Saturday, January 28, 2012

This body.

{A letter to you both}

I have been very frustrated with my body lately. When I get out the shower, I avoid the mirror. When I am walking past full length windows, I don't stop to check my self out. I don't like what I see.

Before I had either of you, I took my body for granted. I would get into a bikini and say "Ugh! Look that roll!" when that "roll" was a tiny, teensy bit of belly SKIN, not even chub. Before kids, I would walk into a store, find pants I loved and buy them in size 0 without even trying them on. Right before I got pregnant with you Elle, I gained some weight because I was suddenly working a desk job 40 hours a week. Simple math. I was eating the same, moving way less. Getting pregnant did not help any because I ate more and moved less still. Nevertheless, I came out of that pregnancy pretty unscathed. No stretch marks, belly returned to normal.

Then came along the next pregnancy. I had not lost all the baby weight, understandably since Elle you were only 11 months old when I became pregnant with Brynn. My ab muscles, essentially liquified by my first pregnancy, gave ZERO effort trying to hold things together. The belly grew faster and bigger at an alarming rate of speed. By 36 weeks, I felt like I could not possibly get any larger. So did my skin apparently because those lovely pregnancy battle wounds, stretch marks, made their appearance. I remember I told your dad "this pregnancy is ruining my body!".

But that is not true. My pregnancies ARE my body. My whole life thus far, my body had been preparing itself for motherhood. Getting hips, boobs and a butt- I was gonna need those things (well the butt is a bit of an added bonus). At 17, it was glorious and all looked wonderful in a two piece. One horrible bit of bad luck I have is that your dad knew me then. He saw that body and probably remembers it still. I still measure myself against that body. But that body had done so little except play on the school soccer team and run around with friends. This body has moved mountains.

This body was the greenhouse for two tiny seeds, who grew into two beautiful babies who are my whole life. These legs have strained hard through two natural labors so those babies could be snuggled onto my chest, pink and whaling. These arms have cradled you each in the wee hours of night, muscles tired from rocking. These fingers have now pinched your cheeks 1,000 times. This body is a temple. A place where life was made, delivered and sustained.

But that does not mean I have to love it. And right now I don't. Your body will be both your biggest asset but also perhaps your biggest source of frustrations as you worry about what your body "should" look like, wonder why clothes don't fit like the same on your body as they do on someone else's, why your butt is flatter, boobs smaller, nose bigger. There are a million things about your body that you will never be able to change. But there are some things you can change.

Right now, I am working hard to lose the rest of this weight. I want to like the way I look in pictures (right now I don't even get in front of the camera because I always hate the result), I want to be strong, I want to see muscles again. I want to love my body. It is such a fine balance. I know my body is different. I know I will always have these stretch marks and my skin will never be as tight, but it can be fitter than it is now. I want to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see. And I am getting there. After 3 months of training, I can run 3 miles averaging a 7.5 minute mile, I can lift heavy weight, I even sometimes walk around the house (proudly) in my underwear.

As a mom of girls, I know body image will be something all three of us struggle with. We will have to help and support each other. And when you are both 17 and complaining about the size of your butt in your swimsuit, I will make you read this letter. Try not to meet your husband, at that age... :)

Love Mama.

(lol. sorry for any typos, I accidentally posted the draft!- trying to find and fix them all)


  1. I just recently fund your blog and I am so glad I found it in time for this post. Such beautiful and honest words. With a six week old my body is obviously not the hottest thing on the block right now but I want to be motivated to get back in shape and I worry about my little girl struggling with body image like so many girls do.

    Great post.

  2. Thanks Megan! It does it much better over time. Recovery is slower with the second one, which is hard.

  3. oh my YES. except i had my one (and only, so far) at 21 and i came out completely different than before. i have stretch marks from clavicle to calves and all the extra skin to go with it. fun! oh man, babies are miracles but here i sit 2.5 years later still missing my pre-baby bod. i totally agree that we have to be positive about our bodies in front of our kids though. i don't want my son to think he ruined me. but yeah, motherhood changes us inside and out for sure. :) PS: the shape of a mother blog SAVED my sanity right after i had my bebe. it's amazing!

  4. This is SO CUTE! I love your honesty and your girls will appreciate that you're TRYING to have a positive self image rather than do what a lot of moms do - complain, yo-yo diet, hate themselves, etc. Nice job!!! XOXO!

  5. This is so sweet, and all so true! Great job working so hard the past three months, very commendable!