Most of my life I have struggled with body image. Always unsatisfied with how I looked and constantly trying to achieve what I thought was the only acceptable body type (I know better now that there isn’t one perfect size and shape). Sometimes taking unhealthy measures to get there (extreme diets, excessive exercise, etc.).
I always had it in my head that before having kids I wanted to be a certain size so that it would be easier to “bounce back after baby”… (eye roll). I also had it in my mind that I would be extremely healthy throughout pregnancy which meant eating right and continuing to exercise everyday. HA! Within a week of finding out I was pregnant I became super sick. Exercise just wasn’t an option and the only thing I could eat was bread, lots and lots of bread.
I gained more weight during pregnancy than I had wanted. I hated the way I looked while pregnant and longed for my old body back. I spent most of that time anticipating the day I could finally start working to lose the weight.
But then Jack was born and everything changed. I GREW A HUMAN BEING!?! Suddenly I was proud of the flab and stretch marks as if they were battle wounds. I was in no rush to start dieting and exercising again. Juggling life with a newborn was hard enough work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still working to get back to an active and healthy lifestyle. But this time I’m less concerned about weight and size. Instead, I’m focusing on taking care of myself and my body because it can do amazing things.
I’m so thankful I was able to grow a healthy baby boy. My body allowed me to do that and I want to make sure it can do it again. After having Jack I’ve realized how important it is to honor and take care of our bodies and I want to pass that message along to him. I’m making an effort to love myself, stretch marks and all.
Pregnancy and motherhood has taught me that being and feeling beautiful isn’t about being a certain size or number. It is about taking care of our bodies. For me that means trying my best to be healthy. The healthier I am, the happier I am and that makes me a better mom to Jack. He is my motivator.
You don’t have to go through pregnancy or motherhood to have a body worth honoring and loving. Our bodies are capable of SO much and deserve better care and respect. After all, this is the only body we have to spend the rest of our lives in so shouldn’t we want to take care of it as best we can? That doesn’t just mean being healthy. It means loving and honoring ourselves even when we don’t feel worthy. Trust me, you are WORTHY! Find what makes you feel happy, healthy, and beautiful and use that to motivate you towards a healthier lifestyle and self-love.