One of my biggest struggles is body image. After 3 kids my body isn’t what it used to be. My boys were born in my 20’s and the 60 pounds that I gained came off easily. I was back in my pre pregnancy clothes in no time, however, my daughter was born in my 30’s. It’s as if my metabolism just says “nope.” I get up and go to the gym at 5 am, 3 days per week. I eat healthy, I walk, I swim, I actively chase 3 kiddos around on a 24/7 basis and yet, I still hold on to 20 or so pounds from my pregnancy with her. I find that I don’t want to be photographed, I rarely wear shorts, I really just don’t like the way I look right now. I watch every little calorie. My mind is rarely on anything other than my weight or what I’m doing to fix it.
There are so many blogs, articles and posts about body image. How we are all beautiful and perfection is unattainable. Let me tell you something, I have never read anything that made me feel better about my vanity pounds. Never. I know we are supposed to look at the heart, I know that my husband thinks I’m beautiful, I know that I look OK for my age and yet it’s not enough. I want so badly to be in my twenty-something body. I loathe my soft, mommy tummy, the fact that my favorite clothes still don’t fit and that I have limited wardrobe choices. Not because they don’t make clothes that fit me, but because I’m so stubborn that I won’t go purchase bigger sizes.
But then there’s Olivia. I am so aware of how big a part my body image will play in her life. I grew up with a beautiful mother who had the same struggles. She and I share that insecurity. I don’t want Liv’s self worth to depend on her pant size like it does for me. I want her to love her body no matter what her weight, just like my mother wanted for me. This is a hard cycle to break.
I don’t want Olivia to wake up every morning, strip off all her clothes and weigh herself so she knows how she’ll feel about her body that day. I don’t want her to hop back on the scale at night to see the damage done. I don’t want her to know that there is guilt in a treat. I want her to eat a piece of birthday cake without panicking. I want her to enjoy life in her skin because she is beautiful. She is perfect.
And you know what? In her 2 year old wisdom she thinks I am beautiful. She thinks I am perfect. My soft mommy tummy is her favorite place to snuggle. When her sweet little self wakes up in the morning she comes downstairs to cuddle on the couch. She climbs on top of me, pulls my shirt up and lays her warm little cheek on my tummy. It’s her safe spot. I wish I could love it like she does.