12 May

Body of a Mother Project | Megan Bailey

In this age of the internet and social media it’s so easy to compare ourselves to other women. It’s so easy to nitpick every flaw and allow the negative thoughts to create a feeling of why did this happen to me? We believe it’s so important for us as mother’s to learn how to embrace our insecurities and know that we all struggle with them, every single one of us. We started this project several weeks ago to help shed light on the idea of showing how truly beautiful a mother’s body is. This started from our own insecurities and the urge of wanting to share our thoughts on body imaging with other moms. We hope all mother’s can relate to this topic on some level, and hope this brings us all together to support + uplift one another. Let’s show the world what beautiful, confident women look like! Today our editor, Megan Bailey, is sharing her story of motherhood + her daily struggles with her body that has created two beautiful little peanuts.

When I was pregnant with my first son, Beckham, it started with a lot of sickness followed by a lot of weight gain. To be fair, I am petite, and was told I needed to gain weight to have a healthy pregnancy. When you are 5’0″ a little extra weight shows, and by the end of my pregnancy, I had gained about 40 pounds and was carrying around a 9 pound baby in my belly! Yep you heard it… 9 pounds in this tiny little body, which also meant a lot of skin stretching to house that sweet baby boy. I was induced a week early because we knew that baby B was BIG and that day ended with me having a c-section, after 16 hours of labor, to bring him into this world. I always new a c-section was a possibility, but I wasn’t prepared for how exhausted I would feel, which continued for a couple weeks following the delivery. Over time I healed and started to feel like I was getting the hang of this new role as a mother. After several months I started to notice that my stomach still protruded out and I still had a lot of extra skin hanging off of me. I thought since I was so skinny growing up that I would have no problem loosing that extra weight, I never realized I would need to worry about saggy skin! I could tell something wasn’t right so I started doing research and found out that I actually had a condition called Diastasis Recti. I also learned that this is a common disorder that occurs in pregnant and postpartum women. I never even knew this could happen to me and I’m sure there are so many mothers out there who are uneducated, like I was. Diastasis Recti is when your abdominal muscles seperate, causing you to have a larger than normal gap between the two sides which also makes the abdomine push out. This disorder is common in women who are over 35, deliver a high birth weight baby, or have a multiple pregnancy. 

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There are exercises that you can do to help strengthen your abdominal wall and core but you should also know that doing many regular crunches and core work and actually make it worse! If you think you have Diastasis Recti you should do some research on the correct types of exercises you can do that will help bring your muscles back together.

It’s now been four years since my second boy, Bennie, was born and I still have a gap between my stomach muscles. I have been working super hard to fix it for a couple years now and while it has improved, there is still a gap that causes my stomach to pooch out and of course there is still lots of extra skin. The only way to really fix this condition would be to have a tummy tuck which consists of sewing your muscles back together and removing the extra skin. At this time plastic surgery just isn’t an option for me and mostly likely isn’t an option for many of you. This is something that I’ve truly struggled with ever since having my babies, but I’ve slowly learned to accept + see the beauty in this new body of mine. Even looking at these images I tend to focus on all of the flaws, but in that same thought I also see a beautiful and confident women who with her body created two amazing masterpieces. Was it all worth it? Absolutely!! We as mothers sacrifice so much for our kids so really what is sacrificing our bodies to create life? I’m truly proud to be a mother and proud to show off how strong + beautiful my body is even with the extra curves and extra skin! 

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Having two little boys who are growing up in this world where images of naked women are so readily available for them to see I want them to know what a true women looks like. I don’t them to grow up thinking that all women should look like porn stars or fitness models. These are unrealistic expectations that don’t represent what the average women looks like. I want my boys to know + see that a real woman has curves, has hips, is softer all around and has warrior marks. I want them to know THIS is what beauty really is and it’s not just skin deep, but comes from within. I want us as a society to change our opinions on what beautiful is + means and it starts by teaching our children.

We have alway been a pretty open family when it comes to being naked around each other. My absolute favorite time of the day is tubby time when I also get in the tub with my boys. I know that there will come a time when that is no longer appropriate and to be honest that will be hard day for me, but it’s one of the ways that we bond intimately with each other. My boys see me naked all the time and they don’t think twice about it. I want them to see a confident woman who is happy in her own skin + feels beautiful. I believe that if our kids see + feel our confidence and us embracing our bodies for everything they are, they will also learn to have self confidence and feel beautiful in their own skin. So this is me… putting everything I got out there to the world + embracing my body as a mother.

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If you’ve missed any of our previous features from this series you can check out their inspiring words here: Kari Jensen, Destiney GreenStacie Lucas,  Sadie Sabin,  Ashley Fultz,  Jenna Rammell, and Johnna Holmgren.

We hope you will join in on this movement and share your own images of your body and life that it brought to this world on instagram and use hashtag #bodyofamotherproject.

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