28 December 2013

"Babies Ruin Bodies"

An Ode to my Postpartum Body.

Before I became pregnant, someone told me, "don't have a baby, babies ruin your body."

It has been over a year since Anabel began her life. This time last year she was a microscopic speck inside of me, and we were announcing our pregnancy. Between then and now, I have gained and lost fifty pounds. Four months after her birth, and my body still carries proof of her existence. 




I have dark pools under my eyes. A valley where my belly button once was. Hips with a new amplitude that my teenage self wouldn't recognize. I have lines mapped across the mountains of stretched skin left over on my midsection. Lightening bolts on my sides proving I once was too small to contain all of the love that filled me. Lines indicating that my daughter once lived inside of me. 

Do you realize the significance in that? Every limb, finger, toe...her heart, even, developed near the very place my own heart beats inside of my chest. Those mountains of skin are all I have left to prove that we were once one and not two. 


How can I be ashamed of that? 





I have so much to say about seeing my grandfather's eyes embedded into the sockets, and under the brows and lashes of her father's. I see the seventeen year old boy I fell in love with, and my grandpa as a child all at once every time she looks up at me. She even wears my ears and my chin. The two very things I cursed having the most growing up. Not much makes me feel more beautiful than seeing tiny renditions of those same features on Anabel, and realizing just how special they are. 

My body grew that. 

Not everybody has that privilege. 

Sure my belly is a bit softer nowadays, but the way it moves when I jump up and down sends my girl into fits of giggles. And yeah, my hips are hardly as narrow as they used to be, but they sure know the perfect figure-8 motion to sway her to sleep. My twenty-one year old hair is even beginning to gray, but not much soothes her more than my hair between her little fingers.


I am not something flawless in the eyes of society, or even close to what I once was physically, but my perfect girl sees me for who I am. 


To her, I hang the moon. 

She knows my heart - she knew it long before we met.

And she loves me for it.






I cannot tell you how much worth and validation I feel because of that truth. 


My body is only a vessel for my spirit. An incredible vessel. It is strong, well, abled, and undefeated. 


My body is full of life. 

My body is powerful. 
My body made me a mother. 


If anything, I was ruined by the world before I knew her, and she made me whole again.



*cue Katy Perry's "Roar" here.*
photo credit: Steven Preusser

433 comments:

  1. This totally made me cry. What a beautiful way to describe motherhood!

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    1. It made me cry....this is just soo true. Ppl say that having babies ruins our bodies. ...I remember when I couldn't get pregnant for 2 years....amd crying every year day I asked God to give me the opportunity to be a mother, that why He would give babies to those who aborted them, and to those that would just complain about how their bodies r now ruined after a baby...that h3 could give me all the stretch marks in the world and I could gain as much weight as He wanted as long as I could get the one l little miracle growing in my belly....and now...almost 5 years later I have a one year old daughter and a 2 yr old son...sure enough God listened to my desire to me a baby but to what I was willing to sacrifice. ..as my body got filled with stretch marks everywhere, and as I ggot many complications through my pregnancy and gained weight when all my life I was skinny. But I dnt complain. ...I really dnt and wnt....cuz I have my babies and I got the opportunity I thought I would never have. And im ready for baby #3!!! I was born to be a mommy to for these blessings

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    2. Beautiful indeed. Love your words, Autumn.

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    3. Stretch marks are beautiful. Jesus Christ still had his scars of love after his resurrection.

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    4. Thank you for that thought Kevin. I have never thought about it that way before. I appreciate your insight. Also, beautiful article. This made me cry too. Women need to hear this more. Thank you.

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    5. sweet, but still stumped on the baby's role in the stomach hair running from the bottom of her navel into her sweatpants.

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    6. I'm pretty sure that's her linea negra not body hair. It can take up to a year for that line to disappear and may not ever completely fade.

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  2. This is so beautiful. I have a few friends who say they never want children because look what it does to your body! But I say I don't care. Being able to give birth to a baby is beautiful and special and I would never say no to it if I am able to have children in the future.

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  3. Aw I love this! I will admit it can be hard accepting our postpartum bodies as mothers but as you said it's a constant reminder of the life we grew inside of us. It's amazing what a woman's body can really do.

    J.

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  4. all of the teary eyes.

    this was beautifully written.
    i love your insight and the way you so eloquently share it with us.

    ♥ ♥

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  5. I've wanted to write a similar post and have had it in my drafts for weeks but I don't think I could word it so well at just over 3 months post partum this really hit close to home home. www.lovebuildsthishappyhome.com

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  6. Beautiful!
    I had such a short pregnancy. I carried my baby for almost 5 months before I knew she was in there. Hiding out. I was planning a wedding , had just moved halfway across the country to marry the man who captured my heart with his words. All along there was a small miracle forming inside. I cherished the last month's of being pregnant to the fullest. I knew I was not going to be able to have another. I felt robbed of the first month's. Then as I got to meet my little love for the first time, I focused on her & our new world together.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience. It really puts things in perspective for me, as I know it will for others. In a world obsessed with body image. It's refreshing to know that having your body change to make another human being is a small price to pay for something not everyone can do.

