Post-Baby Beauty

As young women, we are often too critical of our appearances. Although young and beautiful, we tend to obsess over an endless list of “flaws.” We give ourselves too little praise for the beauty that we possess. As women enter motherhood, a new challenge arises– accepting the post-baby body. Stretch marks. Wider hips. Scars. Extra weight. All this and more are right around the corner waiting to “ruin” that body that you already critique! Too many women fear motherhood because of these physical changes, and we need to be reminded of the greater joy and beauty that awaits.

In a blogpost entitled “Babies Ruin Bodies,” a young mother, N’tima, reflected on the changes that her body underwent after carrying and giving birth to her baby girl.

“I have dark pools under my eyes. A valley where my belly button once was. Hips with a new amplitude that my teenage self wouldn’t recognize. I have lines mapped across the mountains of stretched skin left over on my midsection. Lightening bolts on my sides proving I once was too small to contain all of the love that filled me. Lines indicating that my daughter once lived inside of me.”

Credit: "We Seek Joy" blog, N'Tima

Credit: “We Seek Joy” blog, N’Tima

Despite these changes to her physical appearance, N’tima refuses to compare herself to society’s often unreasonable expectations of beauty, and instead she chooses to focus on the joys of motherhood. What she has created is so much greater, and she has gracefully embraced her new body.

“Every limb, finger, toe… her heart, even, developed near the very place my own heart beats inside of my chest. Those mountains of skin are all I have left to prove that we were once one and not two. How can I be ashamed of that? …My body grew that. Not everybody has that privilege… I am not something flawless in the eyes of society, or even close to what I once was physically, but my perfect girl sees me for who I am. To her, I hang the moon. She knows my heart. She knew it long before we met. And she loves me for it. I cannot tell you how much worth and validation I feel because of that truth. My body is only a vessel for my spirit. An incredible vessel. It is strong, well, abled, and undefeated. My body is full of life. My body is powerful. My body made me a mother.”

N’Tima’s reflection is a great reminder about the challenges and joys of motherhood. If you are a mom or an expectant mom worried about your post-baby body, here are 3 things to remember:

  1. You are strong. Through morning sickness, people’s stares, labor pains, and crazy nights of no sleep, you have shown great strength in carrying and caring for your child.
  2. You are awe-inspiring. It is truly miraculous what you have done. You have sheltered the life of a whole, new person! No art, no book, and no building on Earth has more value than the precious life that you now hold in your arms.
  3. You are beautiful. Embrace the physical changes as signs of your strength and love. Take care of yourself- physically and emotionally. Remind yourself that you are beautiful, and be confident in the new you!
  •  Read N’Tima’s reflection, Babies Ruin Bodies, and visit her blog, We Seek Joy.
  • Are you pregnant? Not sure what to expect? Check out this video by Talya Rose. (She has great points about body image at 9:40!):

About the Writer: Beth (O’Malley) Rahal is the Pregnant on Campus Coordinator for Students for Life of America. To learn more about the Pregnant on Campus Initiative, or to start a new pro-life student group, contact Beth at brahal@studenstforlife.org.

Let the Games Begin!

Baby Girl- At dawn we ride- memeCompetition can breed the greatest friends or the fiercest enemies. If you are a college football fan, you know exactly what I am talking about! Let me go ahead and throw out 2 oh so fierce war cries–

WAR EAGLE! ROLL TIDE!

Now some of you are horrified that I just typed both cries in the same sentence. (The audacity!) However, picture this even more horrifying scene– Auburn and Bama working TOGETHER.

WHAT?! Say it ain’t so!

The truth is, while y’all were practicing your game face, Auburn Students for Life and Bama Students for Life were working together to save lives and support pregnant and parenting women in their community. In an epic battle for pride, these 2 pro-life groups faced off in a competitive diaper drive that began on September 30th and ended on November 30th, right in time to watch the Iron Bowl.

