When my daughter was just about one month old and I had barely adjusted to my new role...still feeling exhausted, still feeling overwhelmed, still feeling like a stranger in my own body...the most inspirational blog post I have ever read came out. That was over four years ago and I still refer back to these motivating words..."You're a Goddamned Tiger Who Had Earned Her Stripes".
Since the first reading, I have seen these words, this "tagline" on memes and across social media, but nowhere do I see that original blog cited as the source. In fact, I did a Google search for the original post and it did not come up for three pages. Lucky for you...I was so moved by the bloggers words that I turned her post into a handout for my childbirth students and cited the source at the bottom.
Please, take a minute to read that original post and let me know if you are as affected by it as I have been for the last four years...
Our culture expects women to be "Super Moms". Within weeks of birthing a baby, a new mom is expected to be back in here skinny jeans, sporting her perfect hair and makeup and parenting like a pro...
THIS IS NOT REALITY!
Your body is not healed for at least 4-6 weeks, sometime more. Your mind takes even longer to adjust to the new sleep patterns and the new stresses that come with a new baby. This is what I want you to hear, to remember, to be inspired by...
When you are feeling down on yourself, when you are feeling overwhelmed, when you are feeling like you'll never get the hang this parenting thing, when you feel less beautiful than you ever have in your life...look in the mirror. Really look. Take in the changes on, and in, your body. Look at the lumpy, rolling belly...maybe even adorned with stretch marks. Look at your swollen breasts. Look at the bags under your eyes. Look at all of it and say "Thank You".
The flabby and belly and stretch marks are the proof you will carry with you, long after your child has left the nest, that you were once connected at the most intimate level any two people could be...that your blood fed them, nurtured them, your body grew them...this precious little miracle. That flab and those markings are badges of honor so many women would give anything to wear.
Those swollen breasts, which will someday sag lower then you thought possible, are feeding your baby...sustaining a human life in the most nourishing way possible. The milk they are producing is priming your child's immunity and the positive effects from that will stay with them for the rest of their life...as will the reminder of the gift you gave will stay with you.
Look at the bags under your eyes and know that the nights are long but the years are SO (pause to wipe a tear from my eye) incredibly, inexplicably short. One day you will long for those nights filled with snuggles and kisses. You will touch where the bags used to be and wish you could have them back again, even for a few moments.
Say "Thank You" to your beautiful, powerful body that brought new life into this world, that sustained that life and that will continue to nurture that life for years to come. Don't be in such a rush to get back to into the skinny jeans. Take pride in the yoga pants and the messy bun and know that you are doing the most important and rewarding job in the world...and your body is to thank for it.
In Gratitude & With Love,
Lynn Turcotte-Schuh is a Childbirth Educator, Parenting Mentor, wife and Happy Mama. When she is not supporting other families, she loves spending time with her own family on their wannabe homestead. She loves cooking, gardening, all things outdoors and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. The best parts of her day are enjoying simple things with the people she loves.
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