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  7. My beautiful daughters born 33 and 30 years and now mothers themselves was the greatest joy of my life. Worth every moment of worry, stretch mark, and forever changed body. I love my daughters dearly but my grand children are love perfected. I would not change one thing in my life. Very eloquently written, thank you

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  8. Wow, that was beautifully said. Wish everyone saw it that way. Enjoy her. Thank you for sharing your thoughts from 3girls1apple.com

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  9. incredible. i had my son 2 months ago and this is just so beautiful. thank you.

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  10. bravo, you describe the beauty of all that being a mom is about.

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  11. Well put. I also see it as proof that I helped assist God in creating a miracle. Pretty powerful!!

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  12. This is a fabulous post. It was shared on my FB newsfeed and I clicked through. I also have a four month old, but he is also my fourth child. My body is incredibly different than what it once was, but as you so beautifully posted, it is a fantastic reminder of what came from it.

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  13. this is beautiful! really touching. i'm in the last few weeks of my second pregnancy, wondering what souvenirs my body will retain of growing this baby. what a lovely reminder that whatever they are, they will be beautiful.

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  14. That's how I feel when I look at my little girl.

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  15. I learned when I was 19 years old I would never bare children. Whenever someone says their child ruined there body I cringe. A ruin some woman would be blessed to feel. Thank you.

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    1. Yes I agree, I wrote that in my comment. And that is why I'm more accepting of my body.

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    2. Ditto. I would take a "ruined" body any day if it meant I could have that privilege.

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  16. Beautifully and flawlessly written! I often times look at my body after having had 2 boys and find it somewhat disgusting. I thank you from the depths of my heart for reopening my eyes to see the beauty of a mother's body! The body of a mother no matter the marks or scars is a beautiful temple that only some get the pleasure of growing such a beautiful gift from God within.

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  17. Beautiful article. Society puts too much stress on young girls and they feel their self worth is measured by what they look like on the outside..The love a mother has for her child can't be measured because there is to end to it.

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  18. Very, very sweet. Although babies grow in your uterus, not your stomach. ;)

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  19. I love this!! Power in your words!!!

    Fotini

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  20. This is beautiful. I was one of those girls who wasn't ready for a baby because I had worked so hard to make my lean body what it was. I miss that body and have a hard time accepting the new body motherhood gave me. Words like this give me a new appreciation for my wider hips, my jiggley stomach, the red lines that mark me, the less than perky boobs.

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  21. "If anything, I was ruined by the world before I knew her & she made me whole again." In the two months since he was born, I have searched for a way to describe accurately the way my son makes me feel. These are those words. They could not be more accurate.

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  22. What a blessing to be the vessel that God uses to create a Miracle and then to be apart of watching and living along side of them. WOW!! I am always amazed and in awe!

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  23. This is an absolutely gorgeous blog post. Perfect in every way, I only wish I wrote it myself! ;) after giving birth 3 times in 3 years, I could not agree more.

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  24. As I carry number 4 with three month left to go, this post has hit me right in the heart. My youngest is now 21 month old and I had just gotten down to a point where I was happy with my body from her brother and sister, 7 and 10 years before, when I became pregnant with her. I was younger then, and my body was stronger and only my laziness kept me from getting in shape. I have been wondering these last few months how I was going to to "get rid of" or "live with" the little pudge that is still there from my daughter. Or "how are my boobs gonna look now?" Or "how am I going to get my body back again?" Can I do it a third time? My body hasn't gone anywhere!! Right now it is a vessel in which, at this moment, I am growing a life. One that is only mine for another three months. Then it will one all of it's own. My children have left their marks on my body, for sure. My babies don't care. They know I am my heart, my kisses, my hugs. Thank you.

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  25. This is so beautiful, thank you for writing this. I was actually just feeling down about myself today and how I looked, and this is something I needed to hear. Thank you.

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  26. this is one of the most lovely things I have ever read about motherhood, and the changes it brings. i am a 55 yo mother of four daughters. one that has been a mom for almost a year posted this on her FB. what a loving, tender, thoughtful woman you are...wise beyond your years, and full of grace! Anabel is so blessed to have you for her Mommy!
    Thank you for sharing from your heart.
    Hugs,
    Becky

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  27. This is absolutely amazing and beautiful, thank you so so much for sharing!!! You have know idea how many women you will affect by this. <3

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  28. My babies are now 37,34,32,30, and 28. The miracle of their live is just as precious to me as they were a few decades ago. I am still as intensely in love with my children, enjoying my children as much as I did when they were newborns. If they had not been born, I would still live in a 60 year old body. But I wouldn't have had all these years of love, I wouldn't have grandchildren. Whatever it is that we sacrifice for our children, whatever heartache we may experience, no matter how huge it seems at the time, it is just a little thing compared to the years of joy.

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  29. This was beautiful. Thank you.

    love, from another honest mom
    Jamie

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  30. I thank you for shining light in a dark place for me right now. After having baby #6 in 9 years I was certainly down about my body. This was extremely refreshing to read and be reminded of who I really am, a Mom.

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  31. So wonderfully written! I have carried six one of which is with the Lord Jesus Christ and now our Princess just gave birth to our first grandson, who is our Joy! I cherish betting a mother and now glow with Joy knowing or daughter now has the nation's of a wonderful glow Mark of becoming a mother herself!

