Hey Young Running Friends: Don’t Fear the Post-Baby Body!

This morning at the track I was discussing my recent appendectomy and lamenting the fact that I had not known more of the details about the surgery ahead of time. Had I known the surgeon was going to make an incision right at my navel, I would have asked if he could have fixed my diastasis recti just above that. The conversation then turned to c-sections and tummy tucks. My twenty something running friends sans children were horrified. With their mouths agape they declared never to have kids, lest their bodies be ruined. Well, I am here to tell you, fear not young runners, having children will not ruin your body.

If you decide to have children one day, your body will change. It will grow and adapt to house the new life growing inside of you. You will feel the miracle of little hands and feet moving inside of you and hear the heartbeat of your little one. There is nothing else in the world like it. And when the time comes for you to meet your baby, you will learn just how strong and capable your body is. Your body can grow and birth another human being. It can give life. And then it can continue to feed and nourish your baby.

And yes, after giving birth and breastfeeding, your body may be different. It may take some time to return to its pre-pregnancy shape. In fact, it may not return to it’s pre-pregnancy shape and that’s okay. Post-pregnancy bodies are beautiful, strong and wonderful too. In fact, each one tells a story. The story of a mother who carried a baby, nourished a baby, and loves a child even more than she thought possible. It is one of the greatest love stories ever told.

Is my 39 year old body like my 24 year old body? No, not at all. Sure, my 24 year old body had less wrinkles, sags and stretch marks, but I did not appreciate it. I struggled with body image and self confidence. At 39, although I still have plenty of moments of self-doubt, I have a better appreciation of what this body can do. Each sag and wrinkle tells my story, and it is a story of love and of triumph. I feel stronger now than I did at 24. This body has taken me to many wonderful places, and I look forward to seeing where we will go in the future. But best of all, I have three wonderful little people beside me who call me mom. So enjoy your pre-kid bodies, my friends, but when the time comes, don’t be afraid of the changes!