Before I got pregnant I hated my stomach. Don’t all women?? Well, all women from our culture/society?? We are bombarded with images of perfectly flat, toned or ripped abdomens and we look down at our own sorry, flabby flesh and fall into bouts of depression or self-loathing over it.
I used to hate my stomach and considered it the worst of my physical features. I tried to keep it in shape. I did the core work-outs and the crunches and the lower ab leg lifts and the fat-burning exercises and … and… and… and… I still hated the stomach that just didn’t want to do what I wanted it to do.
When I got pregnant I watched my stomach grow and grow and grow and grow and then it grew some more. It had to expand to hold a 9+ pound baby and everything that baby needed in utero. I look back at pictures and can NOT believe that was ME. Funny thing, though… when I was going through the pregnancy I never felt big. I never felt as big as I was, that’s for sure. And I loved my belly.
I am now two years past my son’s birth. And my stomach hasn’t quite recovered from carrying that sweet baby. Granted, I never seem to find the time to exercise it, either. So there’s that. I look down when I am doing a plank exercise (or just sitting on the couch) and see how gravity pulls that excess belly toward the earth. And to think it was never close to that prior to pregnancy and yet I hated it then.
But now I just smile when I see it. Some excess, wrinkly skin that would have freaked me out 4 years ago makes happy today. This belly grew a baby. A baby I wanted for so long. This belly protected the most precious person I have ever met, gave him a warm, nourishing home. And eventually I will work it out more, try to get a stronger overall core. But I no longer obsess or lament this belly. I caress it and appreciate it for being strong enough to bring a new life into my life. This belly is my badge of motherhood and I love it just as it is right now.