2.24.2012

jillian michaels fit i am not. but if i had to choose, i would rather have my baby boy... with flab and stretch marks to show for it

for in the picture {one}


for in the picture {two}

it's simple, really. since giving birth to le bebe over eight months ago, i've had to come to accept that my body will never quite be the same as it used to be... sometimes reluctantly. but fully, none the less. i don't just say so from a body shape perspective. there are other things besides shape that have changed by having a baby. for instance, between four and six months postpartum, i lost SO much of my hair {freakin' hormones!}, especially around my forehead, and it greatly affected {thinned out} my hairline... so noticeably that, now that it is growing back in, i look rather funny... all these short little hairs sticking straight up. i don't care, though. i'm just happy they grew back at all.

i don't mean to paint a picture that i was any kind of runway model before i had a baby. and whether i was or wasn't is not the issue. it's more about things changing from how i have always known them to be. i've never been big on change. so having been accustomed to so many things about myself and seeing them change whether i wanted them to or not was/is not always easy. there have been times i did not feel like myself... not comfortable in my own skin. and i'm just now getting around to being used to the new me.

so i chose to write out how i really feel when it comes right down to it... literally write it out, right there on the part of me that changed the most. i had quite the basketball belly before issac decided to make his entrance into the world. so it's not a surprise that it would not quite bounce back to what it was.

for in the picture {three}

an easier-to-read view
for in the picture {four}

there are some that might think, "why would you even weigh the two together... the value of having a child against the cost of the physical changes it imposes?" well, truth be told, i found that the bliss and ecstasy of having your own baby makes you blind to any negative feelings in the beginning... anything like "ughhh, i feel so large 'cause i don't fit in any of my clothes!" or "boy, do i look tired when i don't sleep much for months on end!"... even "yikes, i'm going bald!" but after a while, when the day-to-day sets back in, the blinders fall off and you start to once again recognize your appearance. again... it's less about what i look like, and more about how i feel. and i just don't feel myself... my old self. i guess that's because, in reality, i'm not.

of course, this is nothing new for the plight of a mom and the sacrifices she makes {of which the apprearance-related sacrifices are the least}... literally giving up her body for another. but it's new for me. and at forty, i think i'm not bouncing back the way some of my younger friends have after having babies... even after a second or third! and i don't have the luxury of being pampered like some of the celebrities you see who look exactly the same a few weeks after having a baby as they did before.

so i'm learning to embrace this new me. in a society where women are ridiculed for having "mom butt" or "teacher arms" {you know... that flabby, jiggly flesh on the underside of your arms that wiggles when you wave? ohhhhh, yes... i have it!}, it's difficult to look at myself and say, "you're just fine the way you are. this is how it should be." i have to force encourage myself to be content {even happy} with the new me and accept the changes. all so much easier said than done. 

don't get me wrong. i don't excuse myself from living a healthy life. i need to eat healthy and exercise more than ever before. and not for my appearance, but for my level of energy and strength to raise a son. so embracing is different than excusing. and i think that is where lots of women get hung up after a baby... the ones who slowly let themselves go. i hope i won't embrace so much that it becomes laziness. i could see that happening so easily with me.

i look forward to the warmer weather, when this will all look a little different, because i'll be more active again, and no matter what the clothing sizes say, i'll just feel better. {by the way, i don't own a scale, and never have. i'm not obsessed with a weight number. it's simply that i don't feel like myself, and that is bound to happen when you can fit in only about five percent of the clothes you wore a year and a half earlier.}

well, i had not meant to write so much. i know it's probably difficult to see just where my thinking ends up in all of this... am i okay with the new me? or am i not so much? i'd say, a little of both. even when i'm not okay with it, i know this... my comfort level or lack of comfort in my own skin is worth it. i would not trade what caused this new me for anything in the world. and quite frankly, i would do it all again and again.

like i wrote on the photo above, the minute i saw christy's prompt for in the picture in february at the beginning of the month, this immediately came to mind. now, today is the link-up party on her blog, and i had to scramble to quickly get some self-portraits done for it, so i threw it all together at the last minute in order to participate. but the thoughts i've written have been on my mind a lot longer.

i know that the majority of you who read are women, and i'm guessing several of you are moms. so i'm curious how you got through this part of being a new, first-time mama. i'm guessing i'm not alone.

. . .

you can see more "write on" themed self-portrait work from other participants here.

In The Picture

33 comments:

Leanne said...

What a great idea, love these words & images!

Lori Moon said...

