It’s time for mothers to reconcile themselves to their bodies.
How much more fulfilled would we be if we knew, down to our bones, that we were worth more than the sum of our outsides?
How many tears wouldn’t be shed when we caught sight of ourselves in a dressing room mirror?
How many sighs would not go up from discontent women when they stepped on the scale?
What would happen if we felt at home in our own skin no matter what happened to us throughout our lives? Puberty. Babies. Menopause. PMS. Marriage. Arthritis. Aging. All of it.
Any of it – what if it didn’t really matter to us all that much?
Can you even begin to imagine a world like that? Where women aren’t bombarded with hundreds of anti-aging skin care products, workout DVD’s and diet pills and the promise to transform you into who you were meant to be?
As if you already aren’t?
Imagine a world without feeling defeat from just looking at ourselves in a bathroom mirror? A world where buying a pair of jeans or flipping through a magazine didn’t bore a hole in our self-worth? A world where we didn’t feel like we needed the perfect Instagram filter to be suitable for others?
Can you imagine how much we would change the world?
Facing much of the brunt of this pressure to be physically perfect are the mom’s.
The moms who live in a world where magazine covers celebrate the shedding of the post-baby body as rapidly as possible. Where the only baby bumps we see are perfect basketball-sized mounds. Where there is no celebration of stretch-marks and cellulite, and in fact, a world where the only place we might feel comfortable admitting we have bumps where there shouldn’t be is with our closest friends.
Any woman reading this is probably waiting for me to reveal the definitive method to unlocking the secret of self-contentment because, heck, don’t we all want to figure out the secret to that? How to love ourselves?
Heck, even I’m waiting for me to give the perfect answer to what really ails us. I don’t have it.
I’m not talking about “self-confidence” when I say loving ourselves. I am talking about the true acceptance of ourselves, and being at peace with our bodies no matter what stage of life we are in.
I’m talking about letting go of the worry over our outsides so that we can instead focus on the inside.
Where we have freedom to love and praise our Creator, not just because we are comfortable with ourselves but because we have come to a place where we understand our true purpose. Where we can focus our energies on solely Him and His work in our hearts. His transforming, glorious work.
A place where we believe that our image is rooted in divinity, not glossy magazine pages, boxes of hair dye or numbers sewn into the waistbands of our pants. A place where we have an absolute understanding of what we truly were made for, and where we know definitively weren’t made for.
Everything now a days is a distortion. We worship the wrong things, like flat stomachs and toned bottoms, but make war with ourselves and within ourselves because we can’t fit into our skinny jeans anymore. It’s like poison. It infects everything.
We have severed ourselves from our purpose.
Every woman will be heartbroken at some point in her life over how she looks. Every woman will feel insignificant because everything manmade silently screams from its pages and screens that there is an ideal for beauty, and that only a select few people fit into it.
I have never felt this way more than since I became a mother. To be brutally honest, I hate my post-baby body sometimes. The marks, the sagging, the softness in the wrong places. No. Thank. You.
Tonight, I realized something about my post motherhood body – there is no such a thing. We probably think of a post-baby body as a fleeting thing. That it exists only temporarily, and after about 6-8 weeks things should begin to return to their “previous settings” as all remnants of carrying our babies slowly start to disappear.
Then it’s business as usual and life can resume. But that distorted view about our bodies could not be further from the truth.
I am STILL the owner of a post-pregnancy body. And I always will be.
A body that I sometimes cry over or grimace at when I look in the mirror. A body I wish was twenty pounds lighter and less lumpy in the wrong places. A body I really wish didn’t run on coffee fumes and english muffins.
For as much anxiety as this body gives me, though, it has surely felt and caused more joy than pain. This is the body that has given and nursed life. It’s mine.
This is the body that belongs to a woman who may still struggle with the altering effects of those events but who couldn’t be more proud of or sold out for her children.
We, women, were not meant for bikinis. Like it or not, whether you believe in Almighty God or in the primordial soup, we were bound for something greater than having our self-worth rooted in our appearance.
Our relationships with our body should be one of purpose, not appearance.
We were meant to make this world beautiful. We were meant to embody grace, femininity and compassion. We were meant to be brave, even when it’s hard. We were meant to smile, to love, to give and to experience. Yes, we were even engineered for motherhood. We were designed for more than worrying over a number on a scale.
Accomplishing any of these things has zero to do with how we look.
So to you mom’s out there, wishing your baby body away, I would say this: realize what your body is and what it wasn’t made for. Break the relationship with your body that dictates from the outside-in, and instead live from the inside-out.
Our perfect creator is not glorified in perfect bodies. A life is not measured in how small our waists are. It is our hearts that need constant work and attention, and where the greatest journeys we will ever know take place. Even if it is right under our own roofs.
Try to take comfort in those stretch marks, in the cellulite or the soft tummy. This is YOUR body, doing what it’s supposed to do. A body that reflects your journey. A map of accomplishments and milestones, made from marks and scars, lumps and softness.