There Will Be No Snapback Here

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It’s been seven months since I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. A wrinkled, scrawny, tiny, screaming, entitled little blessing. My third baby. My third time bringing a human life into this world. Third C-section. Three times, my body has stretched itself to accommodate another life. For the third time, my boobs have been converted into a baby food manufacturing plant. And so, at this point, seven months post-partum, I find that I am still sharing my body with my child.

Looking back on my first experience with motherhood when I had my daughter nine years ago, one stark difference stands out to me between that me and who I am now. See, first time around, I was determined that by the time my baby turned a year old, there would be no visible, physical evidence that my body had ever carried another human. “Snapback goals,” I believe social media eloquently called it.

Inevitable life changes and challenges (read: a numbing cocktail of sleep deprivation plus general laziness) didn’t allow me to quite reach my goal, but the obsession with forcing my body to pretend that it had not created and nurtured life made me miserable.

I feel sorry for that me because now, I look back on those days, and I see how beautiful she was. I wish she had known that and embraced every stretch mark, every bump, every lump left by the experience of bringing forth life! Right now, I don’t want to look like my children never came out of me. This body is part of the entire experience! It’s a sort of evolution, you see. My body is not something broken that needs to be fixed. It is something that is changing as I grow into each new phase of my life.

I know now that there is no glory or satisfaction (for ME) to be found in my slimmer, firmer, 25-year-old body, because I lived in it when I was 25, and I didn’t much like it then either!

Am I saying there is no need or want for self-improvement? Absolutely not! What I’m saying is, there is no shame in looking like I have had three babies…because I’ve had three babies. In the same way, there should be no shame in looking like whatever experience has led you to wherever you are now.

I’m pushing myself to be better. Not better like I was before motherhood, but better like how I want to be today, and tomorrow, and the day after that. I’m looking forward now, not back into the past. I want to feel like, look like, and be the best mother of three that I can be.

I’m taking my time and embracing this journey for which I don’t really have a destination. I don’t ever want to stop growing and improving, and so I cannot afford to attach my happiness to some ever-elusive goal.

My goal is to be happy NOW. Happy with the choices I make today. The result of those choices will not be visible today or next week. There will be no magazine-worthy snapback here. I’m hoping to keep on evolving and improving while moving forward…always forward…with this beautifully imperfect body that has tolerated my misuse and ingratitude and given me the three most precious gifts I could have ever hoped for.

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