I don’t think that anyone can ever quite mentally prepare you for the lasting effects that pregnancy and giving birth has on your body.  Between the saggy breasts, the stretch marks, skin pigment changes, and the muffin top (enhanced in part to three C-sections) that is now your lower abdomen area, I don’t think as a woman I was prepared for these physical transformations, that were in my case an inevitable part of this process.  I in no way mean for this to sound shallow, but rather to point out that for me, as wonderful as becoming a mom was, as a woman I went through a very unexpected almost grieving process when I looked at my body in the mirror.  Quite honestly, when I looked at my stretch marks and saggy areas I didn’t feel some wonderful pride that this was a body that had created life and carried it for 9 months, but rather I felt unattractive and depressed.

What made this transformation even more difficult to process mentally was that no amount of working out, toning, and attempts to regain my pre-pregnancy body were going to fix these areas that had stretched beyond their capabilities; areas that were even more telling once the breast-feeding had ended and the baby weight was shed.  I was going to have to learn to accept and somehow be comfortable with lady parts that had gravitated south and an abdomen that looked more like a rough terrain aerial map.  And while today, almost two years later, I try not to dwell on this and let it define me, I would be lying if I said that I am ok with my appearance.  Almost two years out from my last child I am still not comfortable in my own skin.  Those areas that jiggle and bounce (and shouldn’t – or at least not in the way they currently do now) definitely have impacted my self-confidence as a woman and as a wife.  And the irony out of all of this is that my husband is always complimentary of me and tells me that I am attractive and sexy.  I just don’t see what it is that he sees though I am grateful for his support.  This is an issue that unfortunately is mine.

I jokingly say to my girlfriends who are moms and feel how I feel that it is my firm belief that once a woman is done having children she should be offered a FREE tummy tuck and boob job. Let’s face it, (and I am living proof) no matter how hard we try to get our bodies back into some semblance of sexy and fit, there are some proportional issues along with some redistribution and reallocation issues that no amount of working out is going to fix.  So why shouldn’t we be offered the opportunity to lift the girls and put them back where they started out – north of the abdominal border – before pregnancy and breast-feeding dragged them south.  I want to wear a bra, not tuck them in my underwear for God’s sake.  Why shouldn’t we be able to “re-inflate” them and actually have them look like breasts again rather than sad little conical structures that if you bend over naked actually compress further and hang  like two flat pancakes.  Why shouldn’t we be able to get rid of that muffin top, that in my case is only amplified by my C-section scar.  No amount of crunches are going to fix that, so it seems only logical that a surgical intervention be provided.

So how about it moms…. how many of you share this mental struggle related to your physical appearance? Or if you do not, how have you worked through it if you once did share some of these sentiments?

I want thank http://niagaramommy.wordpress.com for her piece on losing the baby weight – which made me smile (and laugh at its truth) and then inspired me to write this piece.