I don’t have a six pack. I have a three pack. A three pack of little people who started out as teeny, tiny bunches of cells and grew inside me to become large baby loiterers stomping on my bladder and punching my ribcage before pushing themselves out in the beautiful, gory wonder that is childbirth.
My three pack stretched and pulled my body in every direction and each time it was put back different than it had been before. By the end, they left me understanding completely why “mom” jeans are a thing.
But hey, no worries! According to the lady mags with some Jessica/Kate/Britney Celebrit-adashian on the cover, I CAN get my “body back after baby”.
Here’s the thing- five months post partum with baby #3 and I realized something- I don’t need to get my body “back”. It’s not lost. I use it everyday.
In the past week I’ve lost a pair of mittens, a baby tuque, my marriage license, my running watch, my running watch charger, three pieces of a breast pump, a bracelet, one and a half earrings, a school library book….but my body? Nope- it’s still here.
My body didn’t go anywhere- and it’s actually quite busy.
My arms are strong enough to cradle my babies no matter how long the day has been.
My legs always have the strength to carry them up the stairs when they are tired.
My lumpy belly is a pretty great pillow for cuddles.
And sure, my breasts hang pretty (very) low, but they’ve never let me down in nursing my three littles.
I am no longer creeping toward 40- I am getting there in leaps and bounds. What age has finally taught me is that the flatness of my belly doesn’t matter, but how I feel in my gut does. When the words “muffin top” flash through my brain or Pinterest once again suggests I engage in some form of modern torture that is losing 10 pounds in four days, I listen to my gut and this is what it says:
- Eat the cheesecake! Life is very uncertain. How do you know when there might suddenly be a cheesecake drought? It’s not worth the risk of saying no.
- Train for a marathon- it’s good for you. Plus, you get a LOT more “me” time when you are training for a marathon than when you are not training for a marathon (never admit this to your husband when he questions another three hours of solo Sunday morning parenting).
- Drink red wine. It’s delicious- and, seriously, no one wants you around after 6(ish) without your glass(ish) of “Mommy’s grown up drink”.
- Put kale in stuff (but be reasonable- don’t take a photo of something that looks like Kermit’s insides in a glass and post it with #somuchyummierthandessert because that is #unbearable).
- Let your kids see everything jiggle when you laugh. Make sure they grow up knowing that a body doesn’t need to be perfect to be happy- stretch marks should never be a barrier to real joy (that is what Lego on the floor is for).
- Always push harder. Not because you are aspiring for a look but because you are aspiring toward a feeling and it’s that inside feeling that makes you gorgeous, not the outside package (never admit this to your husband when he questions another shoe purchase).
- Drink white wine (see above). You may have run out of red.
So, unlike my children, I’m going to listen to me.