You know those pictures you’ve seen around the web of awesome, strong moms sharing real pictures of their bodies after giving birth? They’re awesome and wonderful and woo, love it, moms! But……notice what a lot of the popular ones have in common? The brave moms who’ve just recently given birth have babies.
Here are some examples:
My body also looks rather post-partum, but there’s a major difference in that I do not have my baby. I can’t put his sweet face in a brave Instagram shot of my purple stretch marks and hanging jiggle belly. My body has changed so much, but because my baby died, I can’t proudly give the world that “hey, look what my strong, beautiful body created!” photo. I have mom body, with no baby to show for it.
Dealing with your body after stillbirth is, besides not having your baby, one of the hardest things you’ll have to do. Here I am, 10 weeks postpartum, and my stretch marks are still purple, streaking like tiger stripes across my entire belly, which hangs over my pants if I’m not careful. It’s so hard to not blame your body when it feels like it has let you and your baby down. Feeling that blame plus having all the “regular” postpartum body issues is like being punched in the face.
I cried when my milk came in; I cried when it stopped. I want my stretch marks to fade, yet I love them, because they very clearly say “Jonah was here”. Feeling the divots in my skin where the marks are still makes me feel connected to my son, and I’m afraid that when they fade, that’ll be one less way for me to be with him.
So, this morning, I walked up to my husband and said “Okay so this might be awkward, but I’m going to stand outside in my bra with my belly hanging out holding Jonah Bear and you need to take some pictures so I can share them with strangers in the internet.” He raised an eyebrow but complied readily, because he’s the shizz, in my humble opinion.
The result is some pictures that I will enjoy forever, because they are of me, mom me, without my son but strong and beautifully marked by his presence, both physically and emotionally.