Thank you for joining my guest series ‘My body is beautiful because…’
Today the wonderful Romina from Mini Mummi Blogger shares with us her journey through motherhood and the difficulties her body has faced. Does she triumph over her struggles…? Have a read and see for yourself:
When my jeans would no longer zip up late into my first trimester, I took it as an excuse to go shopping for new clothes. After all, how often do you get the chance to buy a bunch of new clothes without feeling guilty? (Okay, so maybe I felt a little guilty!) After my son was born, I was lucky (and delighted) to fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans by the time he was 7 weeks old. I lost most of my pregnancy weight quickly, for which I was very grateful. But I still wasn’t happy with my body.
I’m petite, and apparently my son was a bigger-than-average first baby for my size (I don’t know how they work that out … he didn’t seem big to me), so I ended up with Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation). So, not only did I still look bloated from the pregnancy, my core strength had weakened considerably and I had a noticeable gap between my abdominal muscles. I have to wear a postpartum belt, which helps my core strength but, when worn too many days in a row, makes my back sore. I saw a physiotherapist for several weeks, and do a variety of exercises to reduce the separation. I went down from what they told me was a seven-finger separation to what I estimate is between one and two fingers, so I still have a ways to go before my abs close up completely (and it is the hardest mile, where you feel like you are getting nowhere). Abdominal separation is both a visible and invisible condition. You can see a gap in your abs, your tummy is no longer flat, and maybe your belly button is still half pushed out. But there are also effects that people can’t see, like weakened muscles that make it hard for you to lift your growing baby, not to mention the feeling that your stomach looks really weird …
My son came into the world after a nine-hour (active) induced labour which culminated in an episiotomy due to the need to use a vacuum to turn his head so that he could come out. I felt out of it for weeks afterwards. I had to use a special cushion with a hole in it to ease some of the pain and discomfort. Sometimes I still feel a pull where the episiotomy was done. This didn’t help the way I was feeling at all.
As expected, my boobs got bigger. But I didn’t expect my tops not to actually fit anymore. Rifling through your wardrobe and not finding anything to wear is not exactly encouraging! So I bought a few new ones. I realised that if I wear loose or flow-y tops, you can’t even notice the abdominal separation. I went through my closet and tried everything on; I got rid of anything that didn’t fit right, anything that I hadn’t worn in ages before I became pregnant, and anything that I felt didn’t suit me anymore. I was ruthless, and ended up with several large bags of clothes to donate. One day, I was in Myer looking for something completely unrelated, when I came across a lovely dress suitable for wearing to the office. After working for a company with a strict dress code in my first real job, I had gotten over wearing business attire – it can be pretty boring, and often isn’t all that comfortable. Over the years, I adopted a more smart casual look for work. But I tried on this dress, which had a touch of colour and was much more of a “me” type of business dress. I looked in the mirror in the fitting room and thought “wow, that actually looks good!”.
I bought the dress and went home, armed with a positive energy and the decision to revamp my work wardrobe. I had started off trying to hide my “scars”, and while buying new clothes isn’t exactly showing them off to the world, I had reached a point where I could appreciate my body as it was. And the dress was a symbol of that breakthrough. I don’t feel the need to expose my “mummy tummy”, so that everyone can see what I went through during my pregnancy, my labour, and after. I applaud those mummies brave enough to show their postpartum bodies, to help others relate, and to raise awareness. However, for me, this is something for me to see and work on and deal with.
My body isn’t perfect; it wasn’t before my pregnancy, and it will never be society’s idea of perfect. But I finally understand that my body is beautiful – not because I can fit into my old jeans or look nice in a new dress, no. I have my gorgeous little boy, who is the light of my life, who wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have the body that I have now. My body is beautiful because it brought a new life into the world. I may have new imperfections, but I’ve earned those – they are my battle scars. I appreciate them because they tell me and the world that I went to war … and won.
And that is beautiful.
Yes, yes it is Romina!
I recently noticed that I have slight ab separation as my fingers pretty much disappear into my belly button in a very creepy way… so reading this and knowing I’m not alone has been very reassuring! I’m inspired by your mindset, the drive to revamp your wardrobe and ultimately, your outlook on your body! I’d high five you if I could.
If you’ve got a “My body is beautiful because” story to share and would love to be featured, then I’d love to have you. Get in touch and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for some more information.