After giving birth to five babies I’ve been self-conscious about my mid-section or what is refered to as the “Mama Belly.” My body has been through a lot. Each and every pregnancy changes a woman’s body and some changes are irreversible. But, I am determined to try to get the flat tummy I had when I was 21 back.
At age 38, I should be proud of how healthy and fit I am. I am 5’1″, weigh 110 lbs, with about 12% body fat. I work out 3-5 days a week and watch what I eat. I should feel good. But, for a long time I hated my Mama belly. My skin is stretched out, I have purple pregnancy marks on my hips and a little muffin top from two cesarean sections. For a long time I refused to wear anything that exposed my belly.
Hormones can also have a negative effect on a woman’s belly. For me during certain times of the month my belly looks like an inflated balloon. Even though I eat a diet high in protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low in sodium, and take vitamins and a probiotic supplement, water weight still accumulates around my middle. Diuretics and drinking plenty of water help deflate the balloon, but it is only a temporary fix.
Over the past five and a half years, once I knew I was done having babies, I tried everything from diet pills, waist cinchers, crunches, abdominal workouts, low carb diets, low-calorie diets, high intensity fitness – you name it, I’ve tried it – but none of them worked. There was no escaping the dreaded Mama belly. Wherever I went it followed constantly reminding me that I won’t ever look like I did in my early twenties again.
This was hard for me to accept. Especially when on Christmas a couple of years ago I was approached by someone at church. She asked if I was expecting another baby. I felt hurt, ugly, and thought I better do something about it. I cut back on my calories even more, worked out even harder, purchased a new waist cincher and was determined to get rid of this Mama belly. Something had to change because my self-esteem was at an all time low.
None of my hard work and determination helped. It will be two years this Christmas since I was asked that question and my belly is still the same.
“What is wrong with me?” I thought. I am thin and physically fit everywhere but there. After praying to the Blessed Mother about this and much more thought I have come to realize that my Mamma belly isn’t so bad after all. In fact all moms should embrace their bodies, love their bodies and accept themselves for who they are. Our creator made us into His own image and we are beautiful no matter what shape and size we are.
We carry our Mama bellies every day to remind us of the little blessings He gave us. It is a reminder of how beautiful and miraculous birth is. Out of love He has created beautiful babies for us to love, nurture, and take care of. Our stretch marks say, “I have been blessed with children and that is the best thing in the world.”
All moms should love their Mama Bellies and be proud not afraid of wearing a bikini to the beach or a cute crop top to a party. This Mama belly is not going to go away unless I have surgery. I don’t want to spend that kind of money to change my appearance and plastic surgery is not natural, it is not what God intended. God’s greatest commandment is love. We must learn how to love ourselves first, before we can truly love others.
9 I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.10 If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.11 I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete. 12 This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you. John – Chapter 15.
He loved us enough to die on the cross and save us from our sins.The gates of hell were closed and the gates of Heaven opend up for us. We must learn how to love in order to be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven. God also loved us so much that he blessed us with little ones created in His own image to care for and love. I am proud and honored to have a Mama belly and I won’t hide it anymore.