I would like to redefine the meaning behind the idea of a mom “getting her body back” after pregnancy from the goal of returning your physical appearance to pre-baby status to reclaiming your body as your own after it has been stretched, torn, cut and stitched….. after its been engorged, raw and leaking…….and after its been up all night and keeps on going the next day to tend to those around you. After you might feel betrayed by your body because of a birth that didn’t go as planned and/or because your body didn’t produce enough milk to feed your baby. And after your partner looks at you with those eyes that he or she wants your body too, needs your body too. There is a feeling that your body isn’t you own……your body grows and births babies, it feeds babies and it is what your partner needs to feel connected.
When is your body your own again?
Pregnancy, birth and early motherhood is a time where so many women feel disconnected to their physical selves. The longer this state remains the higher the chance of physical injury and emotional discontent. What moms really want is to feel that their body is truly their own again and this independent and separate from what one’s body looks like. This is a feeling, a sense that you have ownership over your physical self.
Getting your body back doesn’t mean that you look like you never had a baby. Getting your body back means that you can be aware of your breath as a form of reconnection, that you can engage your deepest muscles that wrap around your pelvis and spine so you can stand tall when sometimes you feel like curling into the fetal position because you are so, so tired; it means you are in control of your body’s movements because you want to feel some control in a world where you have to surrender to those 10 little toes and to the demands of a toddler who doesn’t want the blue plate. When you fully reclaim your body as your own again, you feel at home in this new body of yours, you feel connection to your strength and you are confident that your body can perform at the level it needs to; lifting, bending, holding, rocking and sprinting across the street after your toddler that doesn’t stay close.
The look on a mom’s face when she reconnects with her body, when she feels her deepest stabilizing muscles activating on her command, is my favorite moment. Sometimes this moment is obvious and comes with laughter and outbursts of “OMG I still have muscles”, sometimes it comes with tears as a mom breaks through the belief that her body is broken and sometimes this moment is quiet and observed only as a deep concentration as she feels sensation of muscles under her own fingertips. This moment is magical for me to witness and I feel so honored that I can guide and usher a mom through this reclamation. Because it is in this moment that a mom reconnects with the essence of her amazing body and in that reconnection she reclaims her physical body as her own again. She starts to rebuild her confidence that her body will and can be strong again, she starts to trust that her back pain will go away, that she will be able to run again without leaking urine and she can say “this body is mine”. When we reclaim our body as our own again, we will show up in the world more fully for our children, our partners and our community.