My love-shame relationship with my postpartum stomach

For a long time,
you were flat
and toned.
A sense of pride,
what made me feel beautiful.

When I was pregnant
for the first time,
I marveled at all the stretching
and squishing,
the growing
and changing
that you did—
for me
for my baby,
for my family.

Now, you are different
than your younger self.
You’ve grown new stripes,
you are soft,
you haven’t “bounced back”—
you are forever changed.

You’ve bothered me over the years.
Why can’t you be flat again?
Why do you have to make me uncomfortable?
Why do you have to make me feel less than?

But for some reason, my kids love you.
They grab you,
squish you,
hug and kiss you.
They don’t see anything bad,
they just see beauty.
Maybe it’s because they’re looking at their first home?

They’re teaching me to be happy,
despite some extra weight,
despite my imperfections,
despite a stomach that hides in (super) high-waisted jeans.

Thank you for what you’ve given me.
Thank you for my three treasures.

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