More than a stomach

Post by Stephanie Jagger for the Kind Kindred series.

It’s officially official. In the last three months, six of my nearest and dearest, my “scattered around the globe” BFFs, my muses and daily inspirations have had babies. For half of these mamas it was their second, and for the other half it was their gloriously scary, “holy shit” firsts.

I am proud beyond belief of all of these women but I’m also sad.

You see, I’ve been having a lot of conversations with these mamas, conversations that I’m going to call Olivia Newton Johns. Most of these Newton Johns have inklings of getting physical and all of them are heavily impregnated with an idea that goes something like this: I must fix my broken and ugly body, which is…well, I’m just going to be frank here, self-shaming. And that’s the part I’m mad about.

Here’s what the ONJ’s sound like:

Oh my gosh…how are you doing, feeling, being!?!

Good, I think. Things are good but I’ve still got about ten pounds to go.
*(This mama was ten weeks postpartum after an emergency C-section.) 
Me: Whhhaaaaaat????? My love! You’re a mom! Can you believe you’re a mom?!? I am so proud of you. SOOOOOO proud. Where are you and bebé going today?”

Thanks, Steph! We’re going for a walk with (insert name here of other new mama). First topic on the agenda – how to get rid of our guts.
Me: Noooooooooo!!!!!! My sweet lady, what is it like? Is it scary? Is it glorious? Are you tired? How’s (insert name of new dad) handling everything?

Ugh, my stomach actually looks like a turkey’s neck. Like from the belly button down…turkey’s neck.

But my darling, you know that you were put on this earth to be more, do more and have more than a stomach, right?

Now, I’m not a mama so I know a lot of you are probably thinking, “Who is she to say…” or “She’ll think differently when her body’s been through hell and back.”

But here’s the deal:

1. Who am I not to say?
2. You might be right. I might think differently. I’m not perfect, and I’m not going to lie and tell you I’ve never jumped into the pool of self-shame. I’ve done it and I do it. But here’s the deal, my body, albeit in a different way, has been through hell and back. H-E-Double L…and holla back.

And it’s because of the holla back that I know this to be true: Our bodies take our beatings, literally and figuratively. Whatever our hearts and heads can’t handle, it’s usually our bodies that pick up the slack. And after the slack my body has picked up on behalf of me and my life of adventure, I just can’t help but think I should spend the rest of my years showering it with love and affection, with understanding and admiration, with total fucking awe and respect, slack and all.
As a coach, I’m more of an advice finder than an advice giver but I’m going to dole some out today: I think you should do the same with your years, whether you’re a mama or not. To help, I’m going to share an affirmation I wrote for one of my favorite mamas.

Read it, print it, post it, sing it out loud:

My body is capable of miracles. No joke. It’s a mystical, magical miracle performer. It grows and shrinks, stretches and shifts, hangs and perks all depending on how much love I birth into this world. How freaking fantastic is that! Let the birthing, literal or figurative, continue! Mystical. Magical. Miracle Performer.


Stephanie Jagger lives in California where she dreams big dreams, writes her heart out, and runs an executive & life coaching practice. She believes courageous living doesn’t happen with one toe dangling in, but that we jump in, fully submerge, and sit in the juice. Think pickle, not cucumber. Stephanie is currently working on her first book, a memoir about skiing about the world, and yes, you read that last bit right. 
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