I was squatting there as I usually do without sinking to the seat. The bathroom door opened and I heard two young feminine voices discussing belts and pants sizes.
“Ugh, my pants keep falling down. I need a belt” said the one I pictured checking herself out in the mirror, as we girls typically do.
“Ya, I’m wearing my dad’s belt today” said the one in the stall beside me.
“I think my hips are too small for my body…” You could hear it in her voice that she was looking for validation that her hips were small. Seeking to be told she was beautiful.
“What do you mean?…”
As the one in front of the mirror proceeded to explain why she believed her hips were too small stating 24/32 measurements, I was astonished at what I heard from the bathroom stall.
Under her breath in the stall I heard her mumble many things I’ve heard before… one line including, “but you have a big butt”, in a way to note there is no beauty there.
The girl in the mirror didn’t even notice and proceeded to explain the beliefs forced upon her. She is beautiful, no matter her appearance, with dark hair, ivory skin and hazel eyes. She is shy, returns a smile when greeted with one and absolutely pleasant… She is also skin and bones of 19.
I closed my eyes, shook my head and exited the stall. I wanted to speak out, but knew in doing so feelings would be hurt and a friendship disrupted between the two. I washed my hands as the girls chatted and carried on with the rest of my day, all the while thinking about my own post-partum body: What society dictates to new moms, and mom’s of multiples…
It’s something said all to often: “Once baby’s born I will get back to my pre-pregnancy body/ weight” I wasn’t too concerned about it, until I heard that conversation and internalized the words. What do they think I look like? What do I actually look like? Am I ugly? Do I need to slim down to fit the rule of being a good mom?
Well I’m here: 6 months post-partum, nursing, stretched out, 15lbs up from my pre-pregnancy weight, thyroid levels ok (no symptoms) and I’m feeling the best I have every felt in my life. And I’m a kick ass, awesome mom to a bouncing, active little boy. Don’t get me wrong, there are days in a month where I’m exhausted, drawn out and can’t handle it as a parent; but I do. I remind myself it’s all ok, talk to my husband/ friends/ family/ soul sistas, and do something for me.
I’ve always struggled with my weight. I’ve yo-yo’d, I’ve cleansed, I’ve tried p90x. They’re all not for me. What works is keeping my head space clear and free: positive affirmations, yoga, long walks, Meditation, journalling and good foods when I can. I feel beautiful everytime I look at my stretch marks and remind myself of what my body just went through in creating, growing, carrying, and birthing my baby. Some days are not so easy with the societal talk; but I honour those days and try to be gentle with myself and remind my partner of the same.
As mom’s and dad’s enter parenthood, it’s hard to not want to fit into societal norms when it comes to appearances; but reality is that it is not a true reality to fit into the norm. Let yourself be happy with your situation and if that doesn’t happen then make changes as needed. Next time you have a bathroom stall moment like the girl in the mirror, remind yourself of who you are and what’s most important to you.