Beautiful Stripes

Have you ever heard a woman say she doesn’t want children because it will ruin her body? I have. Someone told me that when I was about half way through my pregnancy, and it had me worried. This worldly logic seems to pervade thoughts all over the US. When young girls hear people like Jillian Michaels saying that they would rather adopt than put their bodies through pregnancy what are they supposed to think?

When I was pregnant I was so excited for motherhood, but I was also nervous about the changes that were coming. My entire life I’ve heard women lament the way they looked before children. I’m sure I’ve heard it hundreds of times. So many mothers talk about how their body isn’t the same after having children. Almost every single overweight mother I have ever met used pregnancy as an excuse for her size.

During my pregnancy I learned that my baby wasn’t growing well inside my womb. The doctor encouraged me to gain weight in the hope that my weight gain would transfer to the baby. Over the course of my pregnancy I gained almost fifty pounds. By the time it was over I felt like a bloated fish, and I was certain that all those mothers were right. I was convinced that I would never be the same.

Well, part of this was true. I will never be the same. Not one part of me will ever be the same. Motherhood has added deeper dimensions to me in every aspect of my life. Spiritually, mentally, and yes… physically I will never be the same. But that is not a bad thing. Because guess what? Pregnancy DOES NOT ruin your body!

Women’s bodies are made to have babies. That may not be popular, but it’s true. When Heavenly Father designed women he had pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood in mind.

And when it’s all over we are still beautiful, in fact we are even more beautiful. Let me repeat that because it’s important. After having children women are even more beautiful than they used to be. Within six months of giving birth to our beautiful baby girl I had lost all of the weight I gained – just by eating healthy and staying active. I am curvier. I am stronger. I can build more muscle than I could before. My hair is healthier, and I am a tiger who earned her stripes.

I can just hear those of you who know me personally, “But Amber, you lose weight by blinking.” K, that’s partially true. I don’t have to go on crazy diets to lose weight. But you know what else is true? Babies aren’t the only reason we gain weight. And by living a healthy lifestyle we can all have healthy bodies. Oh, and a size 3 doesn’t have to be the ideal. Women come in lots of shapes and sizes and that’s good. So maybe, you didn’t lose those last few pregnancy pounds. You are still beautiful.

None of us had perfect bodies before our pregnancies and none have perfect bodies after, and if we don’t start seeing ourselves and our mom bodies as beautiful what will our daughters see? I don’t want my gorgeous baby girl to think that she can’t continue to be gorgeous after she starts having children of her own. Instead, I want her to think about all of the confident beautiful mothers she knows and look forward to being like them – beautiful mothers who aren’t perfect, but who love their bodies – women who know that their bodies are a precious gift from our Heavenly Father.

Ladies, it is high time we work on the perception that having children ruins our bodies. It’s time we stop using our children as an excuse and start using them as a reason – the reason why we, as righteous mothers, are now more beautiful than we have ever been. It’s time we were proud of our mom bodies, because they are beautiful, stripes and all.

Photo taken by my hubby