I have a confession to make.
It's been 19 months since I gave birth and I am still a whopping 10 pounds over my "pre-pregnancy weight." How I've come to hate that phrase. It's a term that's thrown around by new moms as if we are discussing some sacred magical number -- one that we are all desperately striving to attain. It's a term the media seems to love when they are discussing who's hot and who's not. It's a number often referred to in the countless weight loss articles that bombard my inbox. It's a number my body seems to hate.
And, why shouldn't it?
When I find myself looking in the mirror, hoping to see a reflection that is reminiscent of the woman I used to be, I'm completely disregarding the changes that my body has undergone in the last two years. I am putting down and shamelessly insulting the very same body that has given me the most beautiful, most valuable gift I have ever laid eyes on.
And that's why I've decided that I'm done. I'm done talking about my pre-pregnancy weight. I will respect my body by taking care of myself, by eating right and living a healthy life. But I will not beat myself up about a silly number on the bathroom scale. It is not a magical number. As a matter of fact, it is an utterly insignificant number that deserves no attention, especially when compared to some other astonishing numbers. I refuse to put down my body because the real unsung heroes in the last two years are these numbers:
The number of times I ran out of my classroom experiencing morning sickness.
The number of times my ankles ballooned to the size of a grapefruit during my last trimester.
The number of back muscles strained carrying 35 pounds while on my feet all day long.
The number of kicks and jabs to the ribs I experienced while I lay awake on countless nights.
The number of hours I endured labor pains, and the tears that ensued.
The number of shrieks that echoed down hospital hallways during my delivery.
The number of stretch marks that adorn (yes, adorn) my abdomen.
The number of meals my body has provided for my baby, every last drop saturated with a mother's love.
The number of times I have wept at the mere thought of anything happening to my little boy.
The number of silent prayers that have been spoken in moments of exhaustion and desperation.
The number of precious moments filled with nothing more than pure, unconditional love that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
These are numbers that are magical. These are numbers worth talking about. These numbers reflect the strength of a woman's body, her selflessness and her boundless love for her children. These are numbers that appreciate the extraordinary transformation we go through when we become mothers -- a transformation of the body and of the heart.
The truth is I don't want to be my pre-pregnancy self. That woman has not experienced overwhelming joy like I have, nor has she had the opportunity to shower a child with love. That woman has not poured her heart and soul into a tiny little being expecting nothing -- absolutely nothing -- in return. That woman has not seen the true strength of a woman.