No, I’m not pregnant . . . but I’d understand why you might think that from the pic. My hands in a heart around my belly button represent not a baby currently inside but rather, where my babies came from. It’s the part of my body that I’m learning to love the most because it’s, let’s be honest, been through hell and back . . . twice now. Valentine’s Day reminds us to tell those who mean most to us “I love you,” so I’m embracing my belly that is forever changed, and trying to say “I love you too.” That’s what this picture is all about.
As a pre and postnatal exercise specialist, I get asked all the time, “Will my abs come back?” “Will the skin go back?” “When will my belly look the same again?” Unfortunately, my answer is real: “They may come back, but they also may NOT ever be what they once were” (I’ll blog more about this later.) I can tell you this much . . . for most of us, it will take a lot of work (Don’t worry – my upcoming postnatal DVD workouts will give you exercises that will help!). However, if you happen to be one of the moms on Instagram and Facebook that are fitness competitors with 6-pack abs who love to ask the rest of the world “What’s your excuse?” congrats to you and the surreal life that you live. Most of us, however, live in the world of real food and real time, where we eat crap off our kids plates and feel lucky if we have time to work out.
I can say this because this wasn’t always my reality. As a fitness professional, I used to be able to workout whenever I wanted, and it really was pretty easy to do that. On some level, when I just had Landon, my oldest son, I was able to make my workouts a priority too. Now that I’m a mom of two, I have the same “excuses” many moms have, mostly either “not enough time” or when there is time, “I’m too tired.” Here’s the thing: I actually don’t consider either of these excuses; they are realities.
Anyways, that’s not really the focus of this post, however it does support my point. What I really want to convey is that our bellies shouldn’t be something that we obsess over and cry about, they should be the parts of our bodies that we embrace and are most proud of. I’m not saying it’s easy. After all, I’m writing this mostly as my own therapy. I willingly admit that I’m constantly trying to engage my abs and bring them back, especially since I’m healing a diastasis recti. And when I get dressed, I sometimes get sick of trying to find the right shirt to compliment my loose skin. But at the end of the day, when I take a shower and look down to see a protruding belly rather than my pre-baby flat abs, I sometimes place my hands there and think, “Good job, Mama. You created two amazing human beings.” And somehow, in that moment, my not so-flat-abs, seem like the coolest thing in the world.
Happy Valentine’s Day to my favorite women in the world – Moms. Remember to tell those you love most “I love you,” but please also remember to tell yourself. After all, without us (and our bellies), some of the people we love most, wouldn’t even exist.