Having Kids Didn’t Ruin Your Body

Photography: Marijke Smith

By Annie Reneau

At Macy’s the other day, I noticed two women looking at dresses together. One of them held up a cute little number, while the other eyed it up and down, sighed, and said, “Yeah, there’s no way I could wear that now. Having kids totally ruined my body.

Moms say things like this all the time – “Pregnancy/ childbirth/ breastfeeding ruined my body.” And I get it. But at the same time it makes me sad that so many women lament the softer breasts, squishier tummies, and streaky stretch marks that frequently accompany childbearing.

As if such things signify “ruin.”

The truth is our societal obsession with physical perfection has blinded us to the sacred beauty inherent in a mother’s body. Excepting some rare circumstances, pregnancy and childbirth don’t ruin your body. They sanctify it.

And I don’t mean that in an airy-fairy, metaphorical, poetic kind of way. Your post-pregnancy body is literally sacred, because life was created inside of you. Seriously – a whole person was molded and formed purely from the elements in your own body. 

That’s mindblowing.

If you didn’t think of your body as holy before, it certainly became so when it BUILT AN ENTIRE HUMAN BEING PRACTICALLY FROM SCRATCH, didn’t it?

Your body brought a life into the world. That same body you now deride and despise as imperfect, non-ideal – ruined.

A mother’s body, no matter how subjectively imperfect or flawed, is not ruined. It is blessed and holy.

That line of thinking is wrong. Just flat out wrong. Really. A mother’s body, no matter how subjectively imperfect or flawed, is not ruined. It is blessed and holy.

Your thicker-than-you’d-like thighs? They carried the weight of your growing baby and everything it needed to stay fed and warm and safe inside of you. And once your baby arrived, they rocked, swayed, bounced, and strolled your baby into peaceful sleep, just as they did when it was still in your womb. Your legs are mighty and loyal steeds who should be commended, not condemned.

Those arms that jiggle a little more than you’d like when you lift them? Those arms are the warmest, safest place your child has ever known outside of your uterus. They carried your babies when they were still figuring out what their own limbs were for (those same limbs that were formed from scratch inside your body, remember). They scooped up your toddlers when the world became too big for their little legs to handleYour arms are strong and constant protectors that should be revered, not ridiculed.

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