Postpartum body image (and body image in general).

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This might be one of my favorite images of my daughter and me, taken by my husband hours after we got home from the hospital. This image represents the most emotionally intense and beautiful few days I have ever experienced in my life. I’ve never felt so protective and in love with a human being before. All I wanted to do was hold her close to me, feel her skin and hear her breath. Nothing else in the world mattered. I cried every few hours, just from looking at her: to see her beauty, her significance, how important and amazing she is. I remember laying there with her and everything else in the world had stopped. It was just her, my husband and I–my entire world. My paradise. 

I debated for a while whether to show this photo or not. Here’s why I’m sharing it: it’s real. It isn’t photoshopped or retouched. It’s a photo that shows love and the bond between parent and child. My body is soft and has rolls and if you look closely my stomach touches my daughter and is bigger than it should be. I’m sleeping on a towel and my bra is stained. It’s so far from how women are portrayed on an everyday basis and yet this is the most real, beautiful, significant photo to me because it’s love. 

Can we stop body shaming woman? Can we stop trying to be a certain size? Can we stop portraying women in ways that are untrue for the majority of women? Why aren’t our postpartum bodies celebrated? I’ve had so many conversations recently with mamas about their postpartum bodies. I feel the struggle, too, but I also think it’s garbage because we. are. beautiful. And we birthed a HUMAN. This is the most beautiful thing in the world!

This isn’t about me, though. I’m not looking for praise or compliments, nor do I want to be told I’m “courageous” for posting this photo. This isn’t courage. This is real life.

Row, don’t listen to what the world tells you. Be you. Do you. Live you. Speak you. You are the most perfect human being, you always will be, simply because you are you and you exist. You will always be beautiful, but I hope you know that beauty isn’t about your skin, your size, your clothes or how you physically portray yourself. It’s about who you are, what you do, the things you dream and accomplish. Don’t ever hold back who you are because you’re afraid of what people think. People are always going to judge you and criticize and say shit, but the majority of the time it reflects them, not you. Instead, turn to them with kindness and a smile. You don’t know what’s going on in the depths of their heart that causes them to be cruel. You can be the bigger person by simply loving them. Now soar, my little Row. I will always, always love you.