Over the past four months my husband participated in a weight-loss challenge with some of his family and coworkers. He is competitive by nature and is now the healthiest he’s ever been and currently training for a Ragnar. If you are unfamiliar with what that is, it’s essentially a group of sweaty people doing a running relay traveling 200 miles throughout California, while sleeping and following along in a van that would likely have to be fumigated and stripped for parts upon completion.
I am not a competitive person, unless it comes to challenging myself. One of my greatest attributes is that when I want something I am determined; I am driven. So, as my husband began his transformation, I thought long and hard about my own.
I remember, like I can recall spotty segments of a dream, as I was hemorrhaging newly postpartum, I stumbled into the bathroom catching a glimpse of a haggard unrecognizable being. I felt shapeless and disoriented like I was orbiting somewhere up in space, so far away from any semblance of a body that felt like my own. I’d take deep breaths and prod at the doughy flesh surrounding my middle like a life-raft, choking on the irony that no one could save me but myself. I felt overwhelmed by the task at hand. The idea that I had to remake myself after making another human felt as daunting as the process of giving birth.
I put my head down this summer and worked harder than I ever have. I counted calories, attended all the Fit4Mom classes, and my efforts were reflected on the scale, but more so when I looked again in the mirror. My third daughter has brought joy and sparked a fire inside me that inspired greatness. I’m proud to report, I have reached an all-time low and am currently riding an all-time high. See, I realize now that I am not re-building myself because that implies I’m working from the same material as when I started and that is simply untrue. Each of my daughters have changed me so completely that I can never, nor do I ever want to go back to what I was. Every daughter created a foundational brick placed at my core; a component of my soul as essential as the roots of a tree. They helped build me into my best self.
I read something recently where a woman wrote she didn’t get her body back after pregnancy because it was never lost; it was never missing. Amen. I am not seeking my 20-something-year-old-body because it had yet to experience anything miraculous. If my body is a temple, with each miracle, I have built, and built, and built. Ultimately, I have learned that my postpartum journey has little to do with my size and more about shaping my soul.
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