I scroll through my Facebook feed, passing photos of women in workout gear, weight loss progress reports, toned legs stretched out in a chairside view of an ocean. A friend of mine from years ago is now a professional bodybuilder, her photos making me cringe in admiration mingled with a little wow factor. My sister is a personal trainer, and tonight she posted that she’d run 1400 steps, the photo of her strong quads standing proudly.

After seeing these photos, it occurs to me that I’ve just been cleared to resume exercise after delivering Josie. My body is still healing, but will be well soon. I’m excited to start working on just me, shaving off years of pregnancy and comfort eating. I think, ‘I’ll finally give my body a chance to be all it could be.’

And then I pause, a little ashamed at that thought because how can I say my body hasn’t had its chance to do just that?

My body has housed two people. TWO whole people with dimpled hands, numbered hairs on their heads, and tummies waiting to be filled with the food I make for them. Twice, my stomach has stretched to accommodate 8 pounds of person. 22 inches, and then 20 inches, of child curled up in my womb, it holding them before my arms did. I am lined with silver and purple stretch marks, scars I consider privilege to bear. My body made, grew, protected, held and delivered two people naturally.

on bearing my marks proudly | girlwithblog.com

My body has solely nourished TWO people for months. My son relied on me exclusively for food for over six months, and then I remained his main food source for six months more. He continued to nurse for another ten months then weaned himself. His tiny sister is completely dependent on me for food, and has been for the two months since her birth. My body has made and continues to make perfect food for my children.

My body has learned to function on little sleep, rest a luxurious memory of my pre-motherhood. My son did not sleep through the night until he was two years old. My daughter is now two months old, and I have not had more than four hours of sleep in a row since long before her birth. I don’t nap when they nap because I need to fit nearly 40 hours of work into the cracks and crevices of my week, which includes naptime. It takes a load of under-eye concealer to cover the dark circles that permanently ring my eyes, because my work hours go late into the night so I may spend the daytime with my babies. My body serves me still, in spite of its own needs for rest.

My body has had the chance to be all it can be. My body has had the chance to live into it’s full potential. Not in the same was as a marathon runner or bodybuilder, but because I am a mother and was able to birth my children. For this I am profoundly grateful, and it is why I am ashamed of the thought I had earlier.

So Facebook friends, post on. Be proud of your bodies, of the feats you’re doing in the name of health, of what you are doing to better your bodies. I am proud of mine. Not always, but tonight I am because I remember that it gave me my children. Me and my stretch marks will celebrate another day of child-chasing with a piece of chocolate, a shower, and a soft knowing that while one day I will fit into more of my closet, today my body is enough.

-Anna {girl with blog}

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