A few nights ago I lay with our little one, scratching her back while she strove to keep her eyes open. Sleep eventually won over. It was a long, sticky, hot, sweaty day filled with tears and tantrums (myself included) and we both were tired. While I lay down near her, she lifted her head to lovingly pat my tummy and give me a kiss on the lips. I didn't tear up.
Okay I did. How could I not? She nuzzled up next to me and proceeded to drift off to sleep, while I lay there, looking at her and then looking at my body. I'm not going to say anything new. In fact, I HOPE I don't say anything new. I HOPE you already know these things or are at least thinking about these things, regardless of whether or not you are male or female.
My daughter is 18 months old. In 18 months, my hips haven't moved back to their pre-baby size and neither has my rib cage (yes, your rib cage expands too. Crazy, right?). They may move back. They may never move back. But oh my . . . the pressure. The pressure to change your body BACK. To move time BACK.
When bringing a human being into the world, especially for the first time, it requires preparation. We make room for baby by strapping in the carseat. We make room for baby by putting together a crib or bassinet, an entire nursery or even just a little nook for their belongings. We move around things in the closet to make room for the stroller and even move around chairs at the dinner table to make room for the highchair. New life requires making room in our relationships, our marriages, our friendships. We EXPAND for new life. We have to make room.
And just as I don't expect my marriage to be the same, my friendships to be the same, my square footage to be the same . . . I sure as hell DON'T expect my body to be the same. Why? Because I've given up? Because I'm going to sit around and watch Netflix and mourn my favorite pair of jeans? Because young moms are unkept and only wear yoga pants while browsing Super Target? NO.
My cartilage, organs, skin, ligaments and skeletal structure made physical changes to grow new life. Just as we made room for our baby in our apartment, bank account, schedule, and hearts, I made room for her in my body. My uterus grew three times its size. It went from a the size of a pear to a watermelon.
(You're welcome mankind)
That being said, new life leaves lasting marks. As it should. This isn't true just for motherhood and babies. This is true for new ideas and new relationships and new ventures. Anytime we enter into new beginnings, we have to make room and more often that not, our lives are forever altered. Sometimes it's drastic. Sometime's it's not. It depends. The same is true for our bodies and our babies and our genetics. Our bones may move back. Our skin might tighten up. But that's not your "responsibility." That's not a problem that needs solving.
The creator of Spanx (Sara Blakely) is worth 1.02 billion dollars. That's a lot of money. That's a lot of money for creating something that "helps women" by suppressing, sliming and shrinking. BUT YOU WEREN'T MADE TO SHRINK. YOU WERE MADE TO EXPAND, both heart and body, soul and mind.
So for the love, EXAPND and rejoice that you have grown. In more ways than one.