Before I begin.
I sit here writing this, from a very raw and vulnerable part of my soul. One that has taken a beating from me for years. A place of growth and learning to forgive myself. This is my story, my journey to a place of self-love. A journey of learning what real self-acceptance is and learning what it means to truly love myself.
If you are currently going through and sort of situation in which negative self-talk, weight loss, or body image can trigger you, and or make you question your own self-worth. Then please feel free to skip out on this post. My goal is to simply share my story with you, not to cause anyone anywhere any sort of pain.
I used to be able to trace my skin and not cringe. To feel my stomach and not turn away in disgust. That all changed after I had my first baby. That is where this all begins. I put on a lot.. a lot of weight when I had my first child. And then more when I had my second, I tried to lose weight by doing the exercise I saw on the internet, and crash diets. I was never successful. After my third child, I was my heaviest. My body hurt, none of my clothing fit.
I hated myself, every inch, every food choice I made every stretch mark, and roll. I was disappointed I had “let myself go” I questioned how my husband could love me, how he wanted to crawl in bed next to me at night. I couldn’t fathom how he even wanted to touch me. Even though I was at my heaviest. I was at my lowest mentally.
So I changed.
I took the better part of a year and a half and learned everything I needed to lose weight. I followed a very strict diet, I worked out 6-7 days a week 2-3 times a day. I felt superhuman, and I lost 67 pounds. I would love to tell you that was it, it was over I was happy. My self-image was fixed.
That was not the case, the smaller I got I didn’t get any happier, some days I would feel better. But the constant self-hatred would come flooding back in. I was hungry, I was overtraining, I was not okay. (I will take this moment to say if you want to learn about healthily losing weight please check out Losing weight as a mom.)
Then I got pregnant with my fourth, and it hit me like a brick wall. I could no longer live up to this way of life I had taken so long to drill into my head as “the only way”. That the things I was doing were not okay to continue while I was pregnant. I decided it was time to make a change once again.
Taking the time to unlearn all the things I had drilled into myself, was hard, to say the least. It took my entire pregnancy and still from time to time I have to take the time to remind myself I am no longer that person.
While I was pregnant it was so much easier to say, “Hey wait what about the baby?” I had to think of a way to always remind myself that doing things like that wasn’t the way because after all, I wasn’t going to be pregnant forever. (Even if it feels that way some days.)
I was sitting scrolling through Instagram one night, seeing all these moms who “bounced back” right after having a baby and I felt so much rage, so much self-pity, and hatred because I knew I wasn’t going to bounce back. It was at that moment I realized I was the issue. So, I deleted my fitness account on Instagram, went through my personal account and unfollowed all accounts that were “triggering” for me at that time. Later I did reactivate and then deactivated it again because it was still not good for my mental health. Needless to say, I will probably never open that account again and that’s okay.
Now, this might sound dumb to some people, but it worked for me. I was no longer comparing myself to strangers on the internet who let’s be real, could be photoshopped, retouched, or posing at an incredibly uncomfortable angle to get the perfect photo. Once I did this, teaching myself how to love myself became much easier to do.
Learning to love myself.
My body has gone through many changes. It has grown life, numerous times. It has seen me love myself it has seen me hate myself. It has carried me through childhood, teenage years, child barring, and now carries me through my life as a young, married mother who loves her life. I was horrid to my body when it did not deserve this treatment whatsoever.
Now when I mentioned above that I had to think of a way to always remind myself, that I don’t deserve that. I did find one. Telling myself “What about the baby?” turned into “What about you?” I was now the only person in this body of mine, and I matter too. What is good for my well-being matters, what’s good for my mental health matters.
I did not want to look in the mirror and cringe ever again or spend all my time focused on making myself smaller. I spent months journaling and learning how to balance my food, and removing things off my social media that made me question my self-worth.
I started tracing the stretch marks on my stomach and reminding myself that each and every, line was a lifeline of my children. The ones on my hips, came from my body expanding to make room for those beautiful babies. The stretch marks on my breast from when they grew so that I could be the one and only food source and yet again another lifeline. These stretch marks are not an imperfect blemish on my body, they are a badge of honour, a way to remind me that my body is glorious, and has grown human life.
My stomach will never look the same as I did before I had my first child. This took a long time to accept, I still from time to time wish it would go back. But, then I remember that my body held a 6lbs 15oz baby, 6lbs 13oz, 6lbs 12oz, and an 8lbs 0oz baby. Why would I want that sweet reminder gone? Why would I want to hide the fact that I can and have grown whole ass humans? Yeah, it doesn’t look picture perfect and I’ve got a little extra skin, but who cares. I’m a badass Mom, who creates life with my own body and that in itself is enough of a reason to love my belly.
Where I am now.
From time to time, I wish that my pants still fit from between baby number three and four. (I mean if I’m being honest I’m roughly 20 pounds heavier than when I was at my lowest weight between baby three and four.) Does me wishing that, mean I don’t love my body and I’m going to try and get that small again? Absolutely not. I will never be that small again, I don’t want to be. I just don’t want to have to go pants shopping it sucks.
Where I am now, I’m happy maybe I’m a little bit “chunky” but I love it. I don’t have to worry about eating a “treat food” with my kids and thinking of the calorie value of it and how I will make it fit into my day. I can look in the mirror and know that my body looks good and that when my husband says I’m sexy, he means it. He’s not just saying it because that’s what you do, but because when I feel good I look good and he knows it. (Yes I know how cocky I sound, and that okay.)
I’m not saying I’m going to go not taking care of my body, and not eat healthy food, not eat the nutrient-dense foods that my body needs. What I am saying, is that I am going to live my life, eat the pasta, love my curves, love my belly, my stretch marks, and imperfections.
I’m going to wear the clothing that I think looks good on my body, (just like I mentioned in You are more than just a “Mom”) I will not worry that I don’t look “skinny” in something. Not sit there question if I’m “small enough” to rock it, because damn right I can. I am going to live my life to the fullest, I’m going to show my kids to love their bodies at every stage it’s in. I am going to continue on learning how to love myself and be a confident beautiful, young mom, who can dress it up, dress it down, and go swimming at the beach without getting angry at myself because I’m not as small as the other girls also at the beach. I will no longer wonder if my husband wants someone with a different body shape or size because of the awful words that no longer live in my head. They can no longer tell me his words are untrue.
I have learned to love my body, my imperfections, my cellulite, and all the “flaws” I have. To see myself in the way my husband sees me, to truly believe when others tell me I look good, or when I’m told I’m beautiful. I took the time to repair my thinking, to heal the sad part of my soul that believed I should look “perfect”. Because my body is in its own way, it is perfect for all the journeys it has and will take me on. I will treat it with the respect it deserves, the respect I deserve to give myself.
I hope that you can do the same for yourself. Even if you don’t feel like right now, I hope that one day you too can love yourself.
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