*Disclaimer-I realize this post has been done 1,000 times by 1,000 different people, however, this is something that I feel incredibly strong about. This has actually been sitting in my drafts folder for some time while I debated publishing it. I decided that I owed it to myself to be honest and get my feeling on the subject out there as a way to make myself more responsible for my thoughts and actions.
It is no secret that a woman’s body goes through many changes as it gets older, and even more so if it goes through a pregnancy. Things shift, expand, stretch and sag like they never have before. As much as it might bother you to watch helplessly as your body goes through these changes, it’s just the way it’s meant to be.
It is a very natural reaction to try to cling onto the 20-year-old version of yourself. It is natural to want to shed “baby weight” as soon as you give birth or the few extra pounds that you may have collected over the years. I admit, there have been moments – more so lately – where I look in the mirror and see nothing but flaws. Jeans that barely pull up over my thighs, a squishy midsection and thicker arms that are squeezed so tightly into sweaters that fit less than 2 years ago. It’s annoying, it’s completely deflating and the fastest way to make you hate yourself. This, my friends, has to stop.
Lately, I’ve been trying to change the way I look at myself. On a good day, I am able to take a step back and really evaluate what I’m looking at and it makes me realize that I am being entirely too critical on myself. A squishy midsection and big thighs? Who cares. I’ve always been on the muscular side and quite frankly – being skinny would look ridiculous on me. Instead I see the woman – the mama – that I have become and to be quite honest, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Even as I type this, that pesky little voice in the back of my mind is screaming “Liar! Get back on that scale and tell me it doesn’t bother you!”. This, more than ever, is when you have to take a step back and tell that voice to shut it and that you won’t listen to it anymore.
My body is proof of everything I have been through. 32 years of playing and getting injured as a child, sports throughout high school, late nights in college, pregnancies and many, many other things that have made me who I am today. I was pregnant for almost a year straight between both pregnancies and I’m only a few pounds heavier than when I started? That’s pretty amazing. Sure, I would like to lose a few more pounds and tone a few things up, but will it kill me if I don’t? Nope. My body endured an unmedicated childbirth – possibly one of the hardest things a body or mind could go through – and I’m freaking out about a few pounds and a squishy belly? Wow, Anna, come back to reality.
When I think more about it, it makes me so furious that there is such a push for women to be stick thin and frankly, unhealthy looking. What happened to curves being sexy? When was an hourglass figure replaced with skin and bones as an ideal body? Why is it alright to push yourself to the max in order to achieve a body that is so tiny that you look unhealthy? It’s not alright, and I hope that more women begin to realize that. You are beautiful as YOU, not what you think others want you to look like.
I can’t promise that I will never have a negative thought about myself, however I can promise that I love my new womanly body and as a result, everything that comes along with it. While, yes, I did love my 20-year-old body…I do not want it back now. I love cheeseburgers and a good beer waaaay too much to give them up, and I would have to give up basically everything I love in order to do that. I am much more mature now, both physically and mentally, than I even could have imagined then. I love every inch of my curves and what it has meant for them to get there. While I may workout or eat a salad – it is because genuinely like being a healthy person and I want to be the best mama I can be to Amelia.
I challenge you – the next time you look in the mirror, instead of noting each and every flaw that no one but you notices, look instead at the wonderful and beautiful person that you are. If you choose to workout, do it because you enjoy it and you want to be healthy, not because you feel that you need to be another person’s idea of perfect. Be comfortable as you, no matter what your interpretation of that is.