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Isn’t it amazing that no matter what size a woman is, she is made to feel self conscious by society?
When I was in high school, I wanted so badly to make it to 100lbs. I didn’t want to look too thin. My grandma to this day, points out that you can see my collar bone and I need to put some weight on. In college, I made it over 100 and found a nice comfortable weight around 115 for most of my adult life.
I eat whatever I want, and I don’t have an extra pound to show for it. I was comfortable and happy, however I struggled to find clothes that fit me. Pants were fine- I always ranged from a 0 to a 4, but I could get them to fit because the majority of my weight is in my butt and hips. Shirts on the other hand never fit me. Dresses, never fit me. I had to find 0’s or XS’s which can be hard to come by. I didn’t fill them out and they just hung on me. It was very frustrating, although not something I really complained about to anyone other than my husband or my mom, because I know a million women would die to have that problem. When I looked in the mirror, though- I was happy. I didn’t have any complaints.
When I became pregnant I wasn’t worried about gaining weight. I knew that gaining weight was simply healthy for me and my baby. The pounds added on pretty quickly though, and people felt free to tell me that they’d noticed. They told me how good I looked with weight on (implying that I hadn’t looked ok before). It was so frustrating that people felt it was ok to comment about my weight, even if they did think they were saying something nice. I gained 50 pounds during my pregnancy. I went from 115 to 165. Again, it didn’t bother me while I was pregnant. I loved the way my body looked pregnant and even felt sexy. But, I did feel the stares and hear the comments about how I finally had some curves and looked good.
Now that I am no longer pregnant, I have a whole new body. I’ve had this new body for 6 months now and it has taken some adjustment to say the least. I lost 20 pounds pretty quickly in the first few weeks, and that’s it. I have plateaued at 141 pounds. Really it’s not about the number on the scale. When I look in the mirror, I look different. I have fat now that I’ve never seen on my body before. I have a belly that, when I sit, hangs over my pants for the first time in my life. My thighs touch when I walk, and my butt jiggles. I can actually see fat ripples if I pinch my skin or squat down. The fat on my legs is oddly uncomfortable if I try and kneel on the floor to play with Caroline- so I sit instead. My joints spread during pregnancy and aren’t returning to their normal location… so my shoulders are wider and my shoes are tight. My XS shirts no longer fit over my shoulders, much less over my belly.
My previous body may or may not return, but in the meantime- I need clothes to wear. So, I cleaned out my closet. I got rid of 90% of the things that don’t fit any longer. My closet looked bare. I sold some, donated others. I only held on to my favorite of favorite shirts in case one day they fit again. I used the money I made on my old clothes to buy new ones. My shirts are now mediums. My bottoms are now a 6 or an 8. It’s definitely a new body.
I cried when I got rid of my clothes. It was probably less about the clothes and more about the new image. I knew I definitely felt self conscious for the first time. My husband looked at me and didn’t understand…”they are just clothes, and you are beautiful”. Then we talked about how we don’t want our daughter to feel self conscious. I was always happy with how I looked, and I want that for her as well. Which means- she needs a mom that’s happy with her body.
I looked in the mirror the next day and realized something. This body gave me my beautiful daughter. This body did something so amazing. It grew a human being. It birthed a human being. It’s nursing a human being. HOW FREAKING AMAZING IS THAT!?! I remember those kicks inside my belly, and feeling like it was so surreal. I know the science…but really, how can my body just grow a person? It is an amazing thing to think about.
So, now when I look in the mirror, or when I notice my belly is bulging over my pants, or that you can see I have a belly through my shirt… I smile. That’s all evidence that I created a life. I am so proud to be a mama- and I have the “battle scars” to show for it. So if Caroline grabs at my belly one day and laughs as it jiggles, I am going to laugh too! And I am going to tell her that she made my beautiful body the way that it is, and that I am so proud of it. I’ll tell her that this body gave me the greatest gift in the world, and that no matter what I weigh, what she weighs, or what any woman weighs… we are all so very beautiful.
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