The drives collected much needed supplies that were later donated to local pregnancy resource centers. Here’s what each group collected:

Auburn Students for Life

  • 1735 diapers
  • 2060 wipes (+ unnumbered packs)
  • 481.96 fl. oz. products
  • 34 pairs of socks
  • Bath caddy with lotion, shampoo, baby wash and Destin
  • Girl’s onesie
  • Boy’s “creeper” pant
  • Gray body suit
  • Rattle keys

Bama Students for Life

  • 1202 diapers
  • 744 wipes
  • 5 burping cloths
  • 1 long john set
  • 27.92 ounces of formula
  • 2 pairs of handmade booties
  • 2 fl oz of diaper cream
  • 3.75 ounces of vaseline
  • 45 fl oz (3 bottles) of baby wash and shampoo
  • 1 baby nail clipper
  • 1 nasal aspirator
  • 1 10-piece grooming set
  • 100 diaper disposal bags
  • A 2 in 1 bottle and nipple brush
  • 12 pairs of baby mittens
  • 4 bibs
  • 2 pairs of baby pants
  • 2 short sleeve onesies
  • 3 pairs of footie pajamas
  • 1 baby hat
  • 14 pacifiers
  • 1 miscellaneous drawstring bag
  • 1 pair of socks

And the winner is…

Now, the question that everyone is dying to ask– WHO WON? Based on the number of diapers collected, the winning group was Auburn Students for Life! The group donated the supplies to Women’s Hope Medical Clinic.

Thanks to the great success of this event, the student groups intend to continue with this competition! When asked about this experience, here is what Bama Students for Life President, Claire, had to say:

Camaraderie between student pro-life groups is helpful because we can bounce ideas off each other and lift each other up if we become weary fighting abortion in our communities. Competition between Bama Students for Life and Auburn Students for Life has, like our football teams’ rivalry, encouraged both groups to work harder and be accountable for our successes and shortcomings. Projects and initiatives like diaper drives are a great way to walk the walk and put our pro-woman, pro-life values to work. Student groups can make a huge difference by working with local pregnancy centers, which serve students and provide women and children with life-affirming resources everyday.”

Great job to both groups for their outstanding efforts to activate their community and support their local pregnancy resource centers! We hope to see more student pro-life groups challenge their rival schools to competitive diaper drives!

 

Do you want to learn more about Auburn Students for Life and Bama Students for Life?

Get involved with the Pregnant on Campus Initiative:

Win a Diaper Deck!

Change the worldThanks to the generosity of Diaper Deck & Co., Students for Life of America (SFLA) is introducing a new national award at this year’s SFLA 2014 National Conference. The Pregnant on Campus Group of the Year Award will recognize the achievements of one Students for Life group that has excelled in promoting pregnant and parenting resources. The SFLA Pregnant on Campus Group of the Year should demonstrate success in pregnant and parenting advocacy and outreach on their college campus. This group should show significant efforts to change their campus to embrace practices and policies that protect and assist pregnant and parenting students.

This year’s prize is a diaper deck, donated by Diaper Deck & Co. This prize is an excellent reflection of the goals of the Pregnant on Campus Initiative in that it allows the winning group to provide a tangible resource for their school community. SFLA  will provide the installation costs for the winning group!

Has your group made great efforts on your campus to change the culture and support pregnant and parenting students? Yes? Then you should apply!

Applications are due no later than January 15, 2014, and at least 1 group representative must be present at 2014 National Conference to receive the award. Please email completed applications to Beth O’Malley at bomalley@studentsforlife.org

APPLY TODAY!

Making Change Happen: BU Students For Life

BU Students for Life- 2012Expanding your pregnant and parenting resources can certainly be an intimidating task. You may be afraid that you won’t know what to say when you finally meet a pregnant peer, or maybe you worry about opposition to your pregnancy and parenting support efforts. But taking the leap is worth it, and groups like Boston University Students for Life are courageously accepting this challenge!

Over the past year, Boston University Students for Life (BUSFL) challenge their campus and expand their outreach. These students have created a new website, held peaceful protests in Marsh Plaza, attended the March for Life, and were twice featured in the university’s student newspaper (here and here). Moreover, this group has made special efforts to reach out to inform their peers about pregnant and parenting resources.

“Our hope is to find common ground with others who would be willing to help support college women who don’t know that there is support, and don’t know where to look for it… We are trying so hard to connect with other people, and seek out resources and make them available and make them known as well.” Annie Pierce, BU Students for Life President

In addition to hosting a Pregnancy Resource Forum last Spring, the group worked hard to compile the necessary information for their Pregnant and Parenting Resource Guide. This December, BUSFL President, Annie Pierce, announced that BU Student Health Services added a link to the group’s Pregnant and Parenting Resource Guide on the university’s Health Services Fact Sheets page! This is a great accomplishment that will further expand their outreach on campus and will leave a lasting impact on their school.

Thank you, Boston University Students for Life, for your hard work and persistence!

 

Has your group completed an awesome pregnancy and/or parenting support project? Let us know, and we will feature you on the Pregnant on Campus website! Email pregnancyresources@studentsforlife.org.