Written by Lauren
"I am not skinny enough. I am too skinny. I look sickly. I have too much fat on my legs. I will never look the same. I will never look like her. I will never be enough."
Those are just some of the thoughts that would run through my head as a teenager, young adult, and adult. I have dealt with negative self image thoughts for as long as I can recall. I was always the twig that wanted to gain muscle or anything to give me some "body" as a teenager. Then, I got to college and started eating unhealthy, not sleeping, and not exercising as much and found myself "too fat" and really just wanting to be fit. My poor body could not catch a break no matter how it looked.
In my mid-twenties I became pregnant with my first child. Embarrassingly enough, I was afraid of what it would do to my body. I had finally gotten to a "fit enough" point in my life and I was afraid to give it up, but I wanted to be a mom more than anything. As the months went by with many big changes (husband living away for work, building a home, moving, and preparing for a baby alone) I found myself not "showing" like other women do during pregnancy. At birth I measured the size that most women do at three months. I had barely gained 13-15 pounds when I checked into the hospital. It was not because I did not eat nor because I was overly stressed but it was because that is just how my body handled that pregnancy. I had a healthy six pound baby.
Why tell you about my pregnancy that did not destroy my body? The remarks that came with looking smaller destroyed me mentally and emotionally. If people did not know I was pregnant, then I did not tell them. If they asked my due date, I gave a vague answer. I had remarks from "you must not be eating" to "don't you care about the baby?" I can't tell you how many days I spent crying in my home not wanting to go out to hear more from people that thought they knew my situation. I made extra appointments to make sure my baby was growing. I ate three meals and four snacks every day and drank mass amounts of water. I avoided all of those random foods and drinks the internet said could affect a baby, took my prenatals, went walking, and avoided anything that "might" hurt my baby. I was sincerely trying to be the best mom I could be to my unborn child but with all of the remarks about how I looked, I felt like I was ALREADY failing my child-- which is my worst nightmare.
Since having my sweet 6.7 pound baby over a year ago, I have been taught so much. I have learned that my body is mine and as long as I am doing my best to be healthy then it is nobody else's concern how I look (pregnant or not). I have learned that I deserve to give myself the same grace I so easily give to others. I have learned that I have flaws and it is perfectly normal to not "love" every piece of my body but to not let it define me or what I do. The most important thing that I have learned, though, is that if I don't start giving my body more grace than my daughter will learn that behavior from me. I don't want her to feel self conscious or avoid life because she isn't comfortable in her own skin. I certainly have my hard days, but I vowed to myself and my mini that I will have more love for who I am and let her see that positivity as she grows.
I definitely do not have a perfect body image but am working each day to sincerely feel better about how I look now. I have a beautiful baby that needs to know that looks do not define us and I will make sure that, at least in my home, we will all be grateful and at least "like" our bodies. We are all so wonderfully different and our uniqueness is nothing less than beautifully imperfect! Remember to give yourself a little more grace today and always!
We are enough! We are beautiful! We are unique! We are blessed! We CAN do anything <3
Remember how loved you are...