Are women destined for stretch marks, saggy boobs and bad haircuts once their precious bundles of joy arrive?
Is that the tradeoff—hello baby, goodbye body!?
There is nothing more annoying to me than ads flaunting women with their “post baby bodies.” I’m not offended by the actual flaunting, but because it seems to always express a tone of, how did she possibly get back into shape after popping a baby out? She must be super human to be that sexy after a baby.
Does having a baby really merit such awe and wonder as to say, ‘how can a woman still look that sexy?’—she’s a mom for Christ’s sake!
In my early 20s, you would have found me in oversized sweatshirts and baggy jeans. I was self-conscious and awkward with my body. The first time I was intimate with my husband, I made him turn off the lights while I hid under the covers. Agh, what if he sees the cellulite on my thighs? My body was this thing that I felt ashamed of. I judged it, punished it, hid it under layers. I wasn’t a size 6 and that made me feel ugly.
At least when I was pregnant I had an excuse as to why I wasn’t a size 6 and that made me feel more comfortable. I could hide behind my acceptable growing belly.
In that unbelievable, incomprehensible transformation of my body I began to own my expansion. As many women will attest, the body takes over during those nine months and you don’t have control over your hormones, your cravings, the expansion of belly, boobs, butt or even feet.
It’s as if the body simple states, “I’ve got this one. I’ve been doing it for centuries, so just enjoy the ride.”
I found that to be very sexy.
I spent the majority of those nine months sitting on the couch eating blocks of cheese and washing it down with cheesecake. Hey, it was for the baby! I was getting comfortable with my expanded self. It was the first time I actually became aware that my body was not a separate thing. It was mine and doing magical things that I didn’t know it could do. I was starting to fall in love.
After the birth of my first son, I remember standing in the shower touching my stomach thinking, how the hell did I just do that? Yesterday there was another human inside me and now he’s sleeping peacefully in my bed. The immense appreciation I felt for my body was indescribable. How could I ever be insecure about something so magnificent? I was most definitely in love.
As time went on and more babies passed through my majestic womb, I couldn’t help feel even sexier. I had developed a relationship with my body that my young, supple 20-year-old body could never have understood.
My once perky breasts had fed and nurtured my three babies and now hung a little lower, perhaps needing extra support to create an attractive bust line in my low-cut tops, but they had served their purpose. My stomach not so attractive in shoulder stand, but who’s really is? A small price to pay.
When people tell me, “I can’t believe you have had three kids,” I say, “It is because I have had three kids, that I look so good.” I know the capacity of strength and endurance my body beholds. I have confidence that it will not betray me and I will not betray it.
It’s not about how wide your hips get or how many stretch marks appear, as those are simply reminders of how incredible the physical body actually is. Owning your body, whatever size or shape, as the temple for which it truly is, to me, is mad crazy sexy.
Alli Akard is a yoga mama to the fullest. Having spent 7 yeaers in the jungles of Panama, this ‘hippie at heart’ gal truly values the simple things in life. When she’s not teaching yoga or making yummy smells in the kitchen, she can be found having dance party in the living room with her three beautiful jungle babies and Tarzan-esque husband.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel