As a new mom, it's always feels good when people tell me I'm "looking good". I need to hear it. I need to hear it a million times a day. I have barf in my hair and pee on my shirt and I am worn out and tired and feeling all kinds of self conscious. I have noticed, though, what I think is a very interesting cultural trend.
I've heard it quite a few times. From family, friends and strangers alike.After a casual glance at my tummy a person will say "You are getting rid of that baby belly pretty fast." or " Good job losing the weight mama." or something to that effect. I am never offended by these comments, I am ALWAYS happy and proud to hear it. Which is kind of the disturbing part. The fact is, I have vigorously exercised exactly two times since my c-section. The fact is I wasn't even allowed to exercise until last week. The fact is that between trying to regain my strength, Christmas, and breastfeeding I have been eating EVERYTHING. The fact is that my stomach going down has very little to do with anything I've done.
I don't mean to be a party pooper here, but if you are praising someone for losing weight or "getting back to normal" within 6 weeks of their giving birth, you are praising one thing: the pace at which their uterus has decided to shrink. To me, its kinda weird how frequently, how very directly, I've been praised for that very thing. Frankly, I don't think I've shrunk all that fast either.
What worries me is this idea that a "new mommy body" is not a desirable one to have. I'm soft and squishy and I won't say I don't want to get back to a runner body ASAP, but why?
I was shocked the other day when, while reading a Tolstoy, ( can't remember the title, too lazy to go get it off the shelf) I read a line in which the main character describes his wife as finally reaching this awaited state of beauty that could only be reached after having a few children. He discusses how sharp she seemed, as a young bride, and compares it to the beautiful softness that came with motherhood. It was just unfathomable to me that the added squishy I have could be thought of as beautiful.
But I know one person who thinks it's beautiful. He kicks at it while he's eating, and snuggles in it when he's grouchy. He pinches at it with his little fingers when I hold him close. So what if I'm soft? I am a soft place for him to land.
I want to get back to what I was, but I think it takes a while for a reason--and I'm okay with that.