Monday, 12 May 2014

Lesson 15: Don't be ashamed to talk about your post-baby body.

According to most celebrity magazines, I was supposed to bounce back to my "sexy" self only months after giving birth.   I mean, Heidi Klum had four kids and she was able to strut the runway just six weeks after giving birth!  The truth is, many celebrity moms have probably had some sort of medical intervention to get back their beach-ready bodies.  Of course, most of them won't admit it.   But who'd want to watch celebrity gossip shows or read tabloid magazines if the women in them were just like the rest of us ordinary folk?

A few months into motherhood, I realized I hated my post-pregnancy body.  I couldn't get used to the way my stomach looked.  Sure, I'd lost the weight, but that didn't help my ripped abdominal wall or floppy belly.  My midsection was as deflated and as puckered as a day-old birthday balloon.  All that loose skin was not going to miraculously retract.  I'd come to the depressing conclusion that my pooch was permanent.  Even my doctor admitted no amount of exercise could ever get rid of it.  

Until recently, I'd hide my naked body from my husband, finding clever ways to drape sheets and PJ's over my midsection during intimate moments.

Getting dressed in the morning was draining.  Even in the crippling summer heat, I 'd layer a gut-sucking camisole under all my tops to avoid revealing the bulge.  Pants were always baggy at the butt because I'd buy a larger size to accommodate the extra skin uncomfortably tucked into my waistband.

After my showers, I'd longingly poke at the skin and pull it back tight enough to give me a flat stomach, even if only for a few seconds.  I wish someone had told me I'd never see my belly button again after 2007.  I would have paid more attention to it while it was around.

I am proud of my body and grateful it gave me two energetic, sweet boys.  There are rare moments when I feel beautiful because of all my body has accomplished.  Yet the battle scars bruised my self esteem, and I wanted them gone!  I've already put my career on hold, sacrificed part of my sanity and given up my full nights' sleep for my family.  But I wasn't ready to surrender my body!   So, after two years of planning and scrimping, I had a tummy tuck.

It's been three weeks and I'm still sore and swollen.  Nonetheless, even this look is better than my pre-op pizza dough belly.  Am I shallow and vain?  Some may think so.  Yet for the first time in nearly a decade, I feel like my old self again.  Goodbye elastic waistband pants and granny panties! Hello jeans, and bathing suits and slim-fit tees.  My confidence is growing, and I know I can resume my mommy role with more self-assurance.  A happier mommy makes for happier kids.  Everyone wins.

Here I am on my honeymoon... with a belly button.   

 Fast forward six years.  That same stomach is holding a nine pound baby.

Before surgery.  Where did you go, belly button?

After surgery.  There's a flat tummy under that T-shirt!



  1. I am so proud of you for posting your photos! Not all of us look like Heidi Klum & are runway ready 3 minutes after giving birth. I wear my mommy stripes proudly, but I know 1 day I will need to do something about it to get my body back too. Looking HOT mama!!! xo

  2. Brave post Val! And Brave of you to go into surgery! But I need to see a better after picture. Lift that shirt!

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