Dear Postpartum me,
First off, Congratulations on the life that you are bringing into this world!
I know the last 40 weeks have been hard… Seemingly endless nausea, losing weight, late night heartburn, exhaustion, then the weight gain and still endless nausea.
Food aversions that leave you living on toast and Costco muffins, if you’re able to even keep anything down.
Slowly watching certain activities slip from your grasp, making you feel like nothing more than a spectator and the “pregnant lady” in the group. Throwing up at work, and having to come out smiling. Hip flexor pain, having a rib out, and difficulty sleeping.
The constant well- meaning questions about how you’re feeling, how far along you are as well as comments about your size. You ask yourself if anyone even cares about you aside from your pregnancy.
Trying to stay hydrated for yourself and your child and feeling like a failure as you wind up with two IV’s over the course of your 40 weeks…
Watching your once athletic body become something else.
The list goes on and on…
As you enter this wonderful, crazy, hard 4th trimester, (aka: Postpartum) there are a few things I want you to know…
You are incredibly strong.
9 months of pregnancy is hard, especially in a world that really doesn’t value life
You are beautiful.
There will be times where you stand in front of the mirror and pick your postpartum self apart. You will frown upon your stretch marks, your squishier belly, and wider hips. You’ll miss your smaller bra size.
You will look at pictures from two years ago and want to look like that again.
Please don’t do that.
Society wants us to think that beauty is only found in flawless skin and model-like curves. I’m here to tell you that beauty is found in so many other ways. Your stretch marks are no more ugly than someone else’s freckles, or dimples.
Change does not equal ugly.
You are no less beautiful or desirable to your husband. You will not be loved less by your family, friends, or your child.
Wear your stretch marks proudly. They are a reminder of your strength and what you did to bring life to another. Let your baby girl grow up seeing a mom who isn’t ashamed of them, in a world that will try to teach her otherwise.
I know this postpartum period is hard. You’ve been pregnant for what seems like forever, and now you’ve finally given birth.
You will be itching to do all the things you used to do, but you can’t. At least, not yet mama. You will have to be gracious to yourself, and recover. There will be days you feel fine but don’t be fooled by it…you’re only setting yourself up for failure by pushing your limits.
You’ve spent how many years living your life? A year of living a different life for someone else won’t kill you. It’s a sacrifice, yes, but one well worth making.
There will be days where you feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Days where you want to go back to the simple life with just you and your husband. Days where the tears just won’t end as you struggle with pain, stress, and sleep deprivation.
You can do this.
That first month will be hard, but I promise you it gets better. Life with your precious peanut will get easier and you’ll find a new normal. Time goes by so fast and they’re only little once. Enjoy it in all the good moments, and pray harder during the bad one’s.
I know you so badly want to be “normal” again…
You want to run and jump and throw a barbell around.
You want to be intimate with your husband.
You want to not have to think about your every move and whether it’s ok or not.
I promise you, you will get there.
There are little victories to be found everyday. Extra chores done around the house, a slightly longer walk, a few extra squats, low-key sports where you basically stand and wait for your teammates to use you, finally using a Kettlebell..
Find those moments and appreciate them. You are getting stronger everyday, and setting yourself up for success by healing well so you can be the best mom, wife, and individual you can be.
Care for your body, love and appreciate it for all the incredible things it can do, and love on your tiny human. Because in the end, life isn’t about our athleticism, beauty, abs, or even ourselves. It’s about the legacy we leave behind.
Let your legacy to your children be your faith, and the knowledge that they are so much more than this world tries to make them into.
Lead by example. Show them they can be proud of “imperfect bodies”.
In a world that mocks and belittles motherhood, show them it is something beautiful and worthy of respect.
This stuff is hard mama, and I am so proud of you for trying to navigate your way through.
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