I went shopping for swimsuits recently. We’re going on a family vacation to the beach in a few months and I wanted to get a new one. As I tried on countless bikinis and one-piece suits, I realized I had gone up two sizes. I realized I had that annoying belly pouch that hung over my swimsuit bottoms. I realized my butt spilled out of the bottoms and I had stretch marks everywhere. I put the suits back on the rack and I walked out of the store.
I stepped on the scale today. And as I watched the numbers slowly rise, a sense of dread spread over me. The number finally stopped, after what felt like an eternity, and my stomach dropped. I couldn’t believe that the number had gotten so high. I now weighed more than I did when I was pregnant. This wasn’t good.
The guilt started getting to me. I was eight months postpartum and had been cleared to exercise for a while now. I knew I should’ve been going to the gym. I knew I should’ve been eating better. I knew I should’ve been doing all of these things. Why was I so lazy? Why did I have to love chocolate so much? Why? Why? Why?
As these thoughts went around and around in my head, I really started to feel down on myself. I stood in front of the mirror. I held my belly pouch in my hands and frowned. I looked at the stretch marks on my stomach, my breasts, my butt, and my thighs. Despite my husband telling me they were beautiful over and over again, I did not think they were. I did not think I was beautiful.
As I sat there hating my body and getting more and more down on myself, my son started yelling. He was on the bed in my room and this was his ‘pick me up’ scream. I walked in to get him and a smile spread across his face. He started bouncing up and down. He was so excited to see me.
As I picked him up and kissed him on the forehead, it hit me. My son didn’t care about my body. My son didn’t care if my belly had a pouch as long as he could bounce on it. My son didn’t care if my breasts had stretch marks as long as they could feed him. My son didn’t care if I ate chocolate as long as it made his mommy happy. My son simply didn’t care. So why should I?
This body shows signs of wear and tear. It shows signs of the baby I carried, the baby I feed, the baby I play with, and the baby I hold close to me every day.
I’m sure there will be days I look in the mirror and cringe. I’m sure there will be days I force feed myself a salad. And I’m sure there will be days I hate myself for not going to that class at the Y.
But today – today I went to the store and I bought TWO new swimsuits.