body image / family / parenting / pregnancy / women

The baby IS my accessory… Shamefully struggling with the post-baby wardrobe

We all have our good days and our bad days…

I knew, as I indulged in every ice cream sundae and milkshake, I would ‘pay for it’ after the baby came.. but the idea of vanity over-riding self-fulfillment seemed so ridiculous and futile.

I can remember walking through the grocery store, waddling to the frozen section, seeking to satisfy my latest craving. I passed a woman who strolled hand in hand with the father of her child, beaming, while he pushed the baby carriage.

Her post-baby body gave way to evidence of a healthy pregnancy and she was beautiful… beauty without restraint… without an attempt to hide behind a carefully selected wardrobe.

A mixture of her happiness and confidence comforted me and made me smile, reassuring the entire journey of bringing a life into this world, is what defines beauty– from the very moment it began, to years beyond my very own…

… yet still, every now and then, almost two months after the birth of my second son, I struggle accepting my post-baby wardrobe. And those fudge ice cream sundae’s and midnight milkshakes, I chose to indulge in during my pregnancy, haunt me.

On good days, I have no regrets about my indulgences and on bad days, I can only hear, ‘I told you so.’

As I shopped for my post-baby wardrobe, people would look into the baby carriage and say:

“Oh, my. How old is he? You look great!”

 for having just had a baby… but without the baby, it might be a little different. I would try on clothes and feel uncomfortable, then I would stare at my son and realize, “It’s ok.”

Why?…

…because my outfit looks so much better with a baby.

Actually, on bad days, I found myself clinging to my new born son, wherever we went, like the perfect ‘go to’ accessory… a wide belt that shapes your outfit just right, but without it, an amoeba of some kind reveals itself. He gave me a sense of validation or even permission… permission for what? I can’t really say. I felt naked without him… like there was no explanation for this foreign body I was left with.

It seems so self-centered to admit to these emotions and thoughts, but having a child not only changes the shape of a woman’s body but can change the perspective from which she sees the world around her. This blog about revealing true, honest feelings because these thoughts seep into our hearts and minds, if even only for a minute. It is making peace with the little things that torment us from time to time that gives us clarity.

My good days definitely outweigh my bad days. My family surrounds me with all the beauty I need in this world. They make me feel loved and radiant… they drape me with laughter and cuddles. Life is about enjoying the indulgences with the ones you love…

unashamed.

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