Does having a baby change a woman’s body? Yes, absolutely.
A younger lady recently asked me a very personal question about my post-baby body that left me floored. I didn’t quite know how to respond in that moment, so I defaulted to a breathless, ‘No, not really’ and left it at that.
She asked whether having my second baby has changed my body in ways that make me not want to wear a bikini anymore, particularly permanent stretch marks.
I put the question far in the back of my mind with flippant inner commentary about embracing curves, earning lines, and never looking back. When I remembered the encounter a few months later, I wondered whether I’d missed an opportunity. What should I have told her?
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Here’s what I wanted her to understand about how her body might change if she ever has the privilege of becoming a birth mother:
1. Yes, Your Body Will Change
I can’t list all the ways – hormones, hair loss, colour changes, dryness, stretching, random pains, itchiness, and visible limit-testing of the thin, strong skin layers. A woman’s body is marvellous, and watching your muscles and organs adapt to carrying and growing another human is the most visceral way to appreciate its phenomenal resilience.
2. Bouncing Back Isn’t For Everyone
Some ladies just bounce and go with T-shirts that read ‘round is a shape.’ It doesn’t matter. Your body is going to look different at some point, but the precious time as a mother to a little soul will be far more important than stretchmarks under your breasts. If you’re lucky enough to fit back into a pair of old, sexy jeans, rock them.
3. Age Might Be a Relevant Number
Almost 10 months of growing a human inside your womb is where it starts, but that isn’t the end for your womanly form. My over-thirty experience has ensured a more challenging second time around, and my body is still expanding, contracting, and very different to my pre-baby days. I’m learning to like it, but I will make intentional moves to change it if I feel differently in the future.
4. Your Body Is a Vessel
That’s the crux of the message, isn’t it? The body carries something that will change your life and there’s typically a price for such a great reward. A little pain, a little scarring, but oh, the love! I thank my body for that every single day.
A stretch mark question wasn’t something I was expecting to hear as I hoisted my baby boy onto my hip and removed beach sand from his inquisitive mouth. A woman’s body is amazing, and some might not show the same wear and tear as others by the time these beautiful children have grown. The heart is never the same, though.
Some day, I pray you will have the opportunity to understand how much respect I have for this body that has taught me what real love is all about.
By BYY Community Member Heather Lind