I was speaking with a woman recently who was discussing how motherhood and pregnancy reminded her of going through puberty for a second time. It was in that moment that it dawned on me that pregnancy truly was a woman’s version of a second puberty; all of the hormone shifts, hair growth in weird areas, moodiness, body growth and expansion, existential crisis’s. The biggest difference in first puberty and second puberty is we, as women, have the ability to shed negativity, judgment of ourselves and others, self-doubt and insecurities about our bodies and our abilities as humans, women, and mothers, and say screw it to the media, to the fashion industry, and to society that tells us that we should return to a size 2 after spending 9 months growing a baby, spending 9 months of pouring our energy and soul into nourishing a human life fit for this life. It took 9 months to grow and nourish a baby, so why are we expected to lose our baby weight in 6 weeks and look better than we did before we conceived our child? It’s impossible and cruel to women to have these expectations! Screw the scale and the BMI chart, your worth is not found on the scale!
After first puberty, it’s unrealistic for us to think that we will look like we did before or like we did when we were 10 years old when we didn’t have hips and could go into gym class without a sports bra, so why do we expect women to look like they did before “second puberty”? Our bodies go through so many physical and emotional changes in the process of conception, growing, carrying, and delivering a baby, why do we expect women to look as if they have not gone through the superhuman experience of bringing a human life into this world? It’s not a flaw that we should hide, it’s a superpower that we should celebrate and it begins with each of us as women. Celebrate your fellow mothers, raise them up, support them and praise them as mothers. Remind your fellow mothers of the heroic work that they did for 9 months, or longer, and remind them that they are worthy of the love they deserve, no matter what their bodies look like, they did hard work. Stop shaming each other because they choose not to breastfeed, stop shaming each other because you still have 15 pounds of baby weight and did not return to your pre-pregnancy weight, stop shaming each other for having stretch marks and cellulite that show in your swim suit. Celebrate each other for the amazing act that we struggled through, cried through, and are just trying to survive. We are all MOTHERS together.