I give my body hell, and it gave me motherhood.

Going through pregnancy and having a baby made me appreciate my pre-mom body like I never thought possible. I spend a good amount of time mourning the me that couldn't stop whining about her flaws at every skin flab and pimple. That bitch had no idea what she was talking about.

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It's not that I don't appreciate what my body has done for me. I have so much respect for the work she's put in, even after the many years of destruction and teenage angst I've riddled her with. She definitely doesn't owe me anything; so gifting me a baby was a pretty solid move on her part.

I've also realized she's given me so many stories to tell. The scars on my legs, to remind me that for whatever reason, everything made them itch, and no Costco sized jar of coconut oil could lessen the urge to scratch. It makes me laugh to think about the looks the nurses gave me in the hospital during my labor, or the snarky comments that they made, trying to imply that I either had a drug problem, or was suffering from a serious mental illness. Really, something just wasn't agreeing with the sensitivity of my pregnant skin; and it's since gone away completely.

There's also the three minuscule stretch marks that I spent an entire 9 months trying to avoid getting; when at the end of the day, I could really care less about. One of them doesn't even qualify as a true stretch mark; however, I'm too embarrassed to actually admit that it's a burn mark from trying to curl my hair naked, and not realizing (or being in denial of) my stomach being so big, it had its own gravitational pull. Besides, they're all close enough together that I can get away with not having to share the naked hair-curling incident, and instead brag about how I've earned my tiger stripes.

My poor boobs. I don't even have a cool story for what happened there. Time, gravity, and the pregnancy Houdini decided to grab some brunch, ban together, and swoop in like a swift ninja to pop the life out of those fun bags before I could enjoy them without needing a bra to leave the house, for fear of tripping over them.

You know what's also fun? Shower art. Specifically the kind you make with the clumps of hair you start to lose after your body decides to rebel against you postpartum. I was so confident too, getting cocky about the fact that I hadn't lost any 3 months in. But even just throwing that thought out into the universe was enough to cue the PSYCH! police. I could probably make money with the abstract pieces I've put together on my shower walls.

I will say this. The healing process downstairs (sorry grandma, don't read this part) was not as bad as I thought it'd be. I had imagined my vag looking like a crime scene out of Law & Order, where the hazmat guys come in with the suits and basically everyone in the room is traumatized for life. But from what I've been able to tell, things seem relatively unscathed, considering I pushed what felt like a bowling ball covered in cactus needles out of my lady bits.

After all is said and done; you sort of walk around with a newfound respect for how awesome you are. You think about giving birth as something a woman just "does" when the time comes; but you don't appreciate it for what it's worth, until you have experienced it first hand. We absolutely do not get enough credit. The intensity, emotion, physical & spiritual battle we go through when we are that deep within ourselves is unlike anything that can be described in words. Thinking back on labor and all it entailed really makes me go "how the actual f*ck did I get through that, I'm kind of a big deal."

And you are.

So Own the battle wounds, big and small. Embrace the lopsidedness, and poke fun at the awkward bodily functions. It is the result of creating life, and there's nothing more badass than that.

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