After 8 Years of Pregnancy & Breastfeeding, I Hardly Recognize My Own Body

When my third and final baby weaned from breastfeeding, I expected to feel a mix of emotions. We’d done the whole extended nursing thing, and I’d made it a record two and a half years. I was proud of what we’d accomplished together, but oh so ready to be done. When the day finally arrived, I thought I knew what was coming — I figured I’d feel relief since it had been such a long time coming, as well as a pang of grief, as this would mark the final holdover from those “baby” days. 

Instead, I was surprised to discover I was also feeling another emotion: disgust

I was in my early 30’s when I began my family, and my now 41-year-old body barely resembles the one I had back in those days. Not only am I looking my age — nearly a decade of using pregnancy- and breastfeeding-safe skincare products meant no retinol, which I’m very excited to finally be able to slather onto my face each night before bed — but there’s also so much more of me than ever before.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I woke up one day and suddenly realized I’d gained 30 pounds over the course of the past few years. There was never any question about the fact that there’s been more of me to love lately. In fact, whenever I needed a reminder of just how much I’ve changed, I could simply look at all the clothes hanging in my closet that haven’t fit me since 2019.

Instead it was more like the reason I never really cared about how much weight I’d gained had gone up in a puff of smoke seemingly overnight. 

The moment my son weaned, my body finally became my own again. Before that happened my weight never really mattered to me — because my body had been hard at work in the service of others. 

Related story

Lisa Kudrow Opened Up About Her 'Jarring’ Body Image Journey While on the Set of Friends