I was listening to a podcast not too long ago and something stuck with me. The speaker said, and I’m paraphrasing:
“We came into this world naked and full of pride, and now we walk around fully clothed, in layers, and ashamed.”
I instantly thought about my struggle between fat glorification and fat shaming. A slew of questions came to me, and I instantly decided I needed coffee, black, if I was going down this rabbit hole with myself.
Can I have pride in my current body and want to change it? If I want to lose the “curves,” am I not proud? Even worse, am I ashamed? If I’m on a diet or talk about losing weight, what is the message my girls are interpreting? If I don’t talk about bettering my body, what message are my girls receiving? Where’s the balance?
I didn’t get any answers that day. I went to bed confused with a racing mind.
Mom Bod Reflection
It was late. I had no reason to be up, and I was restless and exhausted. My lips were chapped. I blindly reached in my side table only to find my treasured chapstick not there. “Toddlers,” I exhaled. I rolled over to my husband’s table and sat up. He always keeps a chapstick on his nightstand. As I applied the minty beeswax across my lips, I caught my reflection in the mirror. My thighs spread out as they press against the mattress. My boobs are definitely no longer those perky 20-year-old boobs I managed to keep till pregnancy. My stomach comes in two sections: a smaller lower rib section with some padding and the mommy fanny pack. Something else happened when I looked in the mirror. I saw me, just as I am at this moment, and I smiled.
I didn’t care about the proof of gravity staring me in the face or the signs of motherhood. I smiled. Just that day, my body did two classes at the gym, weeded flower beds, carried a toddler, two stuffed animals, and a load of laundry down the stairs in one trip. My body was good to me that. I smiled when I saw it in the mirror.
I saw everything. I saw every pregnancy stretch mark, and the ones in my thighs from gaining weight at a rapid pace in college. I saw the scars on my stomach, from a c-section, staph, and multiple bouts skin cancer. I saw every bruise. I saw every roll of fat. I saw the saggy boobs. I saw what my husband sees physically, but then I saw what he describes to me regularly. I saw the amazing.
I let go of the shame. I looked in the mirror and said, out loud “You, Whitney, are pretty damn spectacular.” (I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.)
In that moment of pride, I saw me. I saw a girl who lost her way and wore the weight with aimlessness on her waist and hips like armor. I saw a girl who fell in love with a boy that convinced her she was worthless and all the physical ramifications of the relationship. I saw a woman who fell in love with her husband and celebrated that love with food. I saw a mom who’s tired and exhausted but pretty bomb-diggity. I saw a woman who has struggled for normal glucose since pregnancy and finally got normal test results. I saw a woman carrying a big health risk in excess fat, but I saw a woman who’s amazing and full of worth. That’s where the answers lie.
Neither I, nor my girls, need all the answers to health and self confidence. They need to see their mama embrace the story her body has to tell. They need to see a mama who doesn’t celebrate a body type but who owns where she is and where she wants to be. They need to see a mama honor her body for what it does, not what it looks like.
For the first time in a long time, I am finally honoring my body. Knowing that makes the naked, exhausted, sitting reflection worth the biggest smile.