Once upon a time I wrote something about my outward appearance after nearly ninety-two weeks of pregnancy. I wrote this, and while I whole-heartedly believed every word I typed, I was still wading through a pool of unknown transformation within my self to believe the hype and promotions about loving your body.
I have since added an additional thirty-nine weeks of pregnancy, another family member, chapters upon chapters of life and love and wisdom. And further body transformation. Aside from well over one hundred months of growing humans (!!), I have provided somewhere close to 12,000 meals with this body; I should very well expect that it's different now.
Here I am, minus 95 percent of the baby weight and most of my clothes don't fit. My jeans don't pull over my hips, and some can't even be convinced to move past the thighs. I'm still wearing my forgiveness jeans - the ones I bought with full intention to wear for approximately two weeks until the baby weight just melted off and my body returned to the identity it held at about 17 years of age.
Do you know what wouldn't fit right into my 17 year old self? My heart. I can't imagine trading my now self for my then self in hopes of being more beautiful in the eyes of a society weighed down with airbrushes, photo editing programs, and unrealistic perceptions. I owe it to my children to appreciate my body, to celebrate it. I owe it to myself to be realistic, and I owe it to society to be above the hype of false perfection. Wouldn't it be amazing if the mama at the pool that embraced her body wasn't an internet sensation?
I have a little bump, and though my babies are now on the other side of that bump, the remaining evidence of my powerful body will travel with me forever.
Sometimes, I still lovingly refer to it as elephant skin. Sometimes, I still have to remind myself of the three beautiful reasons my jeans don't fit, and sometimes I struggle with comparison to society's impossible standards. But this much I know: my worth in this world is hardly determined by the shape of my body.