Loving your children is the easy part, learning to love the body they gave you...is another story.
I can admit it now, both to myself and others, I have "twin skin." Throughout my twin pregnancy I discovered these unfamiliar little squiggly lines on my belly, I was curious but confident that those were not stretchmarks. After all, I carried my daughter and didn't get one stretchmark, they're just not in my genetics I silently told myself.
My denial continued postpartum as well. My deflated, saggy and stretched out tummy hung over the waist of my jeans. I told myself, it's normal, it's only been a few weeks, it's definitely going to shrink back down. Luckily motherhood kept me busy and kept my mind off of things.
Not long after my sons births I discovered a moms of multiples message board online and to my horror found out that there was a name for this saggy stretched out thing that I had yet to admit to anyone existed on my body. It was referred to as "twin skin" by mothers of multiples. This "twin skin" does not go away. Yes, deep down I think I already knew that but I had been in denial.
Why or how it happened, I can't be sure, but somehow I decided my "twin skin" was something to be ashamed of. It was ugly and embarrassing, and I concluded that I would not show it to anyone. I lived three years keeping my secret from friends and family. With the help and encouragement of my husband, after the third year I decided that I would, for the first time, attempt wearing a two-piece bathing suit again and show my motherly shape to all the world with confidence.
I can admit now, at first that confidence was fake, I was pretending and at times it was really hard to. However, after pretending for a while and realizing that people weren't staring or pointing, no one was running away disgusted, it dawned on me that I looked normal. Looking normal is nothing to be ashamed of and showing the shape, stretchmarks and scars that come along with motherhood, is something to be proud of.
Have you ever visited the website "The Shape of a Mother"? It's an awesome, uplifting, inspiring and very liberating website for mothers. It's purpose is to help encourage mothers to love and appreciate their bodies, both with and without clothes on. There is nudity, so be forewarned, but it's beautiful.
Know that you are not alone. The Shape of a Mother encourages you to join, and either anonymously or publicly share your story, your photos, and appreciate others who's bodies are just as beautiful and as normal as your own.
Please share this with anyone you know who is a mother. Let's help each other learn to love our bodies. Has The Shape of a Mother or simply seeing the shapes of other mother's worn with confidence helped you learn to love yourself more?
Sincerely, Julie aka the Cloth Diaper Geek