Ever since gorgeous Kate Middleton gave birth and showed the world what a real woman’s body looks like right after giving birth, the Internet has been filled with articles, posts, Tweets, etc. about body image and birth. I’ve read some fabulous articles about it, including the slightly sappy, but beautiful one in the Huffington Post by Joy Gabriel, titled “Kate Middleton and the Mom in the Mirror.” The article has been Liked on Facebook over 100,000 times.
In the article Joy writes, “I see the two things that really matter: I can do hard things and doing them in the service of something greater than myself is what makes me beautiful.” Round of applause. This is exactly right. Joy’s point is that women should be proud of our changed bodies, find them beautiful. And so should the world. Women are beautiful because of what we do, not how we look. This was the message in many of the articles and posts. We should love the scars of motherhood.
But no matter how hard I try I cannot love my bear-claw stretch marks or ripped-to-shreds abdominal muscles or saggy flap of stretched out skin on my lower abdomen that no amount of exercise can fix.
I can’t. I have tried. For seven years, I have tried.
Does this make me a bad mom? A bad woman? That every time I see these things in the mirror I cringe, instead of rejoice. I have three beautiful, amazing children to show for my efforts. Why did it have to permanently ruin my body? If I ever want to not look like I’m perpetually four months pregnant, I’ll have to have surgery to fix my poor ab muscles and remove the damaged skin. Major corrective surgery. *Shudders*
But maybe the point is not that I have to think these things about my post-child body are beautiful. Does a solider who looses a limb in battle think the scar is beautiful, attractive? I doubt it. But sacrifice isn’t about beauty. It’s about giving up something less meaningful for something more meaningful. The point is I see these things, as ugly as they may be, and know I had the courage to give-up my physical beauty in the service of someone else, three someone else’s.
My mom once told me, “I am proud of every stretch mark I have.” Truth be told, I am proud of them, but I will never like looking at them. And I think that’s okay. Scars are story, not art.
Moms – What do you think? How do you feel about your mommy body? Am I alone in how I feel? How will you help your daughter when she becomes a mom?
@TeriHarman, #writermom, #motherhood