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My body hasn't had an easy run this past year. I housed a baby. Had said baby surgically removed. Had an open wound for most of my maternity leave. If that wasn't enough, my body decided to require another surgery. Throw in a few bulging disks (four!) in my neck and a fat baby and I think that is enough for one body for a years time.

Nope. This body has found a way to loose a large sum of weight. I gained thirty something pounds during my pregnancy. I'm fully aware that half of that might have been in my feet and I may or may not have look like the Staypuft man but alas, a lot of it came off the first three weeks.

Really. I peed waterfalls.

For weeks.

Add in a mobile baby, no time to sit on my fat butt, eating mostly healthy diet full of fruits, veggies and whole grains and that thing called exercise and I'm currently about 10 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight!

That means Ive lost about 45 pounds in the past year. That is almost two Brady's!

I won't lie and say it has been easy. We started bike riding and many nights I wanted to stay home and go to bed early. I wanted to give up because I wasn't seeing any results but I felt better. This fall, I had people coming up to me asking me if I lost weight! That should have given me an incentive to continue but when sleep regression happens, working out becomes my absolute last priority. Evenings are my time with Brady so I have to push myself to work out after he goes to bed. I know any mom that says that is easy is lying!

I won't lie and say I'm happy with how things look because I have a long way to go. I gained a ton of weight after I was in a car accident two weeks before my wedding (hello funky neck) and I got into a lot of bad habits.

My child pushed a lot of those bad habits out of me. He eats what we eat so we mostly eat healthy. We strive to be healthy to teach Brady good habits. Now, that doesn't mean we don't indulge because we do (did you see my child dive into that cake?)

Pregnancy, two surgeries and a sucky complication left me with scars and stretch marks that I will carry with me forever.

I know my body has been through a lot. I From swelling up during so much of my pregnancy and then rapidly deflating weeks after his birth, I have more stretch marks than I would like. I'm not going to lie and say I'm 100% comfortable in my skin because even though I'm aware of what my body has done and what has been done to it, I want to look like myself again. I think that is just human nature.

My stomach literally looks like it's been to hell and back. My boobs? While they have shrunk down to a somewhat proportionate size, they are not the same as they were. The c-section scar has faded to almost nonexistent but my hernia scars (like all 8 or 9 of them) are just as vivid at ever.

I think those are what bother me most. Not because they are most apparent but they remind me of a time in my life that was really hard. I know in my heart that one day, I'll look at them in a different light but at this time, they remind me of a dark place.

Thanks to genetics, I obsessively freaked out about getting stretch marks my entire pregnancy and probably went through a gazillion tubes of lotions and oils. I do now realize that was a waste of money since I was lucky to get most of them after he was born.

While they are not my pride possessions, they don't bother me and actually have faded quite a bit over the course of the last year. I don't plan on stepping out in a teenie bikini but they are a part of me and I accept them.

Of course, I'd love my perky 25 year old boobs back and fit into a size two again but that isn't going to happen unless I win the lottery, get implants and Jillian Michael's moves in with me. (The latter would not be my first choice. I had to stop the 30 Day Shred because I wanted to throw things at her and I may or may not have cursed a lot.)

So, while I've fallen off the wagon the last few weeks thanks to crazed schedules and birthday madness, the last few months thanks to my lack of willpower and my child's sleep regression but there are just excuses. I'm getting back on. My brother and my father both have been diagnosed with diabetes in the past year and Blake's mother was diagnosed years ago. We have lost friends. We have lost family to awful sicknesses and diseases. We standby friends and family while they fight to survive and support them through preventable and not so preventable diseases and shortcomings.

My body created a life. My body gave me a new outlook on life by giving me my child. The best I can do is treat her kindly.

I used to want to look good for that sole reason but then again who doesn't?

Now? I want to feel good. I want my child to understand why we eat the foods we do. To be the best role model I can be. To run right alongside our children and to keep up! To keep the diseases we can prevent at bay. More importantly, I want to be the best ME that I can be for my son.

Those scars and stretch marks? Those are battle wounds to remind me of why I need to treat her well. I am eternally grateful to her for giving me my son and it is my responsibility to repay her in this way.

To never let me forget how far we've come the last year and the hurdles we faced.

I think that the best part of all of this is that motherhood has taught me to appreciate my imperfections.
I know when I was pregnant, it was one of my bigger fears among many other things I obsessed over. I write honestly here (and hopefully not scare anyone, ha!) and I want to assure many of you reading that after it is all said and done and no matter what you look like in the end, you will find acceptance in yourself you never knew was there. Bringing a life into this world is nothing short of a miracle and we need to give ourselves credit for that. I know that you are probably reading this and going, 'yeah, whatever' but it will happen. It won't happen over night but it will. I think it took me at least a year to come to terms with his birth, the complications and everything else. Once I was able to move past that I was truly able to accept my imperfections. I know as mothers we put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves and that is a whole other post but motherhood is amazing in this way.

As I have said many times before, motherhood has made me a better person. This is just another amazing example of the beauty of motherhood and while we all struggle in different ways, we should all embrace it this way. I have a feeling at some point, all of you will.

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