Despite being very into fitness and – at one point in my life, nearly obsessed with Pilates, I have never really loved my tummy. It has never been as cut as I wanted it or as flat. I have never had a six pack. Or a four. Or even a two. But since I became pregnant with Ama, I have seen a whole other side of my midsection. Sure it isn’t aesthetically perfect postpartum, but as I age, I have come to realize there is so much more to everything – even tummies – than good looks. My tummy grew and housed the most amazing create in this world. It went from fitting into size 2 pants to ballooning up to fit an entire fully developed human-being in nine months. Then, somehow, it shrank back down to (almost) it’s pre-baby size. It’s not just my tummy either. Every mommy’s tummy whether they had a c-section, twins, a premie, a boy, a girl… they all did it. And you hear people complaining about loosing the last few inches off a tummy that did all that? Or whining about stretch marks? Of course, it’s all about that wondrous tummy until the baby comes out of it. And then it’s “forget you” you deflated balloon of a thing. I say it’s time to pull out the bikinis and bra tops postpartum (OK maybe wait a few months until post involution) and love your tummy. It may not be the tummy you had before you had your baby, but who would want it to be? It’s been through a lot. I for one want my daughter growing up embracing all shapes, sizes and types of healthy tummies… especially the ones that were able to grow babies. You may find yourself envying a six pack once in a while, but really, what has that tummy done? Some sit-ups? Cover shoots? Big deal.
The last time I took my daughter to a museum, there was an exhibit on natives. She couldn’t help but draw the comparison between me and some braless Amazonian woman. I used to think the saggy boobs were from the bralessness. Turns out after wearing unforgiving sports bras my whole life and then having a baby… I now realize that it’s the baby, not the lack of breast support. Initially it gave me a good chuckle that she compared me to said archetype of forest dwelling lady, instead of say, Milla Jovovich. But as I thought about it, I really appreciated the comparison. Looking like a photoshopped super model isn’t possible – so why should it be desirable? Our bodies are made to move, be strong, be powerful. Mothers epitimize that – saggy bobbed super ladies living in the forest and chasing down prey with a baby tied to their back epitimize that. Looking like a mother is about the best compliment you could give. It’s what real strength looks like.