Encouragement for Post-Baby Body Blues

Witty Women Who Write: Courtney Reissig

Wit: /wit/ noun – a person who has an aptitude for using words and ideas in a quick and inventive way

Courtney Reissig-picture

When I began thinking about Wit’s End, one of my hopes was to create a place to share the wisdom and words of other women. To do so, I’ve asked a variety of authors whose blogs and books I enjoy reading to share an article for Wit’s End. Today’s article is from my friend, Courtney Reissig. She’s a mom to twin boys, with another on the way, which gives her great insight into the topic for today: our post-baby bodies. I encourage you to visit her website to read more and learn about the new book The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God’s Good Design. It comes out in May, just in time for summer reading!


So, You Had a Baby?

Whenever a celebrity has a baby the media immediately begins the dreaded waiting game before the poor woman has even checked out of the hospital. You know the game. Will she or won’t she lose all that baby weight—and in what length of time? While I wanted to buck the trend, I was just as delusional in the days leading up to the arrival of my twin boys. I wanted to look like I didn’t have twins. I wanted people to look at me and say “you don’t look like you had twins at all!”

How selfish of me!

In God’s kindness, and nature’s reality, that was hardly the case for me. Instead of basking in the praises of people who couldn’t believe I had just given birth to twins, not a day went by during our five week stint at the hospital that someone didn’t ask me when it would be my turn to come deliver my baby. And this lasted long after we brought them home.

I had twins. And I looked like it.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. If eating a Big Mac every Sunday after church kept me from throwing up on the way home, then you better believe Momma was going to eat a Big Mac. The last thing I was thinking about was my ridiculous goal of being the width of a stick post-pregnancy. I just wanted to keep down dinner. And eat what sounded good.

As I’ve worked through the emotions, and come back to reality, about this whole post-baby body thing, I have grown to love what these boys did to me. Right after they were born I dealt with some serious separation issues about the fact that they weren’t with me any longer. Of course, it was made worse by the fact that they physically weren’t with me for five weeks and medically speaking they should have still been inside of me. But now that they are growing, healthy, and amazing little boys the reality of my post-baby body is a story about how they came to be.

Here’s the deal. And it’s taken a while for me to come to this conclusion. I had babies. Why shouldn’t my body bear the marks of such a wonderful feat? We live in a culture that prizes perfection and hates children. We want them, we just don’t want the changes they bring. The fact is the change is part of life.

Our bodies are never going to be perfect this side of Eden. And our endless pursuit of a perfect body, especially post-pregnancy, is very much in vain.

Your stretch marks, extra skin and pudge around the middle, and bags under your eyes are all evidence of something beautiful—the life that grew inside of you. The life that bears the image of our God.

Our society’s obsession with the perfect body and looking like we never had kids is for naught. They are trying to get perfection without the perfect One. It’s not possible. They want to go back to the glory of Eden, but reject the Christ who himself makes us whole. We know another way. We know that this life is not all there is. One day we will have perfect bodies. But it won’t be here. And it won’t be by our own efforts. No amount of running or the 30 Day Shred can remove the fact that this old body of ours is decaying. It’s not the final story.

Until that day, our imperfect bodies are reminding us that another one is coming. But they are also reminding us that with these old, decaying bodies of ours God is bringing new life into the world, life that exists to bring glory to his name. When Adam named his wife Eve, he called her the mother of all living. Out of her life would come. And as women, we get to do the same thing.

So when I try to put on my old jeans and realize that there is a little extra skin that wasn’t there before, I don’t want to begrudge it. And I don’t want to pretend like it’s not a big deal either. Out of a decaying body God has brought forth life. He is making all things new.

Courtney Reissig is a wife, mom to twin boys (and another one the way!), and writer. She is the author of The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God’s Good Design (Crossway, May 2015). She lives in Little Rock, AR and serves with her husband at Midtown Baptist Church. You can read more of her writing on her blog (In View of God’s Mercy) or follow her on Twitter.