Before I got pregnant, I spent more than a decade dieting, picking apart my every flaw and obsessing over my jean size. But now, as my daughter celebrates her first birthday, I'm happier than ever with my body. Yes, even the stretch marks.
Being pregnant was a gift in many ways. Besides the obvious (you know, getting a baby out of the deal), it sent the healing process with food and my body into overdrive. Because I was responsible for growing another human inside my body, I was finally able to fully allow myself to eat what I wanted and needed, and since weight gain was inevitable, I found that letting go of my obsession with weight loss was also much easier.
But would I be able to keep up that relaxed attitude after I had my baby? Or would I immediately feel the pressure to diet and get my body "back"?
Thank goodness, my positive attitude toward my body held up after my daughter was born. I saw things in a new light, and was all about appreciating what I had, not stressing about trying to change it.
Let me tell you, life is so much better now that I'm not fixating on my weight or constantly trying to change myself. I'm finally happy with my body, which is something I was convinced would only happen after losing weight.
Let's take a look at the changes my body has been through in the past year.
Here I am on my due date, though my daughter waited a few more days to arrive.
Here I am one week after having a baby. Nope, your stomach does not automatically snap back.
Here I am one month post-partum, not looking like a celebrity mom on a magazine cover.
This is me four months after having a baby. Many of my clothes were starting to fit again, though certainly not all.
And here I am one year past my due date, exactly a year after the top photo was taken.
I lost the baby weight. In fact, based on the way my jeans fit, I think I may weigh less now than before I got pregnant (but I don't own a scale, so I'm not sure).
The amount of dieting, restricting or obsessing I did to get there? Zero.
I moved my body when it felt good because I wanted to, not because I was worried about losing the weight. I ate healthy, whole foods when I wanted to because I knew they'd make me feel good and provide all sorts of great nutrients for my breast-fed baby, not because I was worried about losing the weight.
I love my body now more than ever, but I want to make sure you know that it has nothing to do with losing the baby weight. My body is still -- and always will be -- far from "perfect." Now the skin below my belly button sags, is covered in a maze of stretch marks and has a dark line down its center. My hips are a bit wider. Who knows what my breasts will end up looking like when I'm done breastfeeding?
But none of that matters, you see, because my love for my body isn't built upon being a certain weight or size or shape. My love for my body is just about me finally realizing that in order to be happy with it, I had to make the choice to do so. Taking that one step, which feels both small and absolutely enormous, actually makes me want to take more care of my body, not less. Now I can focus my energy on other, more important things. It turns out all of those stories I had about why I should be thinner were never even true.
I used to think in order to be happy with my body I had to change it, but it turns out the thing I needed to change was my attitude toward it. Life is so much better over here. Join me.
If this resonates with you, come on over to my website www.jenpicicci.com and get my free guide "The One Thing You Must Do to Stop Feeling Crazy Around Food."
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