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  32. I love this. I thought post partum bodies were gross when I was younger but now that I am a mother and carry the proof of life that grew within me I have a realization that before I was a sliver of my true self and now I am complete in mind, body, and spirit. Motherhood is the ultimate gift of living this life on earth and I have never been a better person than I am now because of it.

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  33. I already wrote to you on your IG but just wanted to write here and tell you thank you for this. You've touched so many people with what you've wrote.

    <3

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  34. Such a wonderful well written story! I am like the only guy who has commented on this lol.

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    1. I was reading this and wondering why there's no comment from the guys? You saved me lol

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  35. This is so smart and honest. Thanks so much for writing it, taking the photos, and putting it together.

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  36. My husband sent me this post to read, and at first when I read the title I was pouty. But then I read your heartfelt words and really saw what he was getting at. You have put to words what is in my heart. I am a new blogger and I really appreciate your honesty and vulnerability in your post. May God bless you and your hubby and your sweet little girl. xo, Chelsea Rotunno (chelsearotunno.com)

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    1. How very sweet of your husband to send this to you! I hope that it deepened your self esteem and caused you a warm feeling on the inside that he must love you and your body for the home that it was for his child/children, too! Special!

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  37. This is truly empowerment for women. We are so blessed be able to have the privilege of carrying a child and giving birth, to be a Mother.

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  38. Love love love this. Hospitals should hand a print out of this to every mother (new or not). What an inspiration. Thank you.

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  39. All women, mothers and non-mothers, will bid good-bye to the slender curves of youth when they reach the silver age of 60 like me. Beauty is the first gift God gives to us and perhaps the first to be taken away. But I glow with the beauty of my three grown daughters, with the love we have shared and continue to share, and with the amazing joy of grandchildren...Oh my, I indeed wear each and every stretch mark with pride. I am woman, see me soar!

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  40. Beautiful tribute to becoming a mother! Enjoy the journey it goes by so quickly!!!

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  41. Very beautifully writen. My daughter is 9 months, and I love her to pieces. She was worth everything, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I rocked her to sleep last night. Usually her daddy does that since he doesn't get to spend the day with her like I do. I sang her to sleep and just talked with her and enjoyed every little second. I didn't put her down right away, because I wanted that time.
    Thank you for this.

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  42. I am so grateful I was able to bear two children. That my body always showed the fact that I, normally around 115 lbs., gained a lot of weight and bore one eight lb. baby and one nine, wasn't always easy to accept. I didn't snap back into stretch-markless wonder after their births. Now, after all the childbearing years have long ceased, I can look at my belly and rejoice over that privilege. Thanks for reminding me in your beautifully written blog.

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  43. What a beautiful piece. I see my sister who came home from the hospital wearing her prepregnancy pants after having her 3rd child and is a size 2 and then theres me who is struggling to lose the last 30lbs from my 3rd pregnancy (my youngest is 10mo). Its hard not to be envious BUT I wouldnt ever change a thing. I have a few stretch marks on my sides and boobs that are a reminder of the miracles God allowed me to have. In the end, we're all mothers with some story. Be proud of yours. :)

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  44. Appreciated reading this. My daughter is three, and I've always thought if my body's changes as a transformation, not as losing something, but this is an absolutely perfect way to say it.

    On a related note, I highly recommended the set of Sahrmann core rebuilding exercises to new moms. Core strength is so important to avoid injury - and, after doing a few sets of these, romantic time with the hubs was so much better, when it was certainly nothing to complain about before them!

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  45. Wisdom...so beautifully articulated by such a young one.... impressive. I hope that you and your daughter have many deep conversations, many fits of laughter! You play in puddles and dance in the rain. You listen to her small talk to cause her to be comfortable sharing the big talks! You've started so well...this motherhood journey! My body has been blessed to be the home for 7 .... 5 living. I wouldn't trade that for anything! You look great and healthy. The stretch marks we cannot change, perfect abs aren't necessary and aren't for everyone..possible for some, of course! Dark circles.....you'll find rest! Just be healthy and enjoy the journey! Many blessings to you!

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  46. Beautiful and so true. How I tried to have children for over 10 years. When a bad car wreck could of easily taken my husband and my life in 2006. I 2007 month of February was very ill everything made me nauseated and agitated was not sure why.
    since it was 5 months that we stopped and our last fertility treatment decided should just take a test + it was. Called the doctor the next day to confirm they did blood test because they knew we had 2 years of disappointment time I got back home from the office and the phone rang Congratulations you are indeed in motherhood mode 8 weeks in fact. I was in shock I had a funeral to attend the same day and I was so overwhelmed with joy and happiness that my tears had stopped and I was confused of to why this day is like this. Well 7 1/2 months later she was born and I would not let her out of my sight. It has been 6 years and some I have beautiful battle scars from her and I look at her everyday and still don't believe she is mine. I know have 2 girls yes second was a surprise and such a miracle for all we went thru I will take what god has blessed me with and will show what motherhood has done to me and continues to do for me. It make me over joyed with happiness and makes my heart smile with the blessing I have.

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  47. This is beautiful and absolutely perfect. I constantly find myself thinking, why hasn't my body snapped back after this pregnancy like it did with the last... I am 26 and I have the body I never thought I'd have, but somehow there's beauty in that. Thank you for the reminder of what every woman needs to hear postpartum. YOU.ARE.BEAUTIFUL!

