I recently watched a video showing moms of different shapes and sizes wearing swimsuits and bikinis, playing on the beach with their kids. And it made me sad as I quickly realized I had not been that happy and free with my body for years.
In the video I saw the smiles and laughter from the children as their moms played with them; for someone who has spent years focused on body image, I did not notice the cellulite or excess fat on the mom’s bodies. Two weeks later, for the first time since my son was born over four years ago, I played on the beach and splashed around in the water with my son without caring how my thighs wobbled or how people looked at me in my blue and white polka dotted swimsuit.
What I did notice was my husband’s smile as he watched us.
I realized this was one of the first times he has probably hasn’t heard me complain about my body issues since becoming pregnant.
While I know this post will not win me fans, I need to be honest and say, while yes, I do accept my non-bikini body that does not mean I am a hundred percent happy about it. And sometimes rather than have society throw daggers, it would be nice if they understood there is more to an individual’s body issues than they might imagine. Being body-conscious does not mean we care any less about our kids or that we blame them for our shape. My larger hips, while yes, came about post-pregnancy, also stayed because I have always been in love with carbs.
For the first year after giving birth I made the “I’ve just had a baby,” excuse and then all of a sudden four years go by and I realized I could not make that excuse anymore, especially since the “baby” was fully walking and talking!
Apart from the commercial reminder I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the one daily thing that makes me accept my non-bikini body a little more everyday is my son. He tells me he loves my “squishy tummy” as he buries his head in my stomach and flings his arms almost around my waist. He does not care what jean size I fit into or that I now have to walk past the “petite” section of every clothing store but what he does care about is that I laugh with him, run around with him, and smile. I will never be okay with not fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans so I admit once baby number two is out (yes I am pregnant and very happy about it though this time carbs will not be my best friend) and the doctor gives the okay I will be exercising more and watching what I eat again. I also know full well I will never be a size zero and to be honest I probably did not look as hot as I like to recall when I was and it is about time I let go of the teeny tiny European bikinis I have held onto all these years.
What will be different this time post-pregnancy is my attitude. Rather than focusing on my body and how I feel, I need to remember my toddler and newborn need me to be happy. So if my skin wobbles it will not be the end of the world. I just need to prioritize and know what is healthy for me and remind myself it is okay to ask for help when it comes to self-control (when it comes to carbs I have very little!).