I had originally intended to share this outfit post along with a little blurb about what I got up to on Saturday (I was mostly by myself baby-free for a good chunk of the day and it felt glorious to have some me time) but, I decided that I want to share a little story instead. It’s about something that was said to me at a doctors appointment while I was pregnant and I have been unable to get it out of my head ever since.
During one of my 30-something week doctors appointments, I was waiting to see my doctor and a resident came in first to check my measurements, Edwin’s heartbeat, etc. I never really liked that I had different people talking with me and measuring me at each appointment but that’s the way it goes when you have an OBGYN who works at the hospital. Anyway, I had never been all that confident in my pregnant body to begin with so lifting up my shirt to show off my belly would always feel a little daunting.
At the time, my belly was big, but it wasn’t exploding like it was when I was nearing 40 weeks. I had been rubbing creams and oils on my belly every day since finding out I was pregnant and I had yet to develop any stretch marks. The resident took note of the fact that I didn’t have any stretch marks and proceeded to tell me that I had “the perfect bump with no stretch marks.” At the time, it made me feel good and I know she meant well by giving me this compliment. However, what felt like just a few days later, I started to develop what looked like the first signs of stretch marks. They were very small and faint and by the time I went into labour, I still didn’t think that they were going to leave big marks on my tummy.
After I gave birth to Edwin, I noticed that the small stretch marks I had on my tummy were much more pronounced now that there wasn’t a baby in my belly. I was very taken back to see this change in my body as I didn’t know that this could happen postpartum. My thoughts kept going back to what that resident said and the words “perfect belly” kept playing over and over in my head. To say I was devastated about these new stretch marks is an understatement. Aside from my new soft, squishy belly that I did expect, I had these stretch marks that seemed to perfectly highlight my little pooch. I felt like my body had failed me and even though I had this beautiful baby, my body did not feel like mine and it was hard to deal with.
So, when I wore this outfit this weekend and my shirt kept riding up to expose my postpartum tummy and stretch marks the words “perfect belly” kept spinning in my head yet again. I had to stop myself and make it a point to tell myself that I am beautiful and worthy and these stretch marks do not define me. They are now in fact, a part of me. Just like I had stretch marks on my hips when I was a teenager and they didn’t seem to bother me nearly as much…these stretch marks show that I grew a life and that is pretty cool.
Anyway, I feel like this post is all over the place, but I guess that the moral of my story is that I don’t feel like anyone has a place to comment on pregnant bellies, stretch marks or postpartum bellies…Or any woman’s belly in general. I think it’s enough to tell a pregnant/postpartum woman that she looks great or better yet, just ask her how she’s feeling and don’t comment on her appearance at all. The pregnant and/or postpartum woman in your life just went through a huge change and transition and of course her body is going to look and feel different. Whether that is with weight gain, stretch marks or shiny new bags under her eyes. Just remember, she’s a beautiful mama and has a beautiful, life-making bod.