Here we go again.
Recently, on a teacher workday, a teacher’s assistant at one of my new schools asked when I’m due. When I told her that I’d had a little one in April, she felt embarrassed…and so did I. So embarrassed that I didn’t tell anyone about it, until now.
Why is that? Why did I need to feel bad about the way my body looks after only 4 months? After TWO BABIES IN TWO YEARS? After physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually handling the loss of my first child and the birth of my second?
I could point the finger at a lot of things. I mean, what am I supposed to think when I see glamorous celebrities bounce back in two months? Society tells us that is the goal. And if you fall short of that, you are failing. Closer to home, we hear it in our conversations with other women. Have you seen so and so? She looks great! or maybe it’s the other way Oh my god, so and so has gained a ton of weight. I don’t know about you, but when I hear other women talk this way, I internalize it. I wonder if people are turning the same critical eye on me. Men don’t talk like this. So, why do we? I mean, seriously, when is the last time you heard your husband gossip about his friend’s beer gut lately? My guess is NEVER.
Again, I could point my finger and place blame all day long, but in the end it comes down to… me.
Me. All me.
I’m choosing to listen. I’m choosing to take it personally. I’m choosing to internalize. It’s me who looks at others and wishes I could look differently or gets jealous. It’s me who forgets all of my beautiful qualities and focuses on the negative (if there really are any!). It’s me becoming a victim of ‘society’ instead of overcoming it.
It all comes down to me.
It’s time that I set myself straight.
Here is the real truth: My body produced two beautiful babies. My pregnancies were only separated by six months. Each stretch mark is a reminder of the 9 months each one of my girls spent making a home inside my belly and my c-section scar tells two very different stories…one of loss and one of hope. The faint wrinkles I have started to notice are a permanent record of every laugh, smile, worry, and fear. How could my body not show the signs of this wonderful life I have lived? Wouldn’t that be a little freaky?
For each of us, all of these stories our bodies tell add up to one beautiful person. The only thing standing in the way is our own perception of ourselves.
BUT (and this is a big but…not big butt haha), we have to be careful not to let our stories become excuses. Or at least, I know I do. I have been gentle with myself after having Charlotte. I haven’t felt like going crazy at the gym. Something about nursing and bouncing boobs during exercise hasn’t really seemed too appealing. Instead, I’ve been enjoying her and going easy on myself. And that’s ok. But, now after a two month plateau in my baby weight loss, I know it is time to change. At this point, my stories have become an excuse for something I can and SHOULD do to be a healthy person and live a long life. I can handle exercising now. It won’t be the same because I have a little one taking up so much time and energy, but I can do something. Something is better than nothing.
I’m trying to remind myself that it is time to change for ME because I want to, not because I think I should. Not because society said so and not because I am comparing myself to others. Of course, those reasons are in there because I’m human and sensitive…but I want my voice to be louder. And my voice needs to be nice, but firm. Compassionate, but encouraging. Understanding, but fierce. And without the guilt. If I’ve tried my best at the end of the day to live a life I love, then that should be good enough. If I didn’t, well… I’ll try again tomorