Big bellies make beautiful babies

Paul is 3 weeks old today, which means my body has been postpartum for three weeks now.

Four weeks ago today, this was my body:

b Big bellies make beautiful babies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this photo. Big, beautiful, and full of baby boy.

No doubt about it, I’m one of those women who “carry all out front”. I’ve been told that I’m lucky, because looking like I swallowed a basket ball is totally in style, apparently.

I’ve now carried around 4 basketballs in the past 7 years, and I’m feeling a bit physically and emotionally ravaged.

When the kids came to the hospital to meet baby Paul for the first time, the first things Nola said to me was: “Mommy, why do you still look pregnant?” I laughed it off, because in the eyes of a 4 year old, her mommy still looked pregnant.

I agree. The first few months postpartum, you do still look pregnant. Those women who wear their skinny jeans home from the hospital? They don’t exist.

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This morning, Michael and I went to run errands, which included a trip to Target. The minute we walked through the doors, we were smacked in the face by the display of teeny tiny bikinis. Although the temps are freezing here in Central Indiana, apparently, it’s time to get yourself a fresh string bikini for the beach.

I mumbled: “Now there’s something I’ll never need again”.

Jokingly, giving me a sarcastic grin, Michael says to me: “Babe, you just need to find your Swimsuit Confidence.

But the truth of the matter is, no matter how hard I work out, I’ll never wear a two piece again. And quite frankly, it’s ok with me. It’s the least of my worries.

You see, while that beautiful maternity photo of me was taken less than a month ago, this grainy self-portrait of me was taken yesterday:

IMG 3199 Big bellies make beautiful babies

Me, 3 weeks postpartum, after my 4th pregnancy.

This is the belly of a thirty-something year old woman, who has carried 4 full term babies. This women loves rich chocolate cake, is lackadaisical when it comes to exercising, and enjoys a good beer every once and a while.

Yesterday my friend Casey posted over at babble about loving our postpartum bodies and embracing our imperfections. At her request, I begrudgingly sent her the above photo for a slideshow, but made her promise to keep my identity a secret. (hi, my name is “Jo”)

I shouldn’t be ashamed. And it’s sad that what just a few weeks ago I found beautiful, can quickly become a source of self-hatred. What pregnancy has done to my body is normal and natural. I am not a hideous and deformed creature who answers to Momma.

I’m a modest gal. And it’s true, I don’t love the way my belly looks. You will not fine me frolicking in the sun wearing a teeny tiny anything.

But I love my babies, and I wouldn’t trade my four kids for all the rock hard abs on Miami Beach.

6752815889 4ae6cf6ee8 Big bellies make beautiful babies

(my belly, it’s squishy-ness makes a fantastic resting place.

I used to have a beautiful body, but now I have beautiful children. (thanks, better in bulk, it’s so true)

Comments

comments

Comments

  1. Sarah Partain says:

    Yes. I’m so glad you and Casey are doing these posts, especially as the bikinis come out. Our bodies are forever scarred bc of our precious children, but it just adds to the meaning of being a mom.

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  2. You are such a beautiful person! And its only been four weeks…cut yourself some slack! Way to keep it real…so many of us can relate!

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  3. michelleJ says:

    I’m a relatively new reader to your blog. I quickly grew quite fond of you, but now? I kinda LOVE YOU because of your confidence. You are awesome. Thank you.

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  4. PS…that last photo is so beautiful! Love those early days with our babes. My belly will forever look like a zebra —white stripes now that will turn bright purple if I ever get pregnant again! —BUT OH SO WORTH IT!

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  5. You makes gorgeous kids but I still think you a very very very BEAUTIFUL!!!!
    Renee recently posted..Some words are worth repeating, over and over again

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  6. Awesome post, by both you and Casey. And while I love that line at the bottom, I might change it to read ‘I STILL have a beautiful body–just beautiful in a different way–AND I have beautiful children!’
    sarah recently posted..The Whys & What It Means To Have A Scientist For A Daddy…

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  7. This looks perfectly familiar. And I’ve only had one. Thanks for sharing :)

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  8. You are beautiful!! Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks!
    AmazingGreis recently posted..Much Needed Getaway…

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  9. They’re worth it.
    Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] recently posted..The One About My Panties

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  10. Beautiful. This was such a lovely post. PS. You stripey sweater/shirt looks amazingly comfortable. I want one.
    lalalovely lindsay recently posted..Red Playdough

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  11. i really love this post. it’s all too familiar. thank you.

