There are only two weeks left of summer (Boo Hoo. Woo Hoo!), and last week, my family finally made it to the beach for a few days. We lounged by the pool, and watched the girls show off their newly-acquired swimming skills. Little dude took his first step into the ocean. We grilled burgers and roasted marshmallows. J and I even went for a run on the beach. And I wore a bikini for the first time since the dude was born.
Before this spring, I couldn’t tell you the last time I wore a one piece bathing suit. I’m pear-shaped, with short legs and a long torso, and a one-piece just isn’t flattering. From the time my parents allowed a bikini, that’s what I wore.
Even during my pregnancies, I rocked a two-piece.
Then this guy arrived in December. I was up forty pounds by delivery, and had lost twenty by January. Then I stopped dropping weight. I was eating healthy. (Mostly.) I had begun to exercise. I was nursing all hours. And nada. Zero pounds lost. Zilch.
Nothing in my closet fit. I was too small for maternity clothes- not that I wanted to wear those any more in the first place- and too big for anything else I owned. I was happy enough to shop for new clothes. I love shopping. I love fashion. And honestly, I had just had a baby, so I wasn’t expecting anything to fit. YET.
When April arrived and the kids began to gaze longingly at the pool, I started to panic. I wasn’t ready for a bathing suit. Hell, I wasn’t even ready to wear shorts.
I did some window shopping online (Modcloth and Anthro, natch), and let the idea of a vintage-style one-piece marinate. I settled on a navy blue suit that had many glowing reviews- “sexy”, “sleek”, “chic”, “hides my lady-who-just-had-a-baby body”.
Really though, why all the freaking fuss? Why was I so afraid to just grin and, literally, bare it? I have three children- five, four, and almost eight months- and honestly, I look pretty darn good. I’ve outgrown a lot of my body hang-ups as I’ve gotten older (Turning thirty is good for something, amirite?) and especially once I became a mother.
My breasts aren’t as perky as they used to be, but they’ve nourished three children for a combined 42 months, and counting. It’s amazing to go to the pediatrician when your baby is only nursing, and see how they’re growing, all because of you.
My belly isn’t as flat as it was in my early twenties, but I’ve carried three babies. I have a nice layer of squish for little dude to jump on, because babies like to do that.
My butt and thighs…well, those are my “problem” areas. No amount of working out or dieting is going to change that. I inherited my mother’s pear shape. She’s built just like my grandmother. And while I hope that my girls are long and lean like my mother-in-law, I know that the pear shape isn’t a bad one to have. With all the junk in my trunk, my waist looks pretty tiny.
I’ve also realized that most of the women I know have complaints or anxiety about their bodies. One of my close friends is petite and has a cute, lean and sporty figure. She’s also self-conscious of her thighs. Another is tall and thin; probably a size two. She hates her stomach. Our babysitter, and good friend of mine, is capital H-O-T and very athletic (the first time I dragged her to yoga with me, she popped right into crow. Crow!), and yet, she always seems to want to drop a few inches here or there.
Come on, ladies! You are fabulous. Yes, you. Every single inch. Hindsight is 20/20, and I can tell you, ten years from now, you’ll wish you’d appreciated how gorgeous you looked in the summer of 2013.
Still, it took me most of the summer to get back in the saddle, so to speak. Eh. I’m only human. Maybe when I’m forty, I just won’t give a damn.
Let’s talk about our problem areas! No, just kidding. Tell me about your best bits. I think you’re cute.
I think I have great calves and shoulders. Of course there are some problem areas, but meh. What are you going to do? Love your outlook!
Thanks! All the high heels and halter tops for you. 🙂
I LOVE when pregnant women wear bikinis. It is the best way to rock the body. And good for you putting one back on.
Me too! And shopping for a bathing suit was never easier than during my pregnancies. Thanks!
Loved this post, Brooke! I really struggle with my body image sometimes, and it’s easy to forget that other people do too. You’re a babe. 😉
Thanks Lisa! I think it’s something most of us struggle with. Why? When does it end? How do I prevent my daughters from experiencing it?
This is very top of mind for me, for obvious reasons! I have been lamenting my post-baby body for months. I’m softer in a lot of places and my jeans are kind of tight right now, and when I sit down my belly flops over the waistband a bit. I have a nice little handful there where I didn’t before. It’s really hard getting used to a new body on top of getting used to a new human being who is yours forever.
I wish it wasn’t something I thought about so much, though. When I think about my body from a less critical place, I realize that I take it for granted. It has been good to me; it gets me from point A to point B (and C and D and…) every day. It is generally healthy and allows me to pick up my son and cuddle him and follow him around on all of his little crawly adventures. It saw me through the trauma/miracle that is childbirth! It has done nothing up to this point for me to look at it with anything but love and appreciation.
I know that when I’m scowling into my mirror, I am buying in to the media’s perception of what is beautiful or perfect. Hey, no one’s perfect, least of all me, but also the photoshopped-to-death celebrities in magazines. There’s really nothing wrong with a little cellulite or extra cushion. Are you healthy? GOOD. Count your lucky stars! This is the kind of stuff I have to tell myself so I’m not crying about the number on the scale. 🙂
Anyway, thank you for writing this post, B! I think it’s a really important message that we all need to hear. I know your girls will grow up feeling beautiful for all the right reasons, because they’ve got you for a mama.
I knowwwwww. I would love for you to post your thoughts, J. Both motherhood and running have been wonderful for learning to appreciate my body more. It’s capable of so much. But, vanity. Meh.
Thank you xoxo
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