‘I didn’t remember I had my shirt off. ‘Mama, can I take a picture of Bowie?’ I vaguely remember shifting him on my hip so she’d see him better.’: Mom felt ‘disgusted’ after postpartum photos, says it’s ‘normal to mourn your body’

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“A few days ago one of my twins was playing around with my phone. She was in a picture-taking frenzy which usually means I’ll have a camera filled with thousands of photos of her feet, or the wall.

I vaguely remember her walking into the kitchen saying, ‘Mama, can I take a picture of Bowie?,’ and I vaguely remember shifting him on my hip so she would be able to see him better. But I totally don’t remember that I had my shirt off, or that I was about to microwave my coffee for the third time that morning. But alas, a picture was taken of this moment.

I scrolled through the 50 she took of us and I was not thrilled with what I was looking at. Why? Because of my stomach. The little house this baby grew in just 12 weeks prior was the reason for my disgust. It took me three days to even look at those pictures again.

‘Love your body!’ is a message I am all about preaching. It’s one you hear countless times lately. Women are campaigning for others to love and respect their bodies for serving them well. It’s an important message to convey. It’s an important one we all need to hear.

But my message today is a little different.

I whole heartedly believe that women are freaking warriors. I believe our bodies perform the ultimate physical phenomenon by carrying a child. I believe we are all-superior when it comes to what our bodies are capable of doing. We win. We totally win.

I respect the heck out of my body for growing five babies. I could not be more grateful for having the opportunity to carry and birth all of them. I could not be more thankful for being entrusted to grow and house these little miracles. I love my body for allowing me to do that. I love my body for being so freaking amazing.

But I am currently in the stage of ‘will I ever fit into my favorite jeans again?’

And you know what I realized? I’m definitely not alone.

It’s normal not to be in love with your body right away.

It’s normal to look in the mirror and feel like you’re looking at a foreign object.

It’s normal to wish your face wasn’t so round or that your stomach didn’t jiggle with every step.

It’s normal to push your fingers into your Jell-O-like belly and gasp at the lack of muscles.

It’s normal to cry over what you see.

It’s normal to position your camera to get your ‘good angle.’

It’s normal to marvel at how such an adorable teeny tiny baby could give you so much insecurity.

It’s normal to feel frustrated over the simultaneous love you have for what you did and the disgust for what you’re left with.

It’s normal to feel guilty for feeling this way when you know there’s people out there who would do anything to bear children.

It’s normal to wonder if you’ll ever look like a sliver of the person you used to.

It’s normal to mourn your body.

It’s so normal, in fact, that I wish we talked about it more.

Yes, you’ll get there. You’ll get to the point where you love every single thing your body was capable of doing. You’ll love your tiger stripes. You’ll love that fluffy tummy that housed your baby. You’ll love your wide hips that now give you more shape. You’ll admire your hair loss and you’ll even cherish those saggy boobs that once fed your baby. You’ll love all of it, everything you might despise now.

But it’s okay to not be there yet.

It’s okay to wonder what the heck just happened and if you’ll ever feel ‘normal’ again.

It’s okay, Mama.

We just spent close to one whole year growing a mini human. That takes time to recover from. The emotions associated with all of pregnancy, birth, and post-partum take time to recover from. It’s baby steps, not one huge leap.

Loving your new body is a part of the journey. It’s a part of post-partum and it’s a part of motherhood. It’s a part of life, honestly!

Bodies age. We aren’t meant to look like we’re 16. We’re not meant to look like we’re supermodels. Even the supermodels on the magazines don’t look like themselves.

We all are our own worst critics. We all are too hard on ourselves. Give yourself some time and grace. Remember that you’re not alone. Remember that we all have to walk this path. We all have to accept this changing vessel we are in charge of. We all have to learn to love ourselves for who we are and not for what we look like. Because at the end of the day, our kids don’t care. They just want us.

It’s a message I need to hear, too.

Now when I look at this picture, I see this moment from my 4-year-old’s eyes and perspective. I see her mom holding her baby brother while she does normal mom stuff. I see a body that has housed her most precious miracles. I see a baby boy feeling safe and loved in the arms of his favorite person. I see a moment that I never knew I needed to see. I see a picture that I will forever cherish.”

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Molly Schultz of Tried and True Mama. You can follow her on InstagramSubmit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

Read more from Molly here:

‘We were 11,000 feet above sea level. I wanted to throw up. I instantly regretted this. But we’ve got to get that picture!’: Mom shares terrifying moment she ‘hated’ to encourage others to show their ‘true life’ moments too

‘You got a baby BROTHER!’ He jumped up. ‘YES! I knew it was a brother! Now I get to share a room!’: After 4 sisters, adopted son finally gets a brother ‘handpicked’ for him by his ‘dad in heaven’

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