, the necessary time to allow for my body to recover post-delivery, the efforts to find the balance with food and exercise, the self-love, were all necessary to honor my body.
Looking at the stretch marks in my belly and regretting them, feels like regretting my babies. HECK NO! I love my babies so damn much! I can see my stretch marks now and simply love the reminder that my babies grew healthy in my belly. The stretch marks are a reminder of that stage in my life. They are a reminder of the beautiful miracle of life. How can I hate having them? They are beautiful because that is how I see them, and I couldn’t care less about how society’s beauty standard sees them. That’s the other thing that I’ve gotten better at in the last few years: accept MY worth!
They say your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth. Agreed! I know my worth. I know what I deserve. I won’t negotiate my worth with anyone. In fact, I know my worth and I will even add tax to it! This has made a big difference in my life. In addition, I stopped comparing myself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. I used to waste my energy trying to fit a stereotype, and stressing out about how far I felt my body type was from it. Oh, but what a joy it is when you stop comparing yourself to others and realize that a flower does not think of competing with other flowers, it just blooms. Time to bloom people!
These are some of the things that crossed my mind this morning. I looked at myself in the mirror with so much love. I looked down to my mommy pooch and thought how beautiful it is. I still have fitness goals because I deserve to become the best version of myself possible. I am worth it. I owe it to myself. Know that this is the same for you too. The female body is amazing! We are capable of anything we set our minds too. Don’t be afraid of the changes that come with pregnancy. Embrace them. Know that your body will not fail you.
Mama Bear Kim