Photo by Emily Rumsey Photography

Encouraging and sweet words from our fabulous educator, doula, and lactation counselor, Erin Sutton…

I have a problem.  When I feel down, I begin to scour the internet for whatever dream clothing item I perceive I need.  I become obsessed believing a butt-covering tunic or the perfect pair of high rise skinny jeans will make me forget my insecurities.

28 days ago, I gave birth to my fourth child.  At the beginning of this last pregnancy, my body was larger and softer than it had ever been before.  Mid-pregnancy, my husband had to use a trick we found on the internet to remove my wedding ring (“Method 5: The Dental Floss Method” is what finally worked!), which I had never needed to   remove during my previous pregnancies. As I entered my final weeks of pregnancy, I had removed every article of clothing from my closet and drawers that didn’t fit my incredibly pregnant body. It was frustrating for me to see all the clothing that didn’t cover my belly or my bottom, which I was oddly obsessed to cover.  My mother rummaged through her wardrobe to find pieces that would work for me.  My mother-in-law took me shopping to try to cheer me up.  My husband sweetly spoke words of encouragement and reassurance that I was as beautiful as ever.  I still struggled to accept this body that didn’t seem like my own.

I even began to wonder if my new insecurities about my body would affect my ability to birth this fourth baby with the confidence I had during my past three labors. Thankfully, a wonderful friend and equally amazing yoga teacher brought me strength every Tuesday morning.  Her classes were my shining light each week reminding me that my body was, IS strong and capable.  A few weeks before I went into labor, another dear friend that is an incredibly talented photographer took pictures of my very pregnant body.  She made me feel beautiful and bodacious in the amazing curves my body had developed. Two days before I went into labor, two dear, dear friends worked together to plaster my belly and breasts to create the most gorgeous bellycast – immortalizing the strength and resilience of my pregnant body.  I felt ready.  I felt strong.  I gave birth with beauty and love all around me.

28 days later, I still have my moments.  I continue to pull on the maternity pants every day…some days with loathing.  They sag in the butt and awkwardly roll down my waist; however, they are the only thing that fits.  My shirts that make nursing easy and smoothly drape over my stretched, soft belly are few and far between.  I am determined to spend more days thanking my body and being grateful for the parts I still don’t recognize yet are a marking of four miracles.  I am thankful for the softness of my hips and belly that stretched and softened to healthily grow four babies.  I am thankful for the stretchmarks on my breasts which provided the perfect food in the perfect quantity to help grow four babies into healthy toddlers.

I am thankful for this Ask Amy video that reminded me to be…thankful!  It reminded me that I can go ahead and order those perfect jeans or tunic, but I don’t want to own them to hide insecurities.  I will wear them to enhance this new body I am proud of and honored to own.  This body I will praise, thank, and love, so my children learn to do the same with their beautiful, resilient bodies.