My journey to a “mama bod” started long before I even became pregnant with my first child. Years of fertility treatments did their number. 35 to be exact. That’s how many pounds I gained just trying to get pregnant.
Fertility Treatment Weight Gain
I distinctly remember my dismay when I had to go to the mall and purchase clothing several sizes larger than I had ever worn because it was summer and we were going to the beach. None of my beach clothes fit me. I was working in an emergency department at the time, so scrubs were my work uniform and tee shirts and yoga pants were my ‘day off” attire. I’d been able to ignore the changes until then. I had worn the same size since high school. But that cute fitted skirt? The nice blouse? Didn’t fit anymore. Swimsuit? Nope. I’ll never forget that feeling when I took the clothes to the register. I almost cried. I didn’t feel like myself anymore.
Pregnancy Body Changes
Then came pregnancy. I wasn’t gaining weight because I was constantly nauseous, not hungry. and had heart burn. My thighs shrank while my stomach stretched. I did what my mom did when she was pregnant with me: made my grandmother’s no bake cookie recipe and hoped the weight gain would start. I was anxious about my baby: was my little one getting enough nutrients? Even though my doctor mind reassured me that babies will take everything they need I somehow felt like I was failing us. I also felt conflicted: shouldn’t I be happy I wasn’t dealing with pregnancy weight gain? Maybe I’d get my old body back.
Postpartum Body Changes
Nope. Baby came, healthy and a perfect little bundle of sweetness. I still looked pregnant. And had a new c-section scar. And my boobs were engorged, and painful, and leaked. She developed intolerance to proteins in my breastmilk. I couldn’t eat dairy, eggs, soy, beef (that one took a while to figure out!), walnuts (discovered that one on Passover -Charoset) or almonds. I couldn’t eat anything! She ate seemingly massive amounts. I was always hungry and went months never feeling full. Some days I felt like the life was literally being sucked (or pumped) out of me. She kept getting bigger while I was wasting away. Oh, yeah, but my tummy stayed soft. Boobs deflated. She outgrew the allergies. I reverted to a quasi steady state of “mama bod.”
Acceptance of my Mama Bod
One day while I was internally mourning the realization that I was
probably definitely never going to go back to my old body, I had an epiphany. Or maybe it was just a moment of acceptance. I decided to look at my body not as somehow damaged, but rather as transformed. My body had changed because it was supporting a new life -my amazing daughter- who had grown inside me, and now was continuing to nourish her.
Pregnancy and the postpartum period is an exciting but very vulnerable time. I wasn’t prepared for the roller coaster of emotions that accompanied my body’s changes. These changes are amazing and wonderful, but also forever change your body. I want to help women to look at their body and celebrate those changes. This is why I started my company, Havivah Mama. I want to provide clothes made of comfortable fabrics that complement all of those beautiful mama bods. Women should be able to feel pride and amazement at what their body has done.
-and yes, stretch marks can be beautiful!-
-all mama bods are beautiful-
Just by saying that, and continuing to say it, I hope to change the narrative.
Celebrate those new curves and extra lbs. The soft tummy and the changing breasts. Your body has done one of the most amazing and awesome things a human can do. It brought life to your beautiful baby. And made you a mother!