Don't Despise the Damage Your Babies Made to Your Body

"First of all, our bodies are tools, not treasures. You should not spend your days trying to preserve your body in its eighteen-year-old form. Let it be used. By the time you die, you want to have a very dinged and dented body. Motherhood uses your body in the way that God designed it to be used. Those are the right kind of damages. We should not be trying to fix it up to put it back on a shelf out of harm’s way or to try to make ourselves look like nothing ever happened. Your body is a tool. Use it.” - Rachel Jankovic, Loving the Little Years

Viewing our bodies as tools to use instead of treasures to preserve? This flies in the face of every billboard, commercial, and centerfold. And it’s good. We need a fresh perspective. 

Part of this perspective is the often unpopular idea of sacrifice. But ready or not, we enter the land of sacrifice the moment a baby begins to grow inside of us. It’s a slow entry, but it’s our new and permanent territory just the same. Laying down our lives for another is the hallmark of motherhood, and it starts with our body. We continue to lay down not only our bodies but our wallets, our time, our hobbies, our hopes, and our worlds pre-motherhood. 

It starts with nausea, fatigue, dizziness, stretch marks, scars, surgeries, muffin tops, less hair, more hair, new hair, curlier hair, extra skin, extra acne, extra weight, and extra all kinds of things. A buffet of extra.  

But friends, let’s not miss out on the beauty in the buffet of sacrifice. Laying down our lives for another is when we are most like God. Motherhood quite included. In fact, motherhood is a spiritual gift God has given us to display who He is. 

So, then, should we just let ourselves go, throw in the towel, and become bingeing sloths in the name of seeing our body as a tool to use? Come now. Rachel also suggests if it is a tool, then we must take good care of it. Like you would your favorite tool you use in your daily life (computer, garden shovel, hairdryer, coconut oil).

“Also, your body is a tool—maintain it. Having sacrificed your body for your children is no excuse for schlepping around. When you were eighteen, you might have been skinny without trying. In your thirties, after having had a pile of kids, the chances are good that you will need to try. Carry the weight joyfully until you can lose it joyfully. Carry the scars joyfully as you carry the fruit of them. Do not resent the damages that your children left on your body.” - Rachel Jankovic

She encourages us to maintain our tools, but not to the end that they are prizes to just look at. Our bodies are tools for working hard, for loving others, for picking children up, for writing books, for holding those in need, for rescuing the despairing, for tickling, for joy and beauty and hope. Let's take care of our tools so we can use them well. 

Our body is a tool: for using and for maintaining. It is for good work. It is for loving others. It is for blessing our world with new life, new hope, new joy.

Here’s to scars, stretch marks, and skin tags for the sake of others. Here’s to the hard work of maintaining our tools. Here’s to the good work of refusing to despise the damage our children have made, but to wearing these dings and dents with honor, joy, and pride.  

Amy Seiffert