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  48. So lovely. My boyfriend is a father of two pre-tween girls, and talked similarly about parenthood. It healed the parts of him that were ruined, and nothing looks the same in his life. But the evidence of all that change are the two girls that love me and him boundlessly , and we in return just hope to offer them life to the full through the hands of god.

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  49. Beautiful! Love it! My questions to the beautiful author and all those gorgeous mommies out there: Can't one get the body back in shape like before like all those.models and.actresses out there? Does your husband love you and your body like before? Is he same like before? Im 26, unmarried, an ex-athlete with perfect figure, I weigh 92 lbs with 33-22-34. I love babies and want to bear as many as I could once married but I'm so scared because of all the negative responses I've got to the questions above.

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    1. Some people bounce back after pregnancy. Some don't. It depends on so many things. And no, my husband doesn't love me the same as he did before I had babies. It is a totally different love after you have given life to their children. It is deeper and stronger and more wonderful. I wouldn't go back for a million dollars.

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    2. I truly believe that genetics and age determine your ability to bounce back more than anything else. If you want a good prediction of how your body will react, consult with your mama. mine said the third one is the one that got her, lol. I'm growing my second now and seem to be the same way. As for my husband, I haven't been able to keep him from hitting on me since we were kids, lol.! We're best friends and soul mates and partners in crime. Creating life together definitely strengthens your bond. There is a feeling of awe in seeing pieces of each of you in a new and unique human being. The big difference for us was that after seeing me give birth, my husband had a new respect for what a badass his wife is. He's happy I'm on his side, lol.

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    3. I agree with the above that having babies definitely strengthens your bond with your husband and that often, that only grows your physical desire for each other. Being afraid of having your body age is fairly normal, but while some things - like stretch marks and your boobs not being as perky as before, aren't preventable, it sounds to me like if you love to exercise, there's no reason why you won't be able to continue to be fit and trim after having children. After becoming a mom, it's good to have grace for yourself and realize that looking perfect all the time ISN'T the most important thing, but also that taking care of ourselves- exercising, eating right and showering, wearing clothes that make you feel pretty and makeup - help us take pride in the job we are doing and show our children that while being the loves of our lives - that we still make time for ourselves as well. I hope you are blessed with many children and that your heart BURSTS with love, even as your body changes :)

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  50. What a beautiful post in celebration of motherhood. There are some ladies who would love to have a baby of their own and can only imagine what pregnancy feels like. A true blessing is what it is!

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  51. My son will be 2 in March, and although I've gotten back to my pre-pregnancy weight, my body isn't what it used to be. It shows signs of what it went through. Most days I recognize how amazing it all is, but there are some days when I get frustrated with how my body looks. It's so important to take a moment every now and then and remember what your body did and how your little one views you as their beautiful mom, amazing from head to toe. You wrote it so beautifully!! So encouraging! Really moving! Thank you for sharing!

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  52. I am sad that I can't have a baby... Because... I am a man :(

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  53. Beautiful! I had 2 c-sections and the scars are there to prove it. Before my 2nd child was born I had gone to some kind of home party. A lady made the comment that a c-section was not the right way to have a baby, only having a "natural" birth was. The woman hosting the party said she didn't care HOW her baby was born, all she cared about was one day being able to have one. God bless her, it sure shut that woman's mouth. By the way, how is a c-section not natural? I mean of course having the baby leave our bodies the way most do is one option, but what about for those of us who can't deliver in that manner? I mean I could never have a baby that way as I couldn't deliver properly and both of us or one of us wouldn't make it. I love my kids and thank God for giving our medical people, drs, nurses surgeons, etc the ability to deliver children this way. Think of all those who were lost both mother and child because they didn't have the techniques that they have now. So to me "natural" child birth is a birth where both mother and child(ren) have a chance of making a life together whether the deliver through a channel or a doctor helps them both to survive. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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  54. This is a beautiful description of motherhood and how most of us mothers feel about it without being able to describe it as you did!!!! Beautifully written!!!

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  56. An amazing point. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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  57. I am pregnant with my first baby at almost 40. I didn't think we could get pregnant. I told my dad how happy I was the other day that I started seeing stretch marks. It is so worth it for my blessing of a baby!!!

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  58. This is such a refreshing and positive outlook on the postpartum body! Well said!

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  59. Oh wow. That was amazing. Thank you for for that.

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  60. love this article. I became a mom 3 months ago and at times I do feel like I need to make changes to my body. I cried and realized I dont need to be so hard on myself. :)

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  61. So beautiful! This makes my own blog seem rather trite. Thanks for writing this!

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  62. Such a beautiful descriptive way to take a step back and examine our postpartum bodies!

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  63. Most love the tone of empowerment and gratitude. Thank you for sharing and for the gentle reminder!

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  64. My baby girl is 4 months old, and I've struggled with seeing the way my body has changed and the realization that it will never be the same. Thank you for this reminder that she was worth every. single. change. I am eternally grateful that God chose little old me to grow that beautiful little girl!

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  65. "I see the seventeen year old boy I fell in love with." That's what I think of every time I look at my daughter.

