I saw a photo of my pre-baby body the other day and I just gazed at it. It was toned and in shape. My facial features were more distinct. The size of my jeans was a size I haven’t bought in years. Even one of my kids chimed in and said,
“Mom, that was when you were skinny!”
Nothing like a child telling you the truth. And I just sighed and envied who I once was looking back at me. I don’t quite look like her anymore. Having four babies back to back, I pretty much lived in my maternity clothes. I enjoyed my pregnancy cravings and ate one too many bowls of moose tracks ice-cream in the Texas heat.
But here’s the truth about it all:
My pre-baby body didn’t birth four human beings and labor through the pain for hours.
My pre-baby body didn’t know stress, anxiety, and depression like it does today.
My pre-baby body didn’t know the true meaning of sacrifice, sleepless nights, and sugary cups of coffee.
My pre-baby body didn’t understand the real struggles of other moms corralling their kids in grocery store aisles.
My pre-baby body didn’t carry a human being for nine long months- acquiring purple and blue varicose veins, stretch marks, and extra tummy pudge.
My pre-baby body didn’t know how much I’d need fellow mom friends in the trenches with me for support and encouragement.
My pre-baby body didn't understand the sacrifices my parents made for me and my sister growing up.
Would I trade my mom bod back for my pre-baby body? I don’t think I would.
Don’t get me wrong, being smaller again would be great and I'm aiming to be healthier and more aware of what I eat. I’m striving to fit into a smaller size pair of jeans. I often feel self-conscious when I go running in our neighborhood and feel like my stomach is jiggling like JELL-O. I wonder if people are staring at it. I want my wedding ring to fit better than it does, too.
I think about my health every day BUT...
The body I have now has been through the wringer in motherhood. It bears the marks- the battle wounds of emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual challenges and joys. It is not who it once was. It will never be the same.
My body is now stronger from the aches, pains, and adversity. It has more courage than it had before and I’ve lived to testify about it. When I look into my children’s eyes each day, I remember that God gave my body the ability to birth them into this world and that’s a pretty incredible miracle.
My pre-baby body didn’t know love like my mom bod knows now, either. And I’m learning to love it a little more each day and not be so hard on myself.
Read more from Samantha in her book: Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches
Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. Her writing appears regularly on Her View From Home, TODAY Parenting, and For the Family. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.