Do You Find This Picture Helpful? {Thoughts on a Post Baby Body} - Pretty Real

Do You Find This Picture Helpful? {Thoughts on a Post Baby Body}

2:02 PM


So in an effort to share more of "me," inspired by this series, this post, and this blog in general, I am sharing something non-pretty today.  I want to know, do you find this photo helpful?  Does it motivate you?  Does it make you say "If she can do it, so can I!" or "That's it! Right after I finish this Ben and Jerry's I'm joining the gym!" or does it depress you?  Does it make you sad?  Do you hate me?  If it's the former, you can stop reading.  You're welcome for the motivation.  If it's the latter, let me let you in on a little secret
before you hate me too much.  The after is not really an after.  It's before (and you might still hate me; sorry about that).  Why do I have a photo of my sweaty stomach you ask?  I haven't yet decided if it's because I'm a genius or an idiot.  I took it after a run.  I felt great...in that I-just-made-myself-do-something-I-didn't-want-to-do way.  I always used to feel like I immediately looked trimmer after a run.  I felt confident.  I knew we were going to start trying for a baby soon and in a moment of "I want to hang onto my current pre-baby body forever weakness I snapped the photo as proof I guess.  Vain? Maybe.  Desperate?  Definitely.  Here are the reasons you should forgive me for taking a photo of my own stomach (and sharing it):

1. It no longer looks like this.
2. I have an outie.  It's not the sexiest belly button in the world.  And it's even more of an outie after two babes.
3. There are other areas of my body [baby got back] that I would never dare photograph--even before babies.  My stomach was just not my problem area. Now it is.
4. Just look at the BEFORE!  Seeing this is strengthening my resolve to stop at two babies.  In my best Chandler impression: Could my stomach BE any bigger?!

Fast forward to two babies later.  My stomach...No. Longer. Looks. Like. That.  Well I mean, underneath it all, it does.  And by "all," I mean a layer of fat settled in a nice pouch like form.  I know you don't believe me.  And I was sooo tempted to take a photo to prove it.  But seriously?  I'm all about keeping it real but that's asking too much.  I just couldn't do it. I know I'm digressing but when I see those websites where people share stretch marks and big tummies and cellulite...I don't like it.  I understand that we want to revolt against the unrealistic standard set for us by the media or Hollywood or whomever, but at the same time, I just don't want to see that.  Side note: I just searched for an example photo to include in the post but the sites and images I was coming across were either inappropriate or scary. Or celebrities whose "afters" really are "afters."  Anyway, if I want to see imperfections, I'll stare at my own in the mirror.  Daily.  Anyway, back to my point, now when I look at the picture--the one that was supposed to make me feel better about my current body -I just feel sad.  So what prompted me to dig it out?  What prompted all this introspection?  I've seen a couple of photos like the one above recently.  An acquaintance posted one on instagram--9 months pregnant on one side, and holding an infant on her hip with a ridiculously flat belly on the other side. I threw up in my mouth a little.  Another friend (a personal trainer) posts a similar picture of his client.  Super prego in one, super tiny in the next.  It made me feel like crap.  I know those ladies work hard to look like that.  It's not about being a hater.  It's just about constantly being barraged with images of what you should look like (and maybe even put in a positive light-- what you CAN look like if you're willing to work for it).
And somehow when it's a "friend," instead of a celebrity or a Victoria Secret model, it stings a bit more.  Maybe because it's harder to make excuses? Whatever the reason, It's exhausting.  And I'm hardly the consumer child for poor body image.  I'm aware of that.  But like every other female on the planet, I struggle.  I wish I had the discipline to make the time to work out everyday--   to pull myself away from my needy (but amazing) toddlers, away from my no-matter-how-much-I-clean-it's-always-messy house, away from my happy hobbies of blogging and photography, away from the few hours I get each night with my man and best friend.  Right now; I don't.  Right now I'm prioritizing the things named over a flat stomach.  At the end of the day, I need to be okay with that choice. 
I need to silence the voices and images screaming "you're not skinny enough" and focus on the ones whispering "You're fearfully and wonderfully made."  And okay, I maybe need to eat less sugar too. 

So that's me today.  I'm so scared to publish this post! It's meant to encourage those of you who struggle with body image (isn't that each of us at some point in life?) and not hate on those of you who work hard (or are naturally blessed) with a hot bod.  It's also not meant to boast about what my stomach used to look like.  It was just easier to use that than this:


I gave up when I realized the concept of adding my face to a photo was much harder to pull off in real life than it was in my head!  But I'm hoping the comic relief has helped!

So...do you ever get down on yourself for your body (post baby or no baby)?  What do you do (or tell yourself) to cheer yourself up?  How do you feel about the before and afters?  Do they motivate you?  Do tell...

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9 comments

  1. Of course I loved this!! And you know how I feel :) And I almost hated you. And the last picture made me laugh.

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    1. haha- I would've hated me too! And glad that pic made you laugh. That was its purpose!

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  2. Um Tiffany, I am naturally slender and have never had children and my stomach does not look like that! I think we all have body issues. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a woman complain about her body and I think she looks beautiful. Why do we do that to ourselves?

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    1. That's a GREAT question Brittaney! I don't know WHY we torture ourselves so.

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  3. I love the idea that I am choosing to prioritize my life over hitting the gym---when you said all of the things you are spending your time doing, I related completely! I am fortunate to have help with our son from family so I can get to the gym if I want to, but time is so limited, I choose to go very rarely. Great post! Unfortunately, it hits home pretty hard for me. I still have a good 10 to 15 pounds to lose and I still call it "baby weight" two years later. Ha!

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    1. I totally relate to still having weight leftover. My body is VERY different! I lovingly refer to it as my "post baby bump" and until B is 15 you can call it baby weight! and maybe even then. ;)

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  4. I feel exactly the same. Specially now that summer is coming (over here, in Portugal).
    I have a gym subscription and a million excuses. Well, not excuses. I want (and need) to spend my free time with Baby A. and my man.
    I'm a Mum. I have this right, no? Still, I have not give up yet. Despite the stretch marks, I can (and will) look better. And so can you! :)

    Love your blog.
    Raquel

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    1. Hi Raquel...wow all the way from Portugal!!! Us mamas experience the same issues no matter where we live huh?! Thanks so much for your comment and encouragement!

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  5. I liked taste (full) and simple Paige on on facebook.

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