We’re about halfway through summer, but still many weeks of pool parties and outdoor events until Savannah cools down at the end of September. And I’m still struggling with my post-baby body, even though my baby is a full-blown toddler. I even asked my OBGYN a few weeks ago about how to lose the “pouch” in my lower belly – something he told me won’t go away since I had a C-section. I really wanted to wear a bikini again this summer. I really wanted me and Ainsley to wear matching bikinis. While I realize I can wear a bikini, no one is stopping me, I’m not comfortable wearing one. And I’m OK with it.
As a woman, it’s so easy to get sucked into weight issues and body shaming and bad thoughts. When I was pregnant, I felt beautiful. I loved the curves in my body and growing this human. Then I had Ainsley, and shocker – didn’t lose all the baby weight! I gained almost 45 pounds (I’m 5’3”) and she was only five pounds ten ounces. I cringed at the photos we took in the hospital, zoning in my double chin and make-up-less face, instead of my beautiful new baby girl.
Yesterday we went to a party for the Fourth of July. It was really kid friendly, and I loved watching Ainsley have fun. And you know what? I never had time to feel self-conscious in my one-piece. I had to bend down and up, and sit on the ground, and flop into the pool, and other traditionally unflattering activities in order to keep up with Ainsley. Keeping up with her and participating in her happiness was more important. I even had a stranger tell me I was a good mom. Talk about a high-five to my mental state!
I read something a few weeks ago about how this fellow blogger (Mom Babble) planned on talking to her own daughter about her body. It was so on-point, and so important to me. She wrote about not actually talking to her daughter about her body, but rather teaching her how her body works. Telling her she’s strong and healthy and happy. How to teach her daughter to eat healthy, but also enjoy cake (or in my case, Lemon Oreos!). Teaching her how to enjoy physical activity and to accept the body that we’re given. I’ve thought about that often in the past couple of weeks, especially chasing my toddler around yesterday in a bathing suit.
I remember my own mom feeling really self-conscious about herself, not wearing certain clothing or avoiding situations because of how she felt. And she’s beautiful – inside and out. Being healthy is important to me, but healthy isn’t a size. Occasionally, Ainsley will pull up my shirt to play with my belly button. It’s a bit squishy, but that squishy belly held her while she grew. My grandmother was always heavy. And she was the kindest, funniest, sassiest woman. She had grace, but also didn’t bullshit you. She was one of the best people I knew, and it had nothing to do with her size.
I don’t know if I can completely shake the negative thoughts in my head, I’m doing my very best to realize how special my body is. I chase, carry, push and pull a toddler around A LOT. I’ve been to hot yoga twice in the last two weeks. I enjoy beer and chips and ice cream, but also give myself plenty of water and fresh fruit. I use sunscreen every day and wash my face before bed. I let Ainsley play with my hair, and comb the toddler-infused-knots out after she’s done. I let her squeeze the backs of my arms and play with my belly button. She’s only 18 months, but she’s watching and listening to everything I do. By starting now, I hope to instill in her the beauty of a woman. The importance of being happy over being skinny, and the importance of being positive and healthy over being negative. She’s my entire world, and if she happy and healthy, all will be right with my world.
I had to put in a photo of my best friend and me, taken Summer 2015 when I was about five months pregnant. She’s beautiful, but her soul is even more beautiful then her outside. I bet she’ll be mad at me for even writing about my body negatively because she’s my biggest cheedleader and I’m so thankful for her. I want my daughter to have someone like her because every woman needs to be surrounded by other great women.