4 Truths About Our Post-Baby Bodies #SoGladTheyToldMe

IMG_5313Back in May of last year, I wrote a piece called “4 Truths About Our Post-Baby Bodies” that ran on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy. It’s about finding strength and beauty in our postpartum bodies even though they may not look or act the way they did before having kids. Today I’m posting that piece on my blog for the first time in support of #SoGladTheyToldMe, an amazing campaign launched by Stephanie Sprenger of Mommy, For Real to spread words of honesty and understanding about motherhood and let us all know we’re not alone on this journey. She was inspired by the overwhelming response to her post I’m Glad They Warned Me, itself a response to They Should’ve Warned Me. If you have something helpful you’d like to share, please post on Facebook and Twitter, with or without a photo, and use the hashtag #SoGladTheyToldMe. Continue reading “4 Truths About Our Post-Baby Bodies #SoGladTheyToldMe”

Writing Around and a Great, Big, Juicy Thanks

Wow, what an incredible few days.

logo-smMy article 4 Truths About Our Post Baby Bodies ran on Scary Mommy and has 364K Facebook shares and counting. All I can say is thank you, thank you and thank you to everyone for your support of this piece. It’s amazing — but maybe not surprising — how much the topic of postpartum body image resonates with so many of us. I’m just so glad that I’m touching so many women and contributing to the conversation around definitions of strength, beauty and self-acceptance in a positive way.

Speaking of Scary Mommy, if you haven’t checked her out, you absolutely must! The awesome Jill Smokler is an expert curator of all things true, funny, confessional, quirky, messy and gorgeous about motherhood. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Scary Mommy community.

kveller-logo…and yesterday, my first piece was published on Kveller.com! It’s about getting to know my middle girl, Ruby, while she’s off at sleep away camp for the first time. Cleaning out her room, I realized how much I missed her and I finally found time to truly appreciate the unique person she is. That doesn’t always happen on a day-to-day basis with three clamoring kids, one fuzzy, barking dog and, well, everything that comes with this crazy-busy, bouncing life. The chance to slow down, be present and engage is a rare gift, especially for someone like me who tends to become overwhelmed by the frenzy. See what good things come from cleaning out your kid’s room?!

Again, thank you all for reading and sharing and contributing to the conversation. There’s nothing better than connecting, both in real-life and virtually, as we navigate this grown-up life together.

Wine, Trampolines and Body Love

After posting 4 Truths About Our Post-Baby Bodies, I invited moms to share what they love about themselves after having kids. There were so many positive responses, ranging from a simple “Thank you. I needed that “ to “My arms have never looked toner” to “When I think about what my body did, giving birth to my kids, I’m amazed” to “I’m in better shape at 37 than I was before having my (3) children.”

There were also moms who are truly struggling with the way they look and function after having kids. C. said: “There is nothing pretty about a post-partum body especially after twins and anyone who says otherwise is a liar…I do care that my body will never be the same and I wish people wouldn’t have lied about it…” To the moms who struggle, know that you’re not alone. I hope you heal soon, see beauty and strength in yourself and believe how awesome you are.

As with any topic, there are always people with different or opposing opinions. One commenter couldn’t relate because her body “hadn’t changed at all” after having two kids. A few others felt that the article was untrue or more pointedly, “total BS,” in its description of the ways our bodies change or was unnecessarily scary for new moms. Others were simply sick of the Mama Bodies topic altogether. Fair enough. Differing perspectives make for a more interesting conversation.

A few other highlights:

The “truth” that resonated the most with people was #3: “Instead, your body will do amazing things you never dreamed it could do. It makes me so happy that most readers focused on what is possible. Besides the pure physical accomplishment and wonder of growing and carrying a human in utero, women shared other major milestones, like running a marathon after having multiple children, climbing mountains and simply choosing to live healthy, active lives as moms. Wow, ladies, thanks for the inspiration.

We moms have a sense of humor about ourselves. While my own mom felt it was a bit TMI for me to share that jumping jacks sometimes leave me, well, less than dry, several of you mentioned the perils of your own subsequently weakened pelvic floors. This quote from J. about sums it up: “Sneezing and jumping on trampolines will never be the same. Don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise!”

