Opportunities to hold Lewis while he sleeps are few and far between these days as we work on getting him to sleep on his own in his crib. But on the rare occasions it still happens (like today), I soak it up. I know to many he is still a little baby, but to us he seems so much bigger every day! Because when he lays on my chest, I think of how not long ago, he was such a very teeny tiny baby who found such solace from hearing my heart beat. And how not long before that when I was still pregnant, I was all he knew.
As he laid on my chest and I reminisced about how far he has come and how far we have come together, I started to think about bodies. Josh and I have had plenty of conversations about how unfair various aspects of motherhood vs. fatherhood seem, many of which are because they take their toll on a woman's body physically. Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding...each of these by themselves is not for the faint of heart. But pile them on top of each other one right after another and it has the potential to lead to some difficulties.
I've never really struggled with self-image or body image save a short stint freshman year in college when I thought I was fat thanks to a stupid personal trainer. I worked out a little too much, went on a cabbage soup diet, and then was thankfully saved at Thanksgiving when I remembered how much I love real food. But I've pretty much always worn the same size of clothes and could most of the time walk into a store and find something that I liked on me.
After having Sloane, there were physical aspects that were devastating that I've mentioned previously, but I had the luxury of being able to run as much as I wanted anytime I wanted. This was crucial to my healing and recovery, plus as I worked hard, I was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy size relatively quickly.
With Lewis, while I have this sweet babe to hold in my arms, I am more limited in how much I can exercise and when I can exercise. Added to that is the cumulative effect that pregnancy and childbirth seem to have on most women--the second time around your body changes even more and it seems a little more permanent.
So I've found myself on a bit of a journey with my body in the past few months. I will always carry with me the emotional and physical scars from the births of my two babies. But I don't mind the C-section scar, and I really don't even mind the stretch marks. The hardest part for me has been having that pile of clothes that I love in the back of my closet that juuuuuust don't quite fit. And walking into a store and not loving everything that I try on, but having to be more strategic about how to dress this strangely new curvier body I now have.
A lot of days, getting dressed, looking in the mirror, and not recognizing the image looking back at me can be frustrating. But then there are those now-rare moments when I get to hold that sweet baby boy while he's napping, and with his head over my heart, our bodies still seem to fit so comfortably together and I know I would do it all again. The heartbreak, the waiting, the tears, and now the bigger clothes and different body...I would do it all again to have this little boy asleep in my arms. I know I won't be able to hold him like this for long. As he learns to crawl and move more on his own that distance between us will grow more and more and our bodies will feel less comfortable together than on their own. So I will work on soaking up that feeling and remembering the great and wonderful things my body has done for me and my babies.