Miraculously, it’s 7:16 in the morning and neither child is awake. I’m a little giddy with surprise and freedom. Freedom, I tell you! Who ever thought that 5 minutes of extra Me Time in the morning could be so liberating! I’m waking up at 6 every morning from now on! YAY! Here’s a shot of those cuties from our photo shoot this weekend.
But that’s beside the point. Today, I read this article about letting body image go so we as moms can embrace our kids’ precious memories. As I read, I realized that I was justifying why I was reading it. Justifying! Things like, “Well, you are 18 pounds heavier than when you first got pregnant with #1″ and “Your stretch marks are pretty obvious” kept circling in my mind. “So?” you say. “We all think like that.”
Maybe you do. Unfortunately, so many people I know look at me (now) and begin skinny-shaming. Now, I understand why most people do this. It’s one of those back-handed ways of giving a compliment, while at the same time pulling yourself down. “Oh, girl! Shut up! You look wayyy better in that swim suit than I ever will!” “Ugh, will you stop complaining about your weight? Seriously! I could fit three of you into me.” I get it. Really, I do. We all have body issues.
Skinny-shaming, though, has left me feeling more than a little ashamed of my own issues. Like I’m not allowed to feel flubby and unattractive because there are fatter people out there.( There, I said it. Whatcha gonna do?) But it’s the truth! I mentally justify my feelings of inadequacy because I can’t trust someone to sympathize with them. But, this is my blog, and I’m going to just lay it all out there.
I feel fat. Why? I was 120 lbs. before I had #1. I was in the best shape of my life and felt like a million bucks. (Minus the flat chest, but heck. You take what you can get.) I am now 138 lbs. I have thighs that jiggle, a belly pouch that refuses to go away, and a bigger, floppier chest. I feel like my face is fuller than it was 5 years ago, I hate that my clothes don’t fit right, and I have finally given in to the reality that I just have to shop in the “large” section at Ross.
Sure, I’m “little.” The average American woman is a size 12. I fluctuate between a 5 and a 7. But I used to wear a 3. It’s bigger than my old “norm.” I am bigger.
I lost most of my baby weight. With #2, I topped the scales at 170. Not huge, but huge for me. I’m 6 pounds away from pre-second baby weight. But the body changes with pregnancy, and I’m not comfortable with mine.
I gained boobs. Let’s be honest, though. I LOVE my boobs while I’m nursing. After? Not so much… Push-up bras are my best friend. Anything less and my mind automatically begins singing, “Do your boobs hang low, do they wobble to and fro….” Long past are the days that I could look at myself bra-less and see those perfect twins. (TMI? Oh well…)
I’ve never had a “thigh gap” (and really, ladies, a thigh gap is not desirable…). I’ve also never had rug burn from my thighs rubbing. UNTIL now. Sometimes I love my new, shapely legs. Other times, I feel like I’ve got Jell-o for body parts.
I had a family member say, “Are you pregnant?” in all seriousness, with a touch of moderate worry for me, as I was holding #2. A week ago. That was fun.
#1 routinely asks if I have a baby in my belly. As he kneads the excess skin and fat like a baker in a bread shop. It’s just the other side of mortifying.
I’m still wearing most of my maternity shirts because nothing else fits. I feel like I’m going to be called onto “What Not To Wear: Lazy Moms Edition.” But NOTHING ELSE FITS. And part of me doesn’t want to go waste money on new clothes, because as soon as I do, I’ll probably end up pregnant again because I’ve put it off for two years, and then they won’t fit either after the new baby comes. At least maternity clothes are cute now?
I hate being around other women when we all start discussing our body issues. Mine are immediately dismissed as my attempts to get attention, but every other woman can bemoan her bigger waistline and flubbier thighs. Ladies. Let me tell you a secret: even “skinny” girls have body issues. And before you launch into the “just be happy with yourself” diatribe, look in the mirror. I’m working on loving my body. It made people. My husband is addicted to it. But I still have issues. Just like you do. So, before you go skinny-shaming me in the face of your own issues, stop. I don’t fat-shame you. (And if I do, I swear it’s on accident and I’m eternally sorry.) Let’s be friends. We can talk about our “problem areas” together, and then uplift each other. Your body is beautiful. My body is beautiful. They’re just different. They aren’t the way they used to be, and they probably never will.
I just don’t want to justify why I mourn for my old body. That’s not fair.
And now, my 5 minutes of peace is done. #1 has already dressed for his swim lessons, #2 is chatting with him through the crib slats, and my stomach tells me it’s time to make breakfast. So, off to feed the beast and enjoy a day reminding myself that I have no reason to be ashamed of the way I look now (though I could stand to lose a few for health reasons….). My mantra for today: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” and I am proud of my stretch marks.