Recently, a Facebook memory came up. It was a photo of myself and an old co-worker at a company gala. I remembered when she had posted that, and how it had infuriated me because she looked so good in it and I thought I looked chubby (see below). I looked at it with new eyes, mostly filled with disbelief as I couldn’t find one bit of chub on me. Honestly, my boobs looked fantastic! (This was pre-kid, of course!) Do you ever wish you could go back to your younger self and just slap the hell out of her? This was a perfect time I would have loved to.
So, this made me think about body image. About how hard I am on myself. My lack of confidence to wear most things. The changes in my body since having a child, having sometimes crippling depression after my mom passed away nearly three years ago, and after panic-driven pandemic eating and weight gain. I also thought of all the “badges of honor” women refer to. You know - the stretch marks, cellulite, belly pooches, saggy boobs, thighs that touch, and so on. The things that women say how proud they are of as that body grew their babies.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my baby. I’m so grateful that I was able to successfully get pregnant and carry a healthy child full-term. I hated being pregnant and had a terrible labor, but would do it all again to get this child. But, I do not love my body. I do not love the leftovers. I do not do anything except seethe in envy over the “it’s so easy to bounce back” moms. The moms who said, “Oh, if you just work out your whole pregnancy, you’ll bounce right back”. I did work out my entire pregnancy and didn’t gain a ton of weight, but I didn’t “bounce back”. My c-section STILL creates issues for me with abdominal weakness. My metabolism is slower, my motivation is lower, my exhaustion is higher, and quite frankly, I’m older.
I think it’s great that some women feel so proud of their body’s changes and I am always jealous of the women who wear the bikinis on the beach with the “I don’t care attitude” and truly mean it while I sit under my coverup in my all black (always all black) one piece. I am all for body positivity and do believe that all bodies are beautiful, however I know what is beautiful for ME and MY body. I miss my pre-baby body and my perky boobs, my single chin, skinny arms, and little waist. I miss bikinis and wearing colors aside from black and grey. Most of all, I miss being that motivated girl who got up at 5am to work out and take a class somewhere and then did an afternoon run just for “fun”.
I am really careful to not discuss body image things in front of my son, as I don’t want to ever let him think it’s ok to reduce women (or himself) to words like “fat” or “skinny”. 'Fat' is considered a bad word in our house. Even so, any time that he makes an innocent comment about my belly or something, it stabs in a whole new deep way. It especially hits deep because my husband is in the best shape of his life (he does not lack motivation).
I find it hard to believe I’m the only one here who gets mad if even her own husband walks in on her changing in the harsh daylight. I don’t want someone to sell me a magic pill, shake, or bean. While I am working on the whole body positivity thing, I do want to get back into the groove of working out, and stay motivated. So, I invite you all to comment on this post with ways you stay motivated! As busy moms, how do you do it? Aside from coffee (and magic) beans, I truly want to know. And if you don't have a tip to share, tell me how or why you're proud of your body - I'd love to know that too!