Yesterday was International Women's Day, and I am feeling so proud to be a woman and a mother of girls. Wednesday marked six weeks postpartum for me, and more than ever I feel at home in my body. Which to some may seem strange. My body changed a lot during my pregnancy with Ila. I gained over 25lbs, and my stomach is a much deeper brown than before, that is kissed with a lot of stretch marks. While I have lost all of my pregnancy weight, I am not back to my pre-birth body. I look different through the middle. My love lines cover not only my stomach, but my calves, thighs, and butt. This may seem surprising to some, but I am ok with that. I am fine with putting vanity aside and humbly sacrificing my body for the gift of life. How could I not be? It took us so long to get here and get our baby. At the moment, I wouldn't have my body any other way. In a culture that is unhealthily focused on the looks of women and setting unreal "snap back" expectations for mothers, I wanted to share these images and words in hopes that others could see themselves in a positive light.
When we sit and think about it, our journey through life is quite magical. If we are fortunate enough, we can stand on feet, wrap our arms around another for a warm embrace. We are covered in skin, and we speak, hear, and see. That, to me, is mindblowing and worthy of gratitude.
My body has carried me far and wide, grew my children healthy and happy, and has kept me standing on solid ground despite some of the abuse I put it through in my early years. And at this very moment, I could not be more grateful. This body has held me through depression, self-harm, negative self-talk, and everything else in between that could've broken me. I am honored to be still blooming today and unfolding in the midst of mess and mud. Healing is never linear, but it happens when we are willing to break open and do the work.
My journey through life has been filled with challenging lessons, and through those lessons, my resilence has been given the space to grow and flourish from every trip, fall, crash, and burn. Growing up I never knew how important my girl power was. And it wasn't until I had my first daughter that I started to find my magic. A magic that I hope to instill in both of my children as they learn to navigate this life.
So today, and every day, I give thanks to my body. I am proud of every stretch mark and scar. Every dimple, roll, and imperfection. Without its strength, I wouldn't be here. To all my fellow women, Happy Women's History Month. Love on yourself. Appreciate your journey and bodies. Keep blooming. You are enough. You're worthy, deserving, and capable of moving through this world as you are.
all photos by: erika layne photography