"It's been 4 years since I've worn these jeans."

And this is what I’ve learned.

This post originally appeared on Mama Bean Parenting.

Nope, let me try that again…

It’s been four years since I’ve worn these jeans.

Much better. Let me explain:

The first of these statements implies that for the last four years, I have tirelessly tried to rid myself of my mummy curves. That for the last four years, I have run, spun and lunged my way through motherhood. That for the last four years, I have become best friends with kale and have dutifully kept track of my slowly-shrinking waistband.

But that simply isn’t true. Here’s what really happened:

I spent my pregnancy eating… at first, just potatoes (before puking them back up.) But then, All Food. I was a pregnant seeker of All Food. Carbohydrates? Mine. Protein? Mine. Fat in every form? All mine. And please, don’t even mention sugar…

Then I spent more than two years being awake.

All. The. Time.

Always awake. Always.

There was no night, there was just being awake. There was no dreaming. There was just being awake. There was no REM. There was just being awake.

The result? An amicable break-up with sleep. Then I started to sleep in tiny chunks. Even... wait for it... in four-hour chunks. Now that was the good stuff. It gave me enough energy to:

  1. Keep my eyes open during daylight hours.
  2. Speak without a stutter.
  3. Cook -- and eat -- hot food.

Ah, hot food. How I had missed you.

And since rediscovering the miracles of REM and hot food, I've been super busy with all of this mummy-ing. I just haven't really been running, or spinning, or lunging. A bit of "omm-ing" on my living room floor, with a toddler mimicking my down dog and pigeon pose, perhaps... but really, there has been zero attempts at ridding myself of that belly. And why should I, exactly? I'm a healthy weight, if a little stretched in places... so I decided to forget about any "extra" weight and focus on just being.

But this "extra" weight wouldn't leave my mind. Not, however, in the way you might expect...

That 'extra' weight was always there.

In the same way that I feel forever indebted to my belly for the life it sustained, I feel thankful to the "extra" weight, too:

I needed that "extra" weight on my ass to stop me from toppling forward from the weight of my pregnant belly. Balance comes in many a fine form.


I needed that "extra" weight to keep me strong during the four bouts of mastitis I would nurse through.

I needed that "extra" weight for staying awake for more than two years straight.

Clever body.

It's been four years since I've worn these jeans. In that time, I've grown, birthed and nourished a human with this ever-changing body of mine. And now, it seems to be in the process of deflating; slowly, steadily and purposefully. Maybe it was just the fact that my brain was coated in a sleepless fog and my attention was lost within my daughter's pool-like eyes... but I found myself just following and trusting in what my body was doing.

Because while I wasn't working out, my body was still working hard:

It was working hard at staying strong and healthy.

It was working hard at making milk.

Making milk.

It was working hard at recovering from a traumatic childbirth.

Clever, clever body.

It's been four years since I've worn these jeans. What a wonderful four years -- I'm not the same woman that I was the last time I wore them. I know that my pre-baby-non-hips never quite met the waistband, whereas now they are bosom buddies, squashed up together. My jeans and I aren't going out to bars anymore, as I'm wearing them to playdates and park trips instead. They feel stronger than before -- I'm not so worried about getting them dirty now.

Much like myself, I suppose.

Because I'm stronger now too -- I've changed. I've grown and shrunk and grown again in every single way possible. I am more than my ass, my waist and my breasts combined. I am Mama. I am everything to one person and that -- for me -- is everything I ever need to be.

It's been four years since I've worn these jeans.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

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This post was originally published here and is republished with full permission. 

Want more? Try these:

Is this the answer to accepting our post-baby bodies?
"Why my post-pregnancy belly is something I'm not ashamed of."

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