    This is beautiful. Some women wish for scars if that meant they could have a baby. Its a beautiful thing and body changes should never stop anyone from having a baby. You said it so well, you carried a human being in that belly for nine months, a safe haven. As a mother of two I can tell you there are good days and bad. But I would never trade my scars for anything, they tell a story.

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  66. My youngest is now 8 and my oldest is 17. I have just started coming to grips with how my body has changed. I wish society would value the body of mothers more--so that we'd know our hips are supposed to get wider along with our rib cages. All I knew was that my feet might get bigger--which they did and the whole breast changing thing. I don't want to look like a teenager that has never experienced the fullness of what a female body can do. I'm thankful for my body that was able to make 5 babies (even a set of twins!) Amazing. And my boys think I look great, because I'm their mom.

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  67. Perfect. My feelings exactly, now that my daughter is 9 months old. <3

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  68. I absolutely Loved this post!!!! I have not yet had children, but I grew up in a large family. My mother had 11 kids, and I am very proud of that!!! some of you might think good hell that is a baby every year. It wasn't, she spaced her kids out for several reasons. 1 being that she wanted her body to recover, between and during each pregnancy she did everything within her power to eat healthy and keep her body in good shape. 2. my mother has always been a believer that if you can't take care of your kids then you shouldn't have them, (financially, emotionally, etc) which is why she chose to be a home mom. And yes it has been a lot of work to give birth and to raise 11 kids. but it was completely worth it to her. So to all of you mothers out there whether you are going to have 1, 2 or however many you want. Have them, and Enjoy them. Don't let somebody else's opinion and choice change your life decisions :) :) :)

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  69. Sooo well said. Beautiful. Thank you.

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  70. This September I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. She was still born. My postpartum body was all I had left as proof of her brief existence. It was a very sobering thought and for the first time I cherished my postpartum body, every last ounce and stretch mark. Thank you for this post.

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    1. I'm so sorry for your loss...

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    3. Thank you so much for sharing that. You are amazing!

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  71. As everyone has said, this is a beautiful reminder to not let the world and society convince us that our bodies are anything less than beautiful once we have delivered babies. I just delivered my 6th baby a month ago. My husband tells me every single day how beautiful I am and how pregnancy and delivery has only made me moreso. I have not always believed him when he says that, and I can't claim to now either. But I should because, as this article so beautifully states, its true-for me and every mother out there.

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  72. Wow. I am in tears reading this. You are an amazing writer. I appreciate your words and even more your photos more than I can express. I have shared this article with many women in hopes that your words will ring true for them also. Your blog is amazing. I just skimmed it for a half hour, enjoying every picture! You are quite talented. :)

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  73. I'm a mother of eight...pregnant with baby #9. To say the least, my body has done more than it's share of creating life and I have the remaining aftermath to prove it...I sometimes miss the girlish figure I once had, but LOVE more the bond that the motherly connection has created. Motherhood is truly priceless! Thank you for the wonderfully written reminder :)

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  74. Would you be interested in sharing this on DeseretNews.com? I'm a senior Web producer for the site, and I'd love to share this with our readers. You can reach me at eeyring (at) deseretdigital (dot) com, if you're interested. Thanks!

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  75. So beautiful and true! Thank you for sharing this ,3

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  76. We need to get past the idea that babies "ruin" bodies.
    Babies change bodies.

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  77. Great post. But after I breastfed my 2nd baby, my boobs (which were 32 or 34A all my life) became like 36D. And I never lost them like some of my Mommie friends. I sit here at age 59 and I thank my 34 year old daughter for my great, still fairly perky 36D boobs. :-)

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  78. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this!! I just now realized my son and your daughter were born on the same day a few hour apart.

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  79. this brought tears to my eyes ! thank you so much. I am a mother of a ten month old boy...I stare at him every day and can hardly stand the love I feel. you managed to put it all into words :)

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  80. Our baby girls must be about the same age, (my daughter was born June 26th, 2013) and it looks like we have matching stretch marks too! Haha :) I also gained and lost 50 lbs… it's honestly creepy how much we have in common! However, I was looking at myself and feeling like my body is destroyed, while you look at yourself and see how your body is the evidence of a miracle. Thank you for changing my perspective and making my life sweeter and my body something to be proud of.

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  81. Beautiful wise words from one so young. Just had my 5th baby and you have taught me a great lesson. Thank you from deep within my soul.

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  82. She's doing GREAT if she lost 50 lbs of baby weight by 4 months post partum!!

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  83. So beautifully written. Tears. My girls are grown with children of their own. Brought back so many memories.

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  84. Thank you for sharing this! My youngest is 25 and I'm just now coming to accept my body (after 4 c-sections).

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  85. My body was unable to carry a child, but it grew like it did. I to this day am proud of those pics.

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  86. As an infertile woman, I have struggled to explain to other women "why on earth I would ever want to be pregnant". Thank you for answering just that. I know that this will help so many women out there reconsider their perspective on pregnancy and their beautiful bodies.

