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Bye Bye Pregnancy, Hello Me
by Jennifer Henry
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August 31, 2018

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6 Minute Read

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Bye Bye Pregnancy, Hello Me

For as long as I could remember, pregnancy was a part of my dreams, goals, and marriage.  Then, one day, it hit me, my childbearing years were in the rearview mirror. But after a few days of feeling like the closing of this chapter was something to lament, I slapped myself into a new fantasy:  My body was mine again. Aw SH*T!

I’ve always had a vivid imagination. For as long as I can remember, I imagined how the different phases of my life would be. I fantasized about my adult self, wedding day, marriage, husband, career, and children. Now, 35 is coming for me like a freight train with no brakes. The headlight is getting brighter by the doggone day. With that, I have been taking inventory of all that I imagined versus the reality of how it truly turned out.

Today, the milestone I am most in awe of is motherhood: the actual creation of a human life within my body.

For so many years, I watched women swell with the gift of a new baby. I wondered how I would look. I wondered how it would feel. I wondered how much birth truly hurt. I had a mountain of curiosity to look forward to experiencing on my own.

It seems like I had motherhood on my “to do” list forever. And, then it happened for my husband and I. Twice. Six years and four months apart. I embraced the experience and tried to enjoy the best and worst parts. Most of all I just wanted to make that young me who’d looked forward to pregnancy proud. I think I did. I did all the fun stuff. I did the elaborate maternity photo shoots. I had a smorgasbord of baby showers and a gender reveal party with our second. I made sure I experienced every attraction at the pregnancy amusement park.

About midway through the second pregnancy, I realized my childbearing years were almost behind me, since we only wanted two children. I was saddened by the finality of closing out an experience l spent so much of my lifetime fantasizing about. It’s such a strange thing to know that you have completed something so biologically major that you’ll never do again. Does that sound weird?

I just kept thinking, WHEN DID I GET TO THIS POINT IN LIFE? And, more importantly, what’s next? After a few days of feeling like the closing of this childbearing chapter was something to lament, I slapped myself to a new fantasy.

My body belongs to me and
me alone again!! Aw shit!

And, not only that, having babies taught me how to listen to my body in new and amazing ways. I learned how to hear my body’s needs and attend to them.  And, I recognize how much better I felt in doing so. I also realized that I needed to appreciate and love my body for the amazing magical gift it is. I spent so much of my twenties complaining about imaginary love handles, being insecure about my breasts and comparing my body to others.  I was crazy for focusing on things to dislike about my pre-baby body when there was so much to love.

Becoming a mom and learning to love my post-baby body taught me to appreciate this one body deeply and to cherish all of the gifts it has given me:

  1. I’ve achieved the dream of motherhood, a goal I held most of my life.
  2. I’ve learned to prioritize how I spend my energy.
  3. I know how important self-care and me-time is, and I make sure I make time for all of it.
  4. I’ve written my own definition of “fine,” and I’ve designed my own Mommy Makeover for my closet, mind, and body. I’m super hype about the journey ahead!
  5. I have a physical reminder of the process in the scars pregnancy has painted my body with, scars I’ve learned to love for the reasons that they are there.

 

Having children changed my body and my mind.  My body tells a story of goals I looked forward to achieving and the details of how I did it.  With that, I love every phase of the post-baby body. It’s the last one I’ll have, and I have all the power to change the things I want to improve, starting with my mindset.

Photo source: Tiffany Malone

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