So I had a revelation this weekend about my body. You see, like many (read: all) women, I’ve had body image issues for as long as I can remember. Even when I was rail thin in middle school I just felt “big”. I was so much more painfully aware of the size of my jeans rather then the horrible zits on my face. It just doesn’t make sense, looking back now. I had a friend, innocently at the time, who asked me one day in science class “What are those things on your face?” referring to my awkward middle school acne. He’s a great guy and meant no harm-and I’m pretty sure we just laughed it off. But take me to Target and merely SUGGEST I get the bigger size up and I would cry my eyes out and swear off jeans forever. Never mind the fact that I was 5’7 in 7th grade and the size 10 jeans at the store were the only size long enough to reach my ankles…so alas I would settle and then run home and cut all of the size tags off of my clothes. Snaps to my mom who had to deal with this ridiculous drama. Now here’s the part in this story where my husband would say “I’m so glad we don’t have girls”…and then I would say, “YET”! HAHA. (Also, boys and men are just as capable of suffering form body image issues!)
I even remember swearing off stores where I wouldn’t fit into mediums. Like no way am I going to wear a freaking LARGE shirt. HOW CRAZY IS THIS? Thanks, Society. This continued on for years and years. I even suffered from an eating disorder in college. I think the only reason things didn’t get out of hand for me was my crazy supportive friends, my sister and my mom. I was and am lucky to have had this handful of people in my life to teach me that my worth is not tied to the size of my jeans, the number on the scale, or the calories in my food. What an important lesson to have learned. Unfortunately not everyone has this support system or is capable of reaching out for help. We need more strength in numbers. We need to recognize the suffering of fellow women and become their support system. The future is female, y’all.
So back to this revelation…Since having my second perfect little boy I’ve noticed that the weight just isn’t falling off like it did with M, over 2 years ago. Breastfeeding was enough to have me back in my pre-pregnancy jeans in just under 6 weeks. I did attempt to wear these same jeans around the same time after C was born and they did zip to my surprise but it wasn’t pretty, guys. I wore a flowy top to give the illusion of a flat tummy but catch me at the wrong angle or an unfortunate gust of wind and my secrets would be revealed. It was around this time that I told my husband we needed to take a trip to the outlets and get some new threads. Neither of us have really shopped for ourselves since the boys have been born. I would occasionally stop by the clearance section at Target and throw a shirt in the cart that was 50% off without trying it on, then keep it just because I felt guilty and didn’t want to return it. But I needed substantial and good quality items. Most of all I needed to feel good about myself again. I love my body and what it is capable of. We have two beautiful boys that my body grew and that I gave birth to and that’s F*&%ing awesome. So instead of continuing to say “When I lose 10 more pounds…”, I decided I’m going to dress for my body now, but more importantly I’m going to LOVE my body now.
Now this doesn’t mean that I’m just going to give up on myself. I’ll continue working out but not because of the scale. Because I want my boys to have a healthy momma. I want to set a good example and I want to continue to pick up my 35+ pound toddler while hauling a carseat with a 13 lb baby. Hulk-mom style. This reminds me of some advice that my two best gal-pals reminded me of a while back: These arms that I complain about being too chubby, are the same arms that carry my babies. They may have some “extra-ness” to them…but they are strong enough to hold my littles. I try to remind myself of that when I’m feeling especially fluffy.
So we get to the outlets and I don’t even look for the size 8 jeans. I go straight for size 10 with the attitude that if they’re too big I’ll be pleasantly surprised and try the 8’s but if not-it’s totally fine. The 10’s fit like a glove and I could literally feel myself become more confident. I even said to my husband as we were checking out, “I already feel better about myself”. It wasn’t just the clothes though-it was my attitude that also contributed to this new-found confidence.
We are inundated with images of celebrity moms who are walking the Victoria’s Secret fashion show on the way home from the figgin’ hospital. They are PAID to have a six-pack and toned extremities, guys. Commercials tell us that we need this new diet or that new pill to make us feel and look beautiful. Well I call bullshit. Let’s live in reality and recognize that our bodies do some amazing things, and it’s about time we give them the credit they are due.
Moms-love yourself. It’s not that simple, but I think it is worth it. Some advice that I intend to remind myself of is this: Eat the cupcake. Buy the size 10. Love yourself.