IMG_4217Many moms also related to the sentiment that we should “never, ever give up the wine.” I got a lot of amens and lols on that one. Good to know we mamas know enough to take a load off and enjoy a good glass of chardonnay/sauvignon blanc/pinot, as needed.

It’s important to take care of our bodies. I received several very helpful comments about what can be done to help those of us with that uncomfortable leaking during physical activity. M said: “…(I am) dumbfounded that OBs and midwives don’t automatically refer every postpartum woman to see a PT [physical therapist] after birth…PT [physical therapy] is totally needed in many cases…to regain “normal” function.” So all you mamas out there who avoid jumping jacks like I do, let’s ask our OBs and primary care physicians for those physical therapy referrals!

Finally, here are a few of the links forwarded to me about positive body-image projects and articles:

The 4th Trimester Bodies Project: This incredible photography project documents women’s beautiful bodies during pregnancy and beyond.

Jade Beall’s personal photos after giving birth posted on The San Francisco Globe website are lovely.

Blooma Blog: This site is truly supportive and nurturing for new moms. I especially like the post-partum section with its focus on both emotional and physical health.

A Public Declaration of Love: This is a great personal article by writer Katie Dohman where she asks us what it would take for us moms to love ourselves.

100 Steps to Getting Rid of Stretch Marks Fast: As a big fan of stretch marks (ha), this list just makes me laugh.

Taryn Brumfitt’s Body Image Movement: Taryn is a mom of three who has really struggled with her body image from both ends of the spectrum. She’s working on a documentary called Embrace.

Let me know if you have any other links you’d like to share related to post-partum bodies or positive body image.

My 6 Minutes and 9 Seconds of Fame

When the Huffington Post emailed me yesterday to tell my article 4 Truths About Our Post-Baby Bodies was trending and they wanted to interview me on HuffPost Live this morning, I basically freaked out. I felt like I’d skipped to the front of the line for the World’s Most Mind-Blowing Roller Coaster, got thrown into the very front car and was heading down that first steep hill into a never-ending loop-de-loop. Was I thrilled? Yes. Did I feel like throwing up? Absolutely. For the rest of the day.

While the attention is exciting, what’s really phenomenal is the amazing response the piece is receiving. It’s so meaningful to connect with so many moms out there who not only struggle with their body image after baby, but also discover a whole new beautiful, strong woman in themselves. There’s so much empowerment and inspiration in that, so thank you all for sharing.

Secondly, if you’re a mom, the thing about having 6 minutes and 9 seconds of fame is that you still have to make school lunches. Which I did the night before. And I showered the night before. And picked out my clothes the night before. And I visualized myself being cool and collected upon waking. Ha. Let me tell you, it was Crazy Town around here this morning. Being on the west coast, the interview was scheduled for 8:05 a.m. with me being ready and online around 7:57 a.m. This also happens to be the time my toddler is wandering the house naked and the big girls need to be in the car on their way to school. Thank goodness for carpool. Or really, thank goodness for Billy who was driving this morning. Other than the dreaded Witching Hour, those minutes before the girls tumble out the door are the most stressful. One kid was asking me for the hot-glue gun, another was going nuts trying to find a particular skirt (she found it then decided not to wear it) and the toddler was simply yelling into the void hoping someone, anyone, would deliver her from her crib, give her some milk and include her in the melee. A super, duper thank you to my husband, Josh, for taking over toddler herding duties this morning.

IMG_2082Meanwhile, the morning dawned grey, not the most flattering light for a live interview, I woke up with a big zit on my chin and I couldn’t figure out the best angle for my laptop camera that would truly capture my, you know, inner essence. When it was finally go time, my mouth went dry, I swallowed the butterflies as best I could and wiggled my feet in my favorite sheepskin slippers, which were tucked under the desk, out of sight. Then mom went live.

My bit starts at about 14:27, but don’t miss Janie Porter taking about her piece The Stay-at-Home-Mom Conspiracy Theory. FYI, she’s a former TV news reporter. I thought she was the one interviewing me when I first logged on!

Finally, I’d love to hear from you — what your response is to the article, how you feel about your mama body and any advice or inspiration you’d like to share. You can leave a comment here, on my Facebook page or at the bottom of the piece on the Huffington Post.

xo/Lisa

You can find the interview here.