Can I let you in on a little secret? I love my post-pregnancy body. I didn't expect to, but I do.
Like so many women, growing up I learned to hate my body. I felt I had never measured up to an unachievable societal standard. I was taught to criticise and critique every dimple, roll, and jiggle.
In my twenties and thirties, I rebelled. I stopped watching TV and reading 'women's magazines'. I shut off the criticising voice in my head. I went back to ballet class and started running. And hiking. And climbing. I started loving my body for what it can do rather then hating it for what I thought it looked like.
By the time I got pregnant, I was comfortable in my own skin, though it would be a lie to say I didn't spend a lot of time and energy worrying about what form my postpartum body would take.
Eight months after giving birth, I am nothing short of amazed by my body. I grew, nurtured, and birthed a human being.
The most striking change I've noticed, though, is that I even see my body as different. When I look in the mirror, I don't focus on the 'flaws' that my pre-pregnant self would scrutinise and obsess over. Instead I see large, powerful arms that hold and cradle him. Sturdy thighs sculpted not by countless squats and lunges, but hours spent bouncing him to sleep. It's not that my body is perfect, but when I look at myself I see only love, strength and beauty.
I didn't expect to love my postpartum body, but I do.