I’ve started this post about ten times, only to close my laptop each time feeling frustrated that I’m not able to fully and effectively express my thoughts. Postpartum body image is a topic that can be really hard to talk about, and while you can find encouragement and grace in some conversations surrounding it, you can find comparison, pressure, and negativity in others.
I’m almost six months postpartum after my second baby in two years. If you’ve been where I am, you know the struggle of pre-pregnancy clothes not quite fitting and maternity clothes looking like you’re wearing a tablecloth. It can be so frustrating and easy to forget Whose you are.
When I read this post by Kate at Naptime Kitchen (she’s one of my favorite people on instagram) it just resonated with me so much and literally left me in tears. I immediately snapped a screen shot and texted it to my Mama (of course) and I have re-read it several times since then. She says here what I’ve been wrestling with in my heart for months:
“Allow me to be a bit vulnerable with you on this Friday morning.
I have an upcoming event that requires me to wear a dress. A fancy dress. So yesterday I went to my closet to try on my dresses and, not shockingly, most didn’t fit.
Here’s the thing I am processing through: my inclination is to of course write this off with a whole lot of grace. “Kate, you’re 6 weeks postpartum. 6 weeks! It’s a miracle anything fits at all and you’re not wearing a moo moo. Don’t worry, in a few months you’ll be back in all your old clothes and this season of daily leggings and flowy shirts will be a thing of the past. This too shall pass.”
But here’s the thing: if I leave it there, I still place a large amount of self worth in my appearance. What if my ribcage doesn’t come back together? What if my hips stay wider? What if I always have a pooch in dresses and my beloved blue jeans never fit right again? What then?? Here’s where I remind myself that my body isn’t beautiful based on a small ribcage or flat stomach or legs with no varicose veins.
But ah! There’s more…my body also isn’t called beautiful based on it’s ability to birth a child or lift my toddlers and nurse a newborn. These things are very beautiful and empowering, but still, if I base the beauty there I am left lacking. What if I never birthed a child or couldn’t nurse? What if I faced an illness that rendered me unable to lift and play with my little people?
The basis of my beauty, and I’ll have you know I’m #preachingtomyself more than anyone, is Jesus. God looks down on me and sees beauty not because of abs of ability, but because of His Son. His son who “had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” came and died to make us beautiful.
When I search and see my worth there, there is freedom. There’s freedom to have toned arms but also freedom when they are squishy. There’s freedom to seek after health for the sake of my body being used for the Lord, but also to be ok with its limitations.
I can wear the fancy dress, jeans, or bathing suit whether my stomach be flat or flabby, because He who made me has called me beautiful in Christ.”
What a beautiful reminder of who we are in Christ! I hope that in sharing this, I’ve encouraged you today, my friends. Let’s focus a little less on fitting into those pre-pregnancy jeans and a little more on who we are in Christ. Besides… I’ve always preferred an easy little dress over jeans anyway… wrinkles and all (insert wink face emoji)!
Speaking of dresses, this pretty little teal dress is only $51 (with free shipping) and it also comes in a beautiful, rich burgandy color. I’m looking forward to pairing it with tights, taller boots, and a cardigan when it gets cooler. All-weather dresses like this that can be dressed up or down are always my favorite! If you didn’t know, PinkBlush clothing is intentionally designed for before, during, and after pregnancy and if you aren’t pregnant, you can shop the Women’s side of their site here.
The dress featured in this post was provided to me by the PinkBlush Style Ambassador program, but as always, all opinions are my own.