How I Began to Love My Postpartum Body
A snarky meme with body shaming vibes popped up in an unexpected place tonight. Normally, I roll my eyes and continue to scroll (it is the internet after all), but I haven't been able to stop thinking about this despite binge watching several episodes of Game of Thrones. This was shared in a place I consider to be inspirational and motivational for mothers trying to better themselves through fitness. I consulted with my mama tribe and we all reached the same conclusion: the image was in poor taste. It not motivational or inspirational; in fact it seemed to be the absolute opposite of what our fitness program was all about.
The mess of feelings that came to the surface caught me more off guard than the original post did. Most of the time, I am proud of my body. It is definitely not what our society views as perfect, but it has served me well for nearly 35 years. It has grown and nourished two boys. It is strong, it is soft, it is feminine. It is mine. Like everyone else, there are things I am not thrilled with physically, but I am so much more than my dress size (it's 16, by the way). Occasionally moments of self doubt occur. They pop up from time to time, sometimes in dressing rooms, other times while I struggle to button a pair of pants that fit just a week ago. I squash the thoughts quickly by remembering that the woman looking back at me in the mirror is valuable. She has a gigantic brain and fantastic sense of humor. She is compassionate and loyal. She laughs at bad puns. She is loved.
Watching my sons use their bodies has opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about myself. They don't worry about whether their stomachs are hanging over their shorts or how big their muscles are. They hurtle themselves through life without being self conscious. They walk without feeling inadequate. They have not been affected by comments about their figures. My boys focus on what their bodies can do rather than what they look like.
Perhaps we as mothers can take a lesson from our children. We can focus on our body's abilities instead of how they appear in a mirror. Sometimes negative feelings come up, but it's how we handle them that matters. During times of doubt, I focus on my strengths rather than my size. I plan to embrace my laugh lines; after all, I earned them in the best way possible. As for as that nasty meme in a supposed safe spot? I'm not going to let it affect me anymore. I am more than my thighs, more than my belly, and more than my arms.
I am more than enough. I am amazing.
Here are a few body positive quotes that help me to love myself
- My body is an instrument, not an ornament - Alanis Morrisette
- I have a body, but I am not my body. I have a face, but I am not my face. - Iyanla Vanzant
- Happiness isn't size specific. - Anna Guest-Jelley
- It's not my responsibility to be beautiful. I'm not alive for that purpose. My existence is not about how desirable you find me. - Warsan Shire
- You are a human being, not a human body. - Kate Wicker
- To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are. - Sven Goran Eriksson
- Not one drop of my self worth depends on your acceptance of me. - Quincy Jones
- Do something every day that is loving toward your body and gives you the opportunity to enjoy the sensations of your body. - Golda Poretsky
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