I walked passed the mirror and pulled my pants higher; they were feeling a little tight that day and all I could think about was how I better start working out and watching what I eat. The kids were laughing and playing in the playroom and I sat down on the couch to finish folding laundry. Again, I adjusted my pants as I sat down because I felt uncomfortable; my stomach was hanging over, they felt tight on my thighs, and then I started to get angry at myself. Angry for not making time to work out, angry for not eating balanced meals, and angry that I was letting it bother me so much.
I finished folding the laundry and sat down on the couch to check my phone. I started scrolling my Facebook feed and came across a very moving post about motherhood. For some reason, any post about motherhood makes me cry these days. It brings so many emotions to the surface that I can’t even explain or didn’t even know I felt. But this post talked about what a lot of posts do; that within the blink of an eye, children are no longer children. It encouraged us to embrace it while we can and be thankful for every moment, even the tough ones. As I sat there with tear stained cheeks and a lump in my throat, my daughter came over and climbed up to lay with me. And that’s when it hit me.
My body carried this little person for 9 months. My body nourished this person for 23 months. And prior to her, my body carried and nourished her brother too. The same body that I was getting upset about and obsessing over. I only mentioned two times but I had pulled those jeans up multiple times that day and beat myself up over the fact they felt tight. And said over and over again in my head how I needed to make changes and how I didn’t feel good about myself. All while forgetting that my two beautiful children helped mold the body I have today. And although I don’t always love it and can make lifestyle changes to work on it if I want to, at the end of the day, it has already done incredible things by bringing them into this world.
I put my phone down and closed my eyes as I rubbed her back and held her tight. And as I sit here and type this, watching her roll around on the floor way passed her bedtime, I’m not even mad she’s still awake. Because it’s these moments, these extra moments I get to spend with her during the day that I cherish. There’s time for discipline and there’s time to just relish in the fact that they’re only little for so long. Our bodies and our health are important but so is the fact that we made human life with them. That our jean size and how we look in a bathing suit matters from a health standpoint, but at the same time, our bodies are a depiction of the very miracles we’ve created.
I’ve always obsessed over body image and weight as I think a lot of other women have. We compare ourselves to other women we see on TV, movies, online, other blogs, and people we see out in public. But most of the time it’s just how we feel inside. We want to be a certain weight because it makes us feel good about ourselves. But shouldn’t motherhood also make us feel good about ourselves? It’s important to be in shape and healthy but it’s also important to recognize bodies are different after kids. And that we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about that. Need a good reminder? Look at your little ones.
Remember how it felt to hold their tiny little bodies and hear them take their first breath. Remember how it felt to watch them rollover for the first time. Remember how it felt to watch them take their first steps. Or say their first word. Or say “I love you” for the first time. Because when you think of all of the wonderful things your body may have “sacrificed” in order to have those moments, you won’t be so fixated on how you feel in your jeans that day.
Want to make a change? Do it. But don’t forget the real reason you’re in that position in the first place. And then go over to your little reasons, kiss them, hug them, and thank them for making you a mom.