I told her about women I know who have been mortified that their bodies actually changed after giving birth. In their eyes it has changed for the worse. Stretch marks, sagging breasts, wider hips, flatter bottom, etc. etc. etc. Do these things happen to women's bodies by carrying and birthing children? Absolutely. But what made me slightly annoyed was not in the fact that these women knew their bodies would change, it was that they were mortified about it.
I told my young friends that when we choose something as monumental as giving birth, we need to expect changes. I mean, hello! There is a human body growing inside of you! It's not meant to be non-invasive. It is sincerely invasive.
Our society has a bazillion things meant to aid these mothers in reclaiming their former bodies. Creams, tummy tucks, breast lifts, fad diets, etc. The obsession is commonplace. It's expected. Women moan about stretch marks. We laugh about "going south."
After having five kids (if you didn't already know it), my body is kind of a wreck. I have all of the above symptoms, but I have something even weirder: because of my short, short torso (I have really long legs) and my seemingly ability to produce very large babies, my ribs have been permanently deformed. They have been stretch outward. It's kind of weird. But the doctor said it's impossible to fix. I will always have a funny-shaped rib cage.
I told this young couple that having children is supposed to change our bodies. Nursing our babies also changes our bodies. The myths:
1. Nursing makes you lose weight faster
2. Nursing doesn't make your breasts sag
1. Nursing helps your uterus constrict faster, but doesn't do anything for belly fat. In fact, I (and many other women) hold onto 5-15 pounds of weight until I am done nursing.
2. Nursing makes your breasts constantly change size. Full of milk, no milk. Full of milk, no milk. This happens several times a day for however long you nurse! Of COURSE it's going to change them!
But here's the cool part: Who Cares!?!?
Giving birth is not meant to be some kind of fad or fashion. It's the act of giving life. A new life. I'd be a liar if I didn't say that I'm somewhat proud of the war wounds I've accumulated in my effort to bring 5 healthy children into this world. However, do I sometimes mourn my former body? Yes. But not for long. Because going there just brings despair (dude! I like that little ditty. I may patent it).
The last (and most important part, I believe) thing I told this young couple was that one day, he will be out of shape. He might even gain weight. She will have all the marks of childbirth, and she'll get wrinkles and grey hair. He will also get old. They will grow old together and the beautiful part? They will still love each other. They will still love each other's bodies. Brandon and I have been through so much physically over the last 11 1/2 years --and it hasn't changed our love for each other. If anything, it has solidified it. We are more than our bodies.
Go read this post and watch the video. It's a great reminder of what we are supposed to be obsessing about. In a very healthy non-obsessive way. :)