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  87. So perfectly, beautifully and honestly said! I commend you on your gifted writing, your inspired work and such a young woman with such profound words! I honor you with all that I am as a Mother of 7, four in Heaven and 3 with me. God Bless you and your beautiful daughter, I truly hope that you write a book or something because your talent is rare. You brought tears to my eyes too! Very thought provoking little read and makes me look inward and see my own body for what it is. Not to be looked at with disdain but rather honor as it housed 7 little lives each loved and cherished by me and some known only to me and God. But each had their place in my body, they lived and thrived and this body with now extra weight on it served it's purpose and delivered 3 healthy perfect 9 & 10 lbs babies and 4 that at some point went back to the Lord. I had a blurred vision of what my body was until now. My friend used to say while pregnant (You) are a Goddess in all rights and to treasure it. I'm finally seeing clearer now, that my body isn't awful or gross or bad because I've gained weight. I thought I was at my best as a size 6, but truly my best was while housing a little person. Now I have the right to treat my body to some hard work to gain strength & lose some unwanted pounds. Thank you for the insight and helping my blurred vision.
    God's Blessings on you both,

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  88. I need to read this.....EVERY SINGLE DAY of my life!! So beautifully written! We are truly blessed by our children!

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  89. "If anything, I was ruined by the world before I knew her & she made me whole again"- so beautifully written!
    I too had my first at 21 and I also gained 50 lbs and came away from my pregnancy with bright red tiger stripes on my sides and across my belly and chest. I have since had 2 more children who have added their little marks to my belly and thighs and they truly make me smile. So what if I don't look perfect in a swimsuit or I have to wear supportive hose to smooth my saggy belly? I wouldn't trade my scars for anything. If only I had the insight then that I have now- insight you seem to already have. This is what our bodies were made for and I am so grateful to have a body and bear the marks of three beautiful children. Thank you for sharing!

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  90. Exactly! Well said! My momma stripes are silvery now, was never ashamed of them, never will be.

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  91. This was beautifully written! I shared on google +...such encouraging words for all Mommys!

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  92. Gorgeous. Absolutely stunning and true.

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  93. Every Mommy well every Woman needs to stop and take a minute and read this! Such a precious story of bringing life into this world and the changes that occur in your body while you are pregnant and after giving birth!

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  94. So perfectly, beautifully and honestly said! I commend you on your gifted writing, your inspired work and such a young woman with such profound words! I honor you with all that I am as a Mother of 7, four in Heaven and 3 with me. God Bless you and your beautiful daughter, I truly hope that you write a book or something because your talent is rare. You brought tears to my eyes too! Very thought provoking little read and makes me look inward and see my own body for what it is. Not to be looked at with disdain but rather honor as it housed 7 little lives each loved and cherished by me and some known only to me and God. But each had their place in my body, they lived and thrived and this body with now extra weight on it served it's purpose and delivered 3 healthy perfect 9 & 10 lbs babies and 4 that at some point went back to the Lord. I had a blurred vision of what my body was until now. My friend used to say while pregnant (You) are a Goddess in all rights and to treasure it. I'm finally seeing clearer now, that my body isn't awful or gross or bad because I've gained weight. I thought I was at my best as a size 6, but truly my best was while housing a little person. Now I have the right to treat my body to some hard work to gain strength & lose some unwanted pounds. Thank you for the insight and helping my blurred vision.
    God's Blessings on you both

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  95. At 31 weeks pregnant, it doesn't take much to make me cry, but this was exceptionally moving and beautiful. Thank you!

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  96. I'm new to your blog and I just wanted to say that you have such a beautiful way with words. I went back and read through some older posts and was just captured by every word. Congratulations on your beautiful daughter. This article definitely needs to be shared. I don't have children yet but after losing almost 90lbs myself, I'm sometimes afraid of what pregnancy will do to my body if I am eventually blessed with a child (hopefully this year!). After reading this, it's a great reminder that the outcome far outweighs and love handles or stretch marks.

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  97. so very beautiful! you're an inspiration!

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  98. Thank you.

    Sometimes I forget that we hang the moon. That the world is what ruins us, not our miraculously changeable bodies.

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  99. I want to go in and wake my two year old up to tell her what a miracle she is. As if she didn't already know!

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  100. As a new mom, it's hard to adjust to a new body. Most days I'm ok with it but some days I'm not. Thank you for the beautiful writing and the reminder. My baby girl is worth it all

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  101. This is such an elegantly and beautifully written ode to your daughter and all the young girls. Thank you so much for sharing this. Absolutely precious.

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  102. Just wait until she turns five and asks you why you look like you have been stabbed all over the place, and tells you that you look gross....then explain the beauty of pregnancy and how you did it for her...only for her to say "well then I will never have a baby!". Then when she's 10 she'll tell you that you are flabby, and that she never wants to look like you.

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  103. This was absolutely beautiful I love it. I think it took me a little longer than most to be grateful for my boys, it was constant stress and nothing clicked into place. I was just not a natural and it was so painfully clear in my struggles. I was fat and depressed and just not myself for quite a while. Then suddenly it all started to fall into place and these things didn’t matter any more because they were now everything to me at that point. It is especially hard to deal with all of these emotions and inadequicies when most media showcases new hollywood mom’s and their ability to be back to their fighting weight in 6weeks flat. In all actuality it can take years for things to migrate back to where they were pre-baby, no matter how hard you work at it. Thank you for this.

