Dear PostPartum Mama, You Are Beautiful

Dear PostPartum Mama, 

You are beautiful. 

Don’t roll your eyes at me. I know. I, too, went from a waif on my wedding day to a popped can of Pillsbury Grands by my second anniversary. I, too, have nothing to wear. And my hair is thinning. And the back fat is just not the look. 

But, seriously. When your baby looks up at you, stretch marks and cellulite are the last things on his (or her) little mind. You are that child’s hero. You’re my hero. And you’re gorgeous. 

Charm Is Deceitful 

Several months ago, I penned those words as a Facebook status. I was the new mom of a nursing infant, trying to write the reminder that I needed. Not much has changed between now and then, except that my baby is almost a year old now, and I’ve lost about fifteen pounds.

I remember how it felt, standing in front of the mirror during my last weeks of pregnancy, face full, feet swollen, back dipped from my enormous belly. I remember staring at myself for so long that I wept, hot, angry tears making their way down the mountain of my new form. A friend of mine had just rebuked me of my vanity: “Charm is deceitful!” she’d quoted from Proverbs 31. “Beauty is vain! Fear the Lord!”

'Christ himself came to save us, and his first stop here on earth was the womb of a woman.'Click To Tweet

Bless her. Seriously: bless her. But at that moment, I needed more than just a Bible verse turned slogan — I needed to have the truth of the Gospel measured with the tenderness of its implications for God’s children.

Fearfully And Wonderfully Made

I know that Psalm 139 is often used to extol the marvelous intricacy of the baby in your womb — but do you know that it also applies to that baby’s mama?

Postpartum mama, your little one is fearfully and wonderfully made — and so are you. You gave birth to an entire person. I barely passed biology, but I housed and sustained an intricate network of organs and a nervous system. The Lord used my body as a vessel to bring LIFE that he created and entrusted to me into the world. The Lord predestines souls for his divine purposes and then houses them in our bodies as part of his marvelous plan.

Let that sink in.

Christ himself came to save us, and his first stop here on earth was the womb of a woman.

It’s amazing. You are amazing. God is amazing!

A Living Sacrifice

I’ve written before about how childbearing is an intimate picture of what it means to be a living sacrifice — but it bears repeating.

Before my first pregnancy, I was 5’8″ and just under one hundred and twenty-five pounds. I was the queen of extra smalls and size zero’s, and the best at complaining about how I wished I looked more like a woman and less like a pre-pubescent boy.

If I could slap that silly little girl, I definitely would have done so either while I was verging on beached-whale status during my pregnancy, or on that emotional postpartum day where I surrendered my wedding ring because of my swollen fingers. But that girl became a mama, and 125 is such a thing of the past that I gave away every last stitch of that little clothing and started over again.

Our bodies change for our babies. Whether we have morning sickness or breezy pregnancies, natural labor, epidural, or C-section (they all hurt!), stretch marks or extra weight, postpartum depression or postbirth bliss, our lives and our bodies will never be the same. They were willingly surrendered for the lives of our children.

If that isn’t a picture of what it means to be a living sacrifice, I’m not sure what is.

Beauty is Vain

“Babe. I feel… beautiful!”

Phillip laughed at me when I said this the other day. “You have always been beautiful,” he replied (like a good husband). And as a woman created in God’s image, I believe what he said.

But the other day, when I looked into the mirror, I didn’t see thirty extra pounds, mom gut, or my sagging chest. They were all there, I promise — I just didn’t see them. I saw Wynn’s mama; the new version of me, who shepherds the heart of a little boy God has blessed her with. I saw Phillip’s wife, waif no longer, but still a woman — the wife of his youth, whether the breasts he’s been called to delight in are perky or pathetic. And I saw God’s daughter, who has needed those tender reminders that beauty isn’t only measured in a tight behind or a flat stomach, but also in service and sacrifice.

Proverbs 31:30 is true, of course. The fear of the Lord is much more important than outer beauty. But we serve a God who cares about our struggles, the same way we care about comforting our children (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). I’m so grateful for the Father’s tenderness in teaching me about himself in the midst of my body consciousness.

Old Fashioned Encouragement

Dear postpartum mama, if you are struggling with the new version of yourself, I’m sure there are many who could recommend diet and exercise regimens that might whip you right back into shape. And those are excellent ways to steward the body God has given you. I’m also sure many can remind you not to give in to vanity, that your body is just a shell for the much more important soul inside of it. And they wouldn’t be wrong.

But what I want to offer today is just encouragement, plain and simple, whether you’re a nursing mama who’s carb loading like crazy or a fit mama who’s running her third lap: you are beautiful. Be healthy — stay active, eat right, and take care of yourself as best you can while continuing to sacrifice daily for that little person who was made in God’s image (inside of another precious image-bearer). But don’t pressure yourself to look the same way that you did before you became a rockstar.

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6 Responses

  1. Jenny O'Neill
    Reply
    18 April 2017 at 8:34 pm

    such a beautiful well written article I will share over and over again. much love<3 from this mama of 5!

  2. Amber N
    Reply
    18 April 2017 at 8:39 pm

    I’ve never read something so real and vulnerable, yet every word points to the Savior. I’m not a mom, but I’ve struggled with body image issues. Such pure writing!

  3. Leslie
    Reply
    19 April 2017 at 5:44 am

    Ugh this is so true. Until recently I didn’t realize that my daily mental nitpicking of my appearance (contrasting it to what it used to be) was causing issues in my relationship with my husband. This is such truth friend!!!

  4. Emily Swanson
    Reply
    19 April 2017 at 4:20 pm

    This is so precious Jasmine; thank you! <3

  5. Rachel Janson
    Reply
    24 April 2017 at 9:35 am

    Thank you so much for this. I am 24 years old and 20 months postpartum. I struggled to conceive, suffered a miscarriage, struggled to conceive again, and am now the blessed mama to a beautiful little girl! I battled depression before pregnancy and have continued to experience it even more so since becoming a mama. I also am about 30 pounds above “ideal weight”, my breasts sag from 20 months of nursing (and she is showing no signs of quitting!), I am riddled with stretch marks (she was a big baby!!!), and my mom tummy is going nowhere. This post was so encouraging to me and goes beautifully with the journey I’ve been on with learning to love my new self. My hubby has been my biggest support in always loving me and telling me how beautiful I am… so thankful!!! I love your blog so-very much! THANK YOU!

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