By Sarah Ingram
I’d rather eat an entire tractor tire than walk by my reflection in the mirror after the shower. I’ll cut the grass with scissors before I wear a crop top in public. This isn’t a feeling exclusive to motherhood, though it has definitely multiplied through becoming one.
Maybe you, too, have felt this way.
The same belly that is celebrated as it is stretched to house your little ones, is shamed soon after. The same belly people (even strangers) reach out to hold with affection and adoration, but are put off by only days after you’ve given birth.
"Why don't you try this?"
“Lose the baby weight.”
“Get your body back.”
All things we hear on repeat in our own minds, in the media, and by our friends and family. I was actually asked by multiple people if I wanted to try a fat burner to ‘help lose my last fifteen pounds.’ (Ugh. Insert all the yucky, self-deprecating feelings here. I was even still breastfeeding at the time.) I was once asked if I needed the bathroom stall because I was pregnant...after I had given birth. I was asked what my workout routine looked like at 4 weeks postpartum. (Reminder: you should not begin physical exercise until after your 6-week check-up, but always speak with your specific provider for what is best for you and your body.)
A Gentle Reminder
I’m here to gently remind you, and myself, that I never lost my body. I don’t have to bounce back. And I lost the baby weight when I was gifted my precious new addition! Voilà! All 8 pounds 10 ounces, gone just like that. Right into my arms.
My body has served me so, so well. My body has grown and stretched and housed a life. My body has shown up for me, when I haven’t always shown up for her. When I have eaten less calories than I know I needed to so I could look better in a swimsuit. When I have binged junk food on a night out, and forgot my water bottle at home. When I have cringed in the mirror at my deflated belly, after all it’s done for me creating a life (my tiny best friend.) When I’ve referred to my stretch marks as "ugly," instead of their proper, well-earned, scientific name–– tiger stripes.
It's all connected
The way we view ourselves affects our lives as a whole. It’s more than just a passing discontentment with the pant size you’re in. It can affect several areas of your life such as:
Quality of life
Mamas. It’s time to take back our minds. It’s time to see ourselves. It’s time to look in the mirror and give ourselves a compliment, instead of ripping ourselves to shreds. I know I’ve talked about it before, how we are our own worst critics, but it really takes the cake with self-image. We tend to only see the bad; we only point out the things we need to improve.
With a huge sigh of relief, I’m wearing what’s comfortable. Hellooooo yoga pants and tees. With an even bigger sigh of relief, I’m appreciating my body. I’m showing up for my body. I’m hydrating and fueling myself with healthy foods, and indulging in desserts within reason. I don’t always get it right, but the shift is that it’s okay. I’m not seeking perfection, I’m seeking love. I’m reminding the women around me how beautiful they are, and how they are right where they need to be. It’s a journey we are all on, and it would be a lot easier if we were just a lot easier on ourselves.
Choosing to love myself
So today, when I tiptoe across the bedroom, maybe I’ll stop to take a look in the mirror. Maybe I’ll say a nice word or two and move on with my day. Maybe I won’t let what those hurt people said to hurt me. I’ll choose to love myself. I’ll love that tooth that’s a little bit crooked, my belly that’s filled with stretch marks and loose skin, and that cellulite I can’t get rid of no matter how many deep squats I do. I’ll just love my body, right now.
How simple. Yet how huge.
Hi, again, mirror. It’s nice to be back.
Sarah Ingram (AKA The Word Medic)
Hi, friends. My favorite titles I hold are "mama" and "wife." I live in the beautiful state of Colorado, chasing my toddler and my dreams. I traded in my degree in Journalism so I could attend Motherhood University. I anticipate this will be a lifetime of education. I like bad puns, and every Dad joke there is. I’m a firm believer that what mom’s need most is their mental health, so we can show up authentically for our babies. It is my passion to write and forever learn how to be a better mother, for myself and others.