‘Thank you Jell-O tummy, thank you stretch marks, thank you droopy boobies.’: Mom finds new beauty in postpartum body

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“It’s 9:44 p.m. and my husband and I have just eaten a whole sheet of white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies. I won’t lie to you, I ate two of them before they were even in the oven. I had eight cookies.

I know it’s not healthy. I know I should be putting better fuel into my body. I know if I keep snacking late at night, I will never lose the extra ten pounds of baby weight that seems to cling to my skin like gorilla glue. But God, those cookies are just so damn good.

Does anyone remember what it was like to be young? Like, less than 25 years old? I remember I used to walk around my college campus in daisy dukes and tank tops. I was a cross country runner, so I was in a very elite sport that allowed me to eat whatever I wanted without gaining any weight. It was magical.

And my boobs? They were awesome. Sometimes, I didn’t even have to wear a bra. They would just stay up all on their own.

Sorcery, I tell you.

I don’t want to say I am less attractive now that I have become a mother, but I do think my chances of becoming a Victoria’s Secret model have drastically declined. Not that any talent agents were knocking on my door anyways…

Here is the point I am trying to make: my body is different.

First time mom looks down at her swaddled newborn son as he sleeps
Courtesy of Lisa Carnett

I remember when I was a child, I would lay on my mother’s stomach. ‘Your tummy feels like Jell-O, mommy,’ I would tell her as I happily glued myself to her skin. Like a pillow made of clouds, her stomach was where I sought comfort and support. I would move up and down with every breath she breathed, curling my head into her breast as she stroked my hair. Sometimes she would sing to me. Sometimes I would fall asleep simply listening to the sound of her heart beating.

I never knew my mom had issues with her body until I got to high school. I would watch her stare at herself in the mirror and declare to the house, ‘This shirt makes me look fat’ or ‘Look at my muffin top.’ I didn’t understand why she got a tummy tuck. I thought she looked beautiful just the way she was. I was actually sad the Jell-O tummy was gone.

I never understood why my mom disliked the part of her I loved the most. But, I understand now. I understand what it is like to love your child with your whole being and still feel like your body is not your own. I know what it’s like to stare down at your stretch marks and think, ‘Man, what I would give to be able to wear a bikini with confidence again.’ I get it, mom. And for the record, I believe women have every right to do anything they want to make themselves feel beautiful.

Despite that, I’ve decided I am going to try and love my body for what it is. I have decided today I am going to actively embrace every stretch mark, fluff, and extra pound on my body. As I am holding my son in my arms, and he is pressed again my Jell-O tummy, I am going to say to myself:

Thank you Jell-O tummy, for giving my son a warm place to sleep.

Thank you stretch marks, for allowing my body to stretch enough to create my beautiful son.

Thank you droopy boobies, for creating milk for my son to eat.

Mom takes a photo of her newborn son wearing a onesie that reads "Mommy's cuddle-saurus" with a dinosaur on it
Courtesy of Lisa Carnett

If you are a mother like me, and you are also struggling with learning how to love the ‘new you,’ I implore you to say those things as well. You are strong. You are beautiful. You are a freaking rock star for bringing life into this world.

And eat the damn cookies. You deserve it.”

Mom embraces her sleeping newborn son during postpartum photoshoot
Courtesy of Lisa Carnett

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lisa Carnett. You can follow her journey on InstagramFacebook, and blogSubmit your own story here, and be sure to subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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