Georgia - I am in love with your photo. Absolutely beautiful the photos and the sentiment. Thank you for being brave, following your heart, and sharing.

Susan said...

Never having had children it's hard for me to wrestle with where you're at, but I can appreciate it. Time does the same thing-but without the gift of a child.
I think your images are very creative and very brave. Congrats on being a mom. Likely the toughest job on earth. Enjoy your boy....my friends tell me the time goes really fast.

Deborah L. Tisch said...

This is a beautiful post, and I wish every Mom could read it. You have expressed so well in your photo and in your words how important it is to accept how our bodies change when we have had a child.

It was tough for me with the first one...back in 1976! I remember trying to find pants that fit, and really being frustrated. We had very little money and I was too scared to ask if I could buy something new. I wish I had planned better for the bodily changes that I knew were inevitable.

Kimberly June said...

Sweet. Absolutely true and beautiful!

Stacey said...

Ah....yes.... You will not believe the awful stretch marks I got from Eli. And my belly button...it's like a dark cavern :) And my legs....oh my legs. The varicose veins and so so bad. I will never wear shorts again. But it's okay. Like you said, it was all SO worth it. I think it's okay to grieve the loss of the body that once was. But then moving on and realizing that it was all for this wonderful purpose. :-)

Pieces of Sunshine said...

So worth it and you are still beautiful, even more beautiful, bearing the marks of living and giving.

ZeldaMom said...

Very nice.
I lost all my weight and was fit and active after the first two...after my third, my thyroid decided to sloooww waay down. So, I lost most of the weight, then slowly gained a bunch. It was a lot harder to get actual exercise with three kids too, but even the extra weight couldn't compete with having my three wonderful children.
Now that I have time to exercise, I find that the call of technology is stronger than the call to be thin. tsk, I have Lots of excuses. Hahahahaha

urban muser said...

these are beautiful shots! i love that you got an idea in your head and stuck to it by executing it weeks later. it paid off. thanks so much for linking up at {in the picture} today!

Kim Stevens said...

Oh Georgia, yes I can relate and my babies are going to be 17 and 15!! Both big babies, 9 1/2 and 10.7 lbs my body...no it will never be the same and on top of it I had two c-sections. Now, I'm going to be 50 this year and in menopause I feel nothing like myself....at all. It's kinda like being pregnant and post-pregnancy times a gazillion! lol

Wonderful post and beautiful photos!! Thank you for sharing with us

brandy-son Zen master flash said...

This was simply lovely & encouraging, thank you!

pink sheep said...

beautiful! thank you so much for sharing...both your photos & your story.

Zinnia said...

An original photo with writing on your tummy! It seems you worked through a lot of stuff too, thanks to the photo. This self-portrait exercise is deeper than we first realized. It allows us to work through issues that we sometimes didn't know we had!
I had three babies and am now a grandmother... so now I'm coming to terms with another part of my life. Getting used to my new older face and body as time goes on, which it inevitably does! However, we are not just our bodies, are we?! We are so many other things besides.

georgia b. said...

thank you, all.

zinnia, i couldn't agree more... we ARE so many things besides our bodies. in fact, i believe our bodies are merely a shell that our true selves live in. and trust me, i often talk about those many other things that we are all about on this blog. but being that this was a self-portrait "assignment" to write on ourselves, and given that it came at a time when i am thinking about this issue for me {just like you are thinking about your outer shell with the changes you are experiencing}, i made this particular post about the outer shell. it's almost like it's just something i needed to get out... and now, i'm done. not really complaining, but merely being honest about the fact that i struggle with the changes, even though i like to think that it's the sort of thing that would not bother me. and then, expressing gratitude about how glad i am to have those changes because of what they mean, no matter how difficult of a time i have accepting them. thanks for your thoughtful comment.

michelle gd said...

your images and writing...wow. beautiful and from the heart. so much of what you've written resonated with me. from the loss of hair to growing into new skin. like you, i would do it all again and again. being a mama is probably the best thing i've ever been able to do in my life. i consider it a huge blessing and honor. how to handle being a new mama? i was hugely obsessive in my early days. after 10 years of mama hood, i've learned to relax into things a bit. i'd say just keep on with what you're doing. the fact that you can express yourself the way you've done so here speaks volumes to your intuition and being-ness. as far as i can tell, you're rocking' it!

and P.S. thanks for the thoughtful comment and link you left on my blog...can't wait to check it out!

Bridget said...