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  12. You. Are. Beautiful. And strong, and wonderful. And those “battle scars are totally worth it. I feel empowered today. :)
    Lolli @ Better in Bulk recently posted..I Used to Have a Beautiful Belly. Now I Have Beautiful Kids.

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  13. Thank you for doing this! This is what real looks like, and you are awesome!

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  14. Color me crazy but I think that is a pretty awesome baby for 4 weeks postpartum with your 4th baby. Thank you for your bravery. You are inspiring.

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  15. I’m impressed with how small your belly looks for being 3 weeks post partum, and your fourth baby carried!! Women are beautiful, stretch marks and all. Thank you for sharing this picture so other women out there can see what a normal stomach looks like after having a child. I read that article on Babble, so when I saw that picture it rang a bell for me that it looked familiar. I think all of you who shared your pictures for that article are AMAZING!! It’s so funny because a lot of women who breastfeed (myself included) are more worried about having our less than perfect bellies show when we nurse our child, rather than how much skin of our breast we may show a glimpse of before the baby is latched on. Instead of being ashamed of every line on our stomach, we should be proud of each “battle scar” we incurred on our journey of making a life! What could be more miraculous than that?! Those lines and extra weight should be celebrated instead of being something to be ashamed of.

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  16. One of the things my 1yo loves to do with my loose skinned jelly-like belly? Bury her face in it and blow raspberries. It’s so sweet when she does it and she giggles so much, somehow it has made me a little more okay with my body.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  17. I started a thing!

    YAY ME.

    (And yay you, “Jo”)
    moosh in indy. recently posted..(baby babble) bellies, bookshelves and babies on mirrors.

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  18. Seriously – what is UP with the bathing suits in the stores already? You are awesome and beautiful in every way. Thank you so much for this post. Why do we beat ourselves up so much? I loved being pregnant because it was the only time I WANTED my stomach to be big. It was a source of pride. Post-partum (and now, four years later) – not so much. But I’m trying, I’m trying. Thank you.

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  19. Thank you for showing us what a REAL woman’s belly looks like after 4 babies. I love this idea and I may just be brave enough myself, we’ll see… ;)

    You’re gorgeous inside and out!! MWAH!

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  20. They do put the bikinis right in front! You are incredible and awesome.

    Steph

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  21. Oh I love this post. Beautiful.
    Jennie Rader recently posted..Gift of gratitude

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  22. What a giant spoonful of truth you’ve dished out! I have to say, I loved that feeling – literally stuffed full of amazing tiny human. And then that human comes out, and I just looked, well, stuffed full. It was a huge insecurity I never anticipated. Our bodies are awesome and amazing, but that size four I worked so hard for a little over two years ago is never, ever coming back. In exchange for my new size 8, though, I got one incredible and loved little girl… worth it? I think so! Hang in there, and thanks as always for your honesty.

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  23. Love everything about this!
    Jamie recently posted..weekend wisdom 28

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  24. I finally came to terms with my baby belly (6 kiddos) when I thought of it like a kangaroo pouch LOL seriously – Once I started giving thanks that my skin could stretch that much that many times…that it could lovingly hold those little ones who needed time to grow….I’m kinda on a friendly basis with the lines…and the pillowy softness. :) now
    my rear end on the other hand……;)well that’s another days post!

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  25. I’m so impressed that you posted that photo of your belly “after”! Made me cry! Since my first birth I’ve been so afraid of anyone seeing my belly. Most days I don’t even look at it! I know that it means I’ve made a mark, I made a baby but I just can’t stand to look at it, especially when all of my friends have a pretty “after” belly just months later. Thank you…I don’t know if your bravery will change anything for me personally but it has made me feel part of a club.

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  26. I had twins a year ago and while I have lost the 90 lbs I gained and then some, my poor little belly will never be the same. (I/m only 5’3″ and I carried them full term before my c-section) I just had hernia surgery a month ago as my belly button was still popping out! I admire you a great deal for posting this “after” pic. I think it is awesome the way you feel about yourself and what your body has done. I am still trying to come to terms with what I look like now even though I know it was totally worth it. I still miss my flat belly and I wish I had taken more picture of myself in a bikini!! HA!!

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  27. I’ve been thinking about this post all day long. I just wanted to thank you again.

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  28. Emily it does look like you’ve swallowed a basketball.That’s a very good thing because it means that you have a big round beautiful belly that you carry very well!!!!!

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