This past winter I had the privilege of attending a conference called “Shine” where the main speaker was the talented pastor and author, Bo Stern. Recently Bo also wrote a blog post discussing one of the main points that she spoke of at the conference. To summarize, both were about the shame that surrounds women and their personal perception of their outward appearance and how the only way to truly overcome that shame is with a heart change. I absolutely agree with everything she said….almost.
How many times have you heard the following?
Women need to get their thoughts of their appearance in check because our daughters are watching. (Something similar was also said at the Shine conference)
Fact: Most women walk out of the hospital room, baby in tow, still looking 4 to 5 months pregnant.
Fact: Most women’s body shape changes after baby.
Fact: If this is not the case for you, I will briefly dislike you.
Conversation about a picture that was taken 4 days post baby #1 (I was in a wedding 4 days after having my first): My oldest son: Mommy, is that baby brother in your tummy? Me: No, that’s baby you that Daddy is holding. My oldest: Why is your tummy so big? Hmmm.
Conversation 1 week post baby #2 (In an allergy consult with our oldest son):
Nurse: Oh Sweetie, you probably aren’t in any condition to hold your son for the shots. How far along are you anyway?
Me: Um, I’m not pregnant. Awesome.
Conversation JUST YESTERDAY (keep in mind my youngest is 2 next month): My youngest son: Mommy. Tummy. (points to tummy) Me: Yes. Good job. My youngest son: leans on my tummy Skishy! (huge grin. Means squishy) Way to build Mommy’s confidence love bug. That’s because you were 9.8 lbs stinker.
Despite not doing too much in the workout department, I am thin. Yes, I don’t have too much room to talk about struggles with body after baby. After all, I love my arms; lifting my kids up and down, down and up, and up even higher (bunk bed), has given me great arms. Something else I love? I have a completely supportive husband. He thinks I’m beautiful…no.matter.what. Which helps me boost my confidence. And I have to admit, sometimes when I look at my stomach…just how it is…I’m reminded of carrying my boys for 9 months, how wonderful (you can tell that I haven’t been pregnant for 2 years when I refer to my last pregnancy as wonderful) pregnancy is, and the awesomeness of birth. And yet…
Truth: I feel good about myself when I’m clothed; I’m able to easily hide my body under clothes.
Truth: I hate my naked body. Or rather, my naked stomach.
TRANSPARENT TRUTH: I usually keep a shirt on during sex so I don’t have to be self conscious. How’s that for brutal transparency? (Sorry honey!)
You always hear how it takes 9 months to gain the baby weight, so be kind to yourself, give yourself 9 months to lose those pounds too. But what you see is the supermodels strutting the runway 2 months post baby in LINGERIE. Hmmm. There’s a lot of pressure to quickly get body back. What you don’t hear is that most women actually have to work at getting pre-baby body back, some women will always have slightly different bodies. You mean I have to work at it?! And I have to work at it in between not sleeping, changing diapers, working full-time, cleaning the house, writing blogs, taking pictures, entertaining, bathing, feeding, clothing, etc.?!
Fortunately, losing the weight was never the issue for me. I nursed both boys and the pounds literally just melted off. I could eat every Christmas cookie at the table and still lose weight. I was down to my skinny, pre-baby weight within 4 weeks. However, my body was, and is, different. I understand that many women will briefly dislike me for even posting this, because let’s face it…I’m thin and my weight is right where it should be (and I totally understand some of you are far from your goal). However, it’s all about how I feel.
Since being pregnant I’ve purged almost every article of clothing I owned before I had my kids. Nothing fits. My hips are wider, muscle smaller, stomach and ribs wider, boobs smaller (how was that even possible?) and the weight is dispersed very differently. Body is just different. I go shopping for new clothes for myself and usually come home with bags of clothes for my kids. Not because what I found was too good of a deal to pass up, but rather, I get so depressed trying on clothes where I just can’t take it anymore. It’s easier to buy something in 2T or 5T that I know will fit my boys and they doesn’t need to try it on. Needless to say I don’t have many clothes right now.
Problem is, in college I destroyed my knees running and haven’t taken the extensive time necessary to properly rehab them. So exercise is a challenge for me. Running was what I loved and I never feel like I’m working out unless I’m running. Silly, I know. But I’ll admit, I’ve been afraid to work at it too because in addition to my knees, my stomach muscles severely separated with the birth of #2 (did I mention he was 9.8 lbs…), I got quite a few stretch marks under my belly button with #2 (and all out front?!), and I have a ton of extra skin (combine 9.8 and all out front).
But now I have a goal. Hawaii in late Spring. Sun. Sand. Family. Hot…Bikini? I haven’t worn one of those in 4+ years! That would be nice.
So, I’m starting P90X…but taking it really easy due to the bad knees. And you know what? If I’m still wearing a tankini in Hawaii, but feel good about myself, that’s okay. Who’s with me?
Readers: What’s one thing you love and one thing you hope to change about your “new” body?