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  104. Lovely, my babies are 27 and 30 years old and I do not, to this day, regret what my body was put through to give these young men life. Your story captures the entire essence of what it means to be a mother. Thank you!!

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  105. This is beautiful and so wonderfully written. I would love to discuss the possibility or reprinting this piece for our community at EverydayFamily. I couldn't find any way to contact you via email, please forgive me for doing it this way, but this piece would resonate so well with our audience. If you're interested, please email us at blogs {at} everydayfamily.com. Happy New Year!

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  106. I loved this. I agree with everything you said. I have an 8 month old daughter and while I've almost lost all the weight, I have realized that my body will never look like it did before. And I am totally ok with that. I was terrified about my body changing, but I never realized how empowered I would feel after becoming a mother.

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  107. I really needed to read this, thank you so much.

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  108. I am 61 years old, a mother & a grandmother. I remember being pregnant (like it was yesterday) Thank you for posting this !!! BEAUTIFUL & TRUTHFUL !!!
    Thank you !
    HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE ~

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  109. This made me tear up!:-) i had our first baby 2 yrs ago and I am now pregnant with twins due in june and I feel huge some days but I know we r soooo blessed to have these lil ones in our lives and sometimes it is easy to forget what a true blessing children are. But they truly are:-) I can't wait to hold all.my babies in my arms:-)

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  110. You are so wise. I curse my body on a daily basis because it could not do what yours was able to do and carry a child. I am 59 and still hurt about it. Thank you for realizing what a gift you were given.

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  111. Extremely nice writing, when I looked at my first daughter as a Baby, I used to tell her jokingly "you ruined your poor mom's body" she of course didn't understand what I was saying and sometimes used to smile at me, but in all seriousness, I still tell my wife how beautiful she is and how much I love her stretch marks, those are to me the scars of a beautiful battle I would have never been able to fight for nine months and beyond, not to mention she did it 3 times. God bless women.

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  112. This was absolutely beautiful and a wonderful reminder for those days when I do feel a little self conscious. Thank you for writing this and for being such a strong mother. God bless you and yours.

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  113. I would not trade in my saggy droopy breasts, my wide spread hips, my worry lines in my forehead and gray hair for anything. My children helped put them there many many years ago. Who wants perfect, when you can have perfect love.

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  114. This was absolutely beautiful. Since I want children I have definitely thought about how my body will change but it is so worth it. We are so lucky that we have the ability to create something, have something grow and develop in side of us. The man that helps create this child hopefully will see the beauty in it all as well. Lovely writing :)

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  115. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart with us...as a mom of two adult sons, my body is now post-hysterectomy and still "imperfect", but I am so very grateful for the gift of motherhood! As women, we are truly blessed by our heavenly Father...

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  116. I love this! Children are worth so much more than "perfect" bodies. Your blog post reminded me of this article that talks about how to respond when other people talk about the physical effects of pregnancy and childbirth. I think you would like it: http://www.beautyredefined.net/you-had-a-baby-this-is-how-you-get-your-body-back/

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  117. Such beautiful words and photos my dear! I couldn't have expressed it better myself!

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  118. Thank you for this. 2 weeks Post partum today and I really needed to read this.

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  119. Beautiful You expressed everything what is my mind.

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  120. Beautiful post! Couldn't have said it better myself. So wise. xo

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  121. I found this on facebook and really needed it today! I've struggled with the idea of pregnancy for a long time, because of what it would do to my body. I'm now 14 weeks pregnant and realizing my body may never be the same, but I'm also growing to realize what a miracle this is all is. Thank you again!

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  122. Amazing and so incredibly powerful. Sharing with all friends!!!

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  123. i would so love to feature this on A Beautiful Body Project. Please do let me know if we can :) jade@abeautifulbodyproject.com

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  124. I know so many other have said it, but I must add to their voices. It was beautiful. I cried. I needed and will continue to need it as I figure out how to love this new body. Thank you.

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  125. Amazing. And it needed to be said. I really hope UpWorthy gets a hold of this. LOTS of women need this put into words for them.

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  126. This is beautiful and perfect and exactly how I feel. I just had my first baby three months ago at age 39. I had a big squishy belly before I had Henry, and I have a not-quite-as-big-but-still-big and possibly more squishy belly after having Henry. The difference is that I'm no longer ashamed of it. That belly created a person, an amazing little baby boy, someone I love more deeply than can be explained. There's no shame in that.

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  127. Having a baby is pure joy. Having a grand baby 25 years later is perfection that wouldn't exist without the former. No I can't fit into my wedding dress but it doesn't matter. To be a great grandma must be sublime.

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  128. This is so beautiful...and so I feel a little bit sheepish taking any time to point out a typo (but I would want it pointed out...so, here you go. You can find it in this sentence: "I am not something flawless in the eyes of society, or even close to what I once what physically, but my perfect girl sees me for who I am." (once what physically). Please feel free to delete this comment when you're done with it. :-)

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  129. Wow! Wonderfully written. I almost wanted to have a baby myself after reading it, but impossible.. I also noticed no men made any coments.Happy New year to all the Mom's and Dads out there!

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  130. Love, Love, Love, No... more then love this! So true and so powerful. What a blessing it is to be able to grow another human being. I find myself remembering those tiny (and not so tiny) kicks and twists my son used to make when he was in my belly. He is two now and it is crazy to think we were once one.

