For a few years in college and law school I was overweight. There's no sugar coating it: I didn't eat well and didn't exercise enough and it showed. But after my first year of law school, I did something about it. Over the course of two years using diet and exercise, I lost over 40 pounds. And I was proud. Of course I struggled with gaining a few pounds here and there, but overall I was able to maintain a healthy weight that I felt comfortable at for about 4 years. And then I had KJ.
Like so many women, once I had a baby I struggled to get my body "back." Although I lost all the baby weight, my tummy still sagged, and I just didn't feel quite as good about my body as I did pre-baby. Yes, I thought it was amazing that I could grow and deliver a perfect baby boy. But I missed my old body a bit. And then I got pregnant with Sweet Pea. After delivering a second child in as many years, my body really went on strike. Even now, when Sweet Pea is two, some tummy and a few extra pounds are hanging around. I know I don't have my pre-baby body back.
But I'm missing my pre-baby body less. Of course I wish I were smaller and that my tummy was flatter. I wish I looked better in some of my clothes. But I also know that in exchange for some size 4 clothes, I got to carry and deliver two amazing children. I was blessed with the opportunity to feel the first flutter of little feet. To watch hands and feet push at my stomach from the inside. To endure the pain of childbirth (which didn't seem like such a blessing at the time). And to meet the person I had literally carried with me everywhere for 40 weeks.
Being a mother is amazing and an honor. We mothers who are able to carry and deliver children are given one of the greatest gifts in life. And yet, we are so hard on ourselves when our bodies bear the battle scars. We moms are so much more than dark circles, sagginess and stretch marks. We are beautiful, inside and out. We should see that beauty.
This year, Blogher is promoting an own your beauty movement to change the conversation about what beauty means. Women all over the world are writing about ways they are beautiful, both traditionally and non. I encourage you to read about it here: http://www.blogher.com/own-your-beauty?from=hdr and think about what beauty means to you. For me, I see my beauty in two blonde-haired, blue-eyed kids with mischievous smiles and a pure love of life. No size 4 tag can ever bring me anywhere as much joy as KJ and Sweet Pea do.