If you are an american woman who has ever given birth to a child, you know that the “after-baby body” is quite a big deal.  Everywhere you go, someone comments on it.  Everyday someone questions me about mine.  I am getting emails flooding in about how in the world to get back to the pre-baby body.

Let me tell you my thoughts on “getting back” after the baby…

This baby has changed everything.  Everything, I say!  My heart has changed, my soul has changed, my marriage has changed, my family has changed, my days have changed, my nights have changed, my faith has changed, my priorities have changed, my work has changed.  Nothing in my life has gone untouched since this baby has made his way into my life – just exactly like each baby I’ve had before him.  I am better in every single way possible since the calling of being his mother was laid on my chest.  I am more loving, I feel more giving, my priorities seem to be much more clear.  This change is profound!  Profound, I say!

So in the topic of “getting back after baby.” I’m asking myself.. “why in the world would someone want to go back to life – in any way shape or form – to before the baby was here?”  I have just given birth to the blessed child, he who will do great things and all that… why would I want to even imagine life to before this baby was here?  Also, let us not forget the vessel to which this son of mine was born.  ME.  I was the vessel.  This body of mine has done me proud, sister.  It has done. me. proud.

This body of mine has been pregnant for accumulatively 36 months, has nourished my babies with an endless supply of milk for 34 months (and counting!), it has spent 46 hours laboring to bring life forward (through it, might I add).  It has gained and somehow lost accumulatively 112 lbs over the last 8 years.  It has stretched and shifted in ways that hurt and were incredibly inconvenient.  This body has spent 26 months in the midst of horrible morning sickness.  This body has suffered joy and loss and aches and pains you wouldn’t believe.  This body has endured all of this and so much more, bringing these babies of mine into the world, and still it provides my every single need each day.  It wakes up and nurses through the night, gets up in the morning, makes breakfast, picks up babies, changes diapers, serves as a pillow, wipe, jungle gym, shade, heater, cooler, vehicle, entertainment, love, and comfort every single day for my family.  My body is incredible.  And I owe it every last ounce of love I can spare.  This body of mine has been through it all, and to be honest, if I didn’t have a few marks, or lumps, or squishy patches to show for it, I’d be dang disappointed.

So my after-baby body routine is quite simple.  Love.  When I love my body, I can be patient.  I can appreciate it.  I can put my shallow frustrations aside and give it what it needs (and quite frankly, deserves).  I will love my wide, round hips for as long as they need to stay spread out and nice and roomy.  I have pushed four children, accumulating 29 lbs through them, for crying out loud.  I will love that saggy pouch of skin that has carried most of the weight those months and months of pregnancy.  I will even sigh in appreciation to the skin on my thighs – and everywhere else – that hangs just a bit lower each time.  Because really, in comparison to all it’s done for me, that little bit of relaxation isn’t a whole lot to ask for.  I will embrace the new lines on my face that have worried and worried over well-loved children, spent entire nights and days awake with crying babies, smiled a numberless amount of smiles, an cried tears of joy, sorrow, pain, frustration, happiness and every single emotion in between.  I will love my body – my whole body – and I will treat it with the respect it deserves.

This is my after-baby body, and it’s a dang good one.  But then again, they all are, aren’t they?