Ladies, I can’t help but start off like this. Pause before reading, click on this video clip below of Bootylicious by Destiny's Child. Listen to just the first twenty seconds and imagine me saying your name (as if my voice sounded like theirs). “Jennifer, can you handle this?” I don’t think you can handle this, because my bodies to babylicious for ya!
Whatever changes, curves, droops or shifts that appeared after having a child.
When I enter this topic that way I can’t help but just be joyful about it. I know the topic of our changing bodies is serious. I, like maybe a lot of you, have had some hard moments looking at myself in the mirror. But it’s time to drop that pressure that we have allowed society to put on us to “bounce right back”. Sometimes you will, and some women just don’t. As for me there was a lot of things bouncing but all of those things were still happily attached to my body.
I can recall quite vividly looking at myself in the mirror in a dressing room when I was seven months pregnant. I always wanted to have a summer baby so I could rock a perfect pregnant belly in a bikini. There I was living my dream, only in my dream I did not recall my belly having stretch marks. I had a choice to make in that moment. Yes there were tears but I had to choose whether I was going to let this time in my life be ruined or if I was going to have joy in this beautiful process and rock the bikini anyway. So I rocked it, stretch marks and all and when I released that pressure I was able to feel beautiful.
Melasma, which is also affectionately known as the pregnancy mask, also made an appearance. Aside from a few emotional responses to people telling me I had makeup smudged on my face, I also chose to not let this steal my joy.
Then I had this perfectly healthy, gorgeous baby girl and as you all know it immediately all became worth it. I had to have a c-section due to complications so I gave myself so much grace realizing this recovery process would be different than I had planned and that was ok.
But when nursing wasn't shrinking my stomach any more, I had this overhang of skin and I was 6 months postpartum, reality began to sink in. My body had changed and it definitely wasn’t going to just go back to normal. I would feel ok, then see myself in pictures and freak out. I just couldn't believe that was me.
Trying on clothes for the first time in my life became something that could actually throw me into a serious slump. I even pulled the band aid and tried on all my clothes setting aside things that no longer fit. I wasn't trying to torture myself, rather prevent myself from future meltdowns.
Honestly ladies, the hardest part for me was not that my body had changed, or what it looked like. It was hard for me to be struggling so much with something I know changes nothing. So I had to dive into that fact in order to come up with a fresh perspective.
The change in my body didn't change who God has called me to be. It didn't change the way my husband or the people in my life saw me. It definitely had no affect on my daughter because she doesn't know any different. It didn't change my heart and the way it has a tendency to spill out onto those around me. It didn't change my value as a woman. It didn't change the fact that I am beautiful through and through.
Yes my body changed, but it didn't change me. I’m just Babylicious now.
Now that I have conquered the way I see and feel about the changes in my body, I am ready to really start pursuing change that can control. I just wanted to make sure I had the right mindset first. I want to fight to change my body because I love it and it is a dwelling place for my God, I never wanted to do it with disgust as my motivation. I want to fight to change my body through healthy eating strategies and an active lifestyle. I want to pursue strength & vitality without it being about a number or looking a certain way. Because it’s possible to have a healthy self image, to love what you see (flaws & all) but still see areas you would like to improve.
Most importantly, my little is watching and there is no perfect body to attain worth tainting the example I am setting for her.
Now end with this, “I don't think your ready for this Jelly” because if you got more than Beyonce (Lord knows I do) then that’s something to be proud of mama. You are Babylicious.