    Found your blog through a friend sharing this post, you definitely have a new follower! Such a beautiful family you have!

    Happy New Year!

    Leanne @ My Blogged Life

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  131. I feel like I've read most of what the blogging world has to contribute and even wonder what I have left to share myself, but this, this.is.beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing.

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  132. So often one can tell by a person's outer scars that they have a vibrant inner life! Well done, and well written!

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  133. Inspiringly beautiful and I have shared it with mymidwives.com.au

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  134. As I look down at my bursting stomach that is covered with lines and stretch marks, about to give birth to my second daughter in a months time, I am reminded of the fact of what a gift and miracle it is to sustain this precious life that grows within me. So very beautiful.

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  135. This totally made me cry, it is so beautifully written. I'm due in 2 weeks with my second girl and this made my day.

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  136. absolutely beautiful - a lovely reminder of what mothers can do! thank you

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  137. I love this as a Mother myself. I would love this on our Labor and Delivery floor.

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  138. This was so encouraging to me. Thank you.

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  139. Pretty awesome piece, enjoyed reading that! Never thought of our bodies as vessels but I like that and it's true. Good luck to the rest of parenthood!

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  140. Beautifully written. Thank you for the reminder

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  141. Beautiful, thank you soo much for sharing. This really puts it all into perspective. There is no greater joy in this world to me than hearing your child's heart beat inside of you. That first ultrasound is the greatest.

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  142. Thank you so much for writing this! I cried. It touched my heart!

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  143. So true....after enduring years of IVF to get pregnant and have him taken away from me at only 20 weeks, I'd give anything to have stretch marks and flabby skin. It killed me to look in the mirror and see my hips again.

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  144. Being a mom was all I ever wanted to accomplish in life; nothing else truly mattered. Four beautiful daughters later and my goal was met. Not once over the past 19 years have I ever looked at my body with regret. They are my visual reminders that when my girls are grown and no longer in my home, they will always and forever be a part of me. My girls even comment that they hope one day to also be blessed with such a beautiful body as their mom. Nothing means more than compliments from our children holding us in such high regard!!

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  145. Loved this tears streaming as I read. Beautiful. Spoken for all those who cant find words. Thank you!

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  146. Wow! I am 23 weeks pregnant and you made me hope I get stretch marks. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this it made me cry. Not just tears in the eyes cry, but really cry. I am sure you are an amazing mom.

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  147. Thank you for this. I am a prenatal yoga teacher and I spend time each class to have these expectant moms say affirmations and we talk about body image and seeing the positive. I am going to read your blog above next class. It's beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Happy New Year and Namaste!

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  148. That wonderful body that young woman so obsess about is one day going to betray them and breakdown. Then those beautiful children they had will help take care of her and keep that body going for as long as they can! You do not sacrifice your body when you have children, you save it.

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  149. The idea that having a baby "ruins" your body just shows how skewed our society's priorities are. As if the only way a body can be good or functional or adequate is to conform to the ridiculous, demonstrably unachievable standard of beauty perpetuated by a money-crazed and photoshop-happy media. As if that sort of body would last even if you could achieve it. As if chasing that impossible goal is more important than personal growth, love, family, or any of the other pursuits that will actually bring you happiness for your entire life, instead of discontent and insecurity. As if bringing a human being into this world is not worth consideration beside a few stretch marks.

    My worth is not defined by being a size zero or having flawless skin--neither of which I will ever achieve anyway. I am defined by my actions and choices. And my choice to become a mother--twice over, come March--is the best and most beautiful I have ever made. My body is not "ruined" by this. It has matured from the body of a young woman to that of a young mother. Before, it was suited to its purpose of carrying me through college and dating and all the tasks of my early adulthood. Now it is suited to the next era of my life, of holding and comforting and feeding and loving my children. To try to hold on to one stage of life and refuse to progress to the next would be childish.

    I accept that my role and purpose isn't (and never was) to look like a magazine cover. It is to continue to grow--which inevitably means to change--as a woman, a mother, a human being. My goal isn't to look like I never had children. It's to be a better person every day, in every role I have taken upon myself. My body will show the signs of this. I will have stretch marks and wrinkles and grey hairs and sagging breasts and all the markers of age and experience. And that, my friends, is beautiful.

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  151. This is so well written. My daughter is now 9 and she tells me all the time that I am beautiful and I know it has everything to do with her love for me and nothing to do with my physical appearance. Oh, and shameless bog plug: graceandmotherhood@blogspot.com :)

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  152. How could someone say that keeping our body is more important than having children?!?!

    Plus, your body is not ruined at all. You look great.

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  153. Thank you. Just, thank you. More Moms need to here this.

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  154. Powerful. Well written. Beautifully conceived. Excellently supported with photographs. Thank you.

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  155. Such a beautiful blog. Our bodies after birth are amazing. The stretch marks I have I wear proud because their the only physical reminders I have of pregnancy as after my first child I had to have a hysterectomy. So whrn women say they wish they could have a tummy tuck I want to scream and say those are reminders of you r baby in womb.There is nothing more special.

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  156. This brought tears to my eyes. Every mama needs to read this and internalize the message here!

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  157. Love it. So true. Thank you for sharing!

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