Appreciating the Mom Body in the Mirror


Oh, we’re going there, y’all. We’re talking mom bods and weight today. Getting used to my body after having kids is such an adventure. Since having my last baby (oh, ya know, three years ago), I’ve lost 78 pounds. Which is great because I gained 86 pounds during that pregnancy. Despite working out regularly and eating intentionally healthily during my second pregnancy, I still gained a lot of weight thanks to severe preeclampsia and other pre-existing conditions. I should be so happy that I’m only eight pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, right? Well, I am glad, and I’m really proud of myself. 

mom body postpartum body image
Image provided by Artem Varnitsin for Canva Pro

The Dilemma

Even though it’s been a slow-moving process, I’ve been able to create sustainable results and I’ve worked so hard to get here. However, I’m struggling to feel excited about it. It’s difficult to make sense of what I’m seeing in the mirror.

This is such a wild concept to me because I’ve been this weight before and I liked how I looked the last time. It seems every morning I get dressed, I look in the mirror and ask myself: “Why is this such an issue for me? Why do I not feel right in anything I wear?”

Perspective is Everything

I think that I’ve been holding myself to much too high of standards, or I’m not thinking this through with the appropriate context and perspective. The truth is that though I may weigh the same as I did when I was content with my body, the composition of my body is totally different now. I have more stretch marks than I did after my first pregnancy. I have loose skin after this last pregnancy. It’s still me in here, but I’m a new version of myself that I’m still getting to know. I’ve heard this same sentiment shared by other moms. They may weigh the same, but their body looks and feels totally different.

New Life Was Created Here

I’ve realized that getting used to my new features is an ongoing process. Some days, I feel super proud of the stripes that marked the new life that was created here, and other days, I really struggle with accepting them. It’s difficult to reconcile the fact that some of these changes and features are forever. Yes, loose skin can firm up some, but it likely won’t fully go away. The stretch marks likely won’t either. There is a level of emotional processing that must take place to get to a place of acceptance. This journey, however, is not linear and it’s okay to experience peaks and valleys. That’s kinda the way this goes. 

You created new life…of course your body is going to look and feel different. 

Pregnancy and motherhood change us in so many ways and some of these changes are physically apparent. It takes time to adjust to these changes. I’ve lived in this body my whole life and I’m not used to seeing these marks yet. I like to think of myself as a little old lady someday, romanticizing my stretch marks and dimply skin, exuding gratitude to my younger self for what she endured to create the family and legacy that I will have. Once I shift my perspective, it really does become much more beautiful in my own eyes.

Experiencing Multiple Feelings

Struggling to adjust to your new features is not a reflection of the way you feel about your kids. You can feel two things at once. You can be grateful for bringing life into this world and thankful for your children, while also not loving the new physical characteristics you see. Body acceptance doesn’t mean that you love every single thing, or that you’re always pleased with how your body looks aesthetically. It simply means that you choose to appreciate your body for all it’s done for you. And you choose to accept yourself as you are. You deserve to extend this grace to yourself.

Keep On Keepin’ On

Every woman’s relationship with their body post-pregnancy looks different. Some women experience this acceptance process for years while others don’t experience this journey much at all. Regardless of what the mirror is saying on any given day, you deserve to–not just accept but–celebrate the fact that you created new life. Your body is the reason why those beautiful new lives exist. You get to continually unwrap this miracle over and over as you watch your children grow and evolve. You have your body to thank for them, mama. Be patient with your journey; you are worth the work.


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Audra S
Audra Smith did not spend her childhood in Alabama, but got down here as fast as she could! Originally from Ohio, Audra met and married her husband (of nearly 6 years now), Brian, while in college, and they decided to move to Alabama on a whim a year after graduation, resulting in the best decision ever made. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Studies/Child Development. Audra spent the first few years after the move working for The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa within Early Childhood Education. After years of working in close proximity to Big Al, it’s safe to say now that she is a faithful Tide fan. Audra is an Army National Guard wife due to Brian’s military service and dedication to the great state of Alabama and our country. After enduring years of infertility, Audra and Brian were miraculously blessed with their daughter Nora Jo, who was born in March 2018 in the heart of Birmingham. Audra now resides in the Chelsea area (Sterrett) with her husband Brian, daughter Nora Jo, and living security system (lab/hound mix) Hamilton. When she’s not wrangling and chasing after a spunky toddler, Audra enjoys a good book, just about a million cups of coffee a day, embracing/celebrating the wild ride of postpartum, any DIY crafty project, and being on the water. She initially went to college for Vocal Music, and still enjoys music and singing very much as an outlet (even if she’s mostly singing “Baby Shark” these days.) Audra is passionate about raising awareness for Type 1 Diabetes, as she lives with this disease every day. Audra is currently a stay at home mom who makes it a priority to cultivate side projects related to her passions. She enjoys connecting with other mamas, women, and anyone who needs someone to talk to. Instagram has become a virtual tribe for her, and if you’d like to participate, head on over to @audrashoupesmith whenever you need a dose of “real life.”


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