Oh Georgia - I feel you. My 'baby' is 5 and I'm still trying to get back to what I once was:) Having said that - I think that for me having kids made my appearance seem less important for some reason. Don't get me wrong - I am still forever trying to lose weight! But my self esteem is no longer based on it - the way it was when I was younger. Now my self esteem is boosted when someone tells me what kind, polite kids I have. But being a size 6 wouldn't hurt:) Great shot and post!

georgia b. said...

very interesting comment, bridget. i totally understand what you mean about self-esteem. in fact, unlike you, i didn't base my self-esteem on my looks before i got pregnant, because i never really felt unhappy about them. well, that's not true... i did in high school. but after that, i changed how i saw myself. but that is exactly my point. when so much about me changed as a result of having a baby, i didn't feel as comfortable with myself anymore. i was not perfect before, but i was who i was for a good 25 years, and i was used to that and comfortable with it. then things changed, and i feel less comfortable... but i wouldn't even say i have a low self-esteem because of it. in fact, that was the point of this post. when i look at me now, i realize i'm different, and i don't necessarily feel comfortable with the differences. but i do embrace them, because of what they mean. and if anything, it actually boosts my self-esteem. but in order for it to do that, i have to cause myself to remember why i have changed... and then it is all in perspective once again. i guess that was what i was trying to say, but maybe didn't say so well. =)

and i quite agree with you... if someone compliments my son about his manners or disposition or behavior, or if they say how adorable he is, that is far more invigorating to me than getting a compliment that i look nice in a size 6 dress or something like that. it's a huge affirmation to what i'm saying... that it was all worth it. thanks for your thoughtful comment.

Michelle said...

Beautifully done and wonderfully said.

Mom Photographer said...

... and you're guessing right. I felt the same way after my little one was born, although I have a scar from cs which will get even bigger in a few months after our second is born.
It is sick what today's society makes from strech marks or a little bit flappy body here and there. It makes so many women unhappy and depressed. It shouldn't be that way. There is so many women not wanting to have kids because they are afraid of how their bodies will change or if they get pregnant they suffer all the way through the pregnancy(dieting and exercising) and after the baby is born.
It's sad!

You're beautiful and you are wise. You'll be a great mother and a great role model.

beth said...

i LOVE LOVE LOVE this post !!
xxoxoxo

shirley said...

First of all, congrats on being a mom, one of the most unselfish roles and most important roles in society.
Secondly, you are beautiful. I love how you expressed your beauty through your photography and words.
Thirdly, there will be a day, sometime in the future, where you will have the time and energy to focus on your body again, if that is what you want. There is a time for everything. Right now, it's time for you to raise your son. The rest will come in all due time.

georgia b. said...

thank you, everyone!

after all these thoughtful comments, i'm so glad i decided to go ahead and publish this post.

Faith Hope and a whole lotta Love said...

beautiful & so true xx

Farmgirl Paints said...

Love this. Your blog is like an onion...lots of layers. Beautiful work. Oh and it is worth it. My tummy will never look the same, but I'm never going to be the same either.

Farmgirl Paints said...

Love this. Your blog is like an onion...lots of layers. Beautiful work. Oh and it is worth it. My tummy will never look the same, but I'm never going to be the same either.

Farmgirl Paints said...

Love this. Your blog is like an onion...lots of layers. Beautiful work. Oh and it is worth it. My tummy will never look the same, but I'm never going to be the same either.

Zena said...

Beautiful post and photos, you´re not talking about weight, you´re talking about being in the moment just as it is... just as we are and love what it is... love who we are.

Zena said...

Beautiful post and photos, you´re not talking about weight, you´re talking about being in the moment just as it is... as we are and love what it is... who we are

kbreints said...

Beautiful!!

Becs said...

I love this, such a great way to express your feelings. I felt exactly the same way after I had my daughter too - my body was kind of the physical manifestation of all the changes that were going on (if that makes sense?!). Anyway, I love how you did this and your accompanying words.

gina said...

I agree that the body changes from childbirth are so worth it! I have two daughters and they both just had babies! What joy! Our bodies change anyway, so we might as well not worry so much about it. It sounds like you have a healthy attitude. Very original idea for your selfie!

Stephanie said...

This was such a beautiful and meaningful way to capture this month's challenge. It's amazing what a woman's body can do. I think you look absolutely lovely!

Leah C said...

Oh so beautiful and brave!! Your self-portrait photos are gorgeous, Georgia! Like you, my tummy will never be the same...but having my girls made it, like you say, all so worth it. Even now, when my "babies" who are teens squeal in "horror" at the sight of my belly, I still wouldn't trade them for a picture-perfect body {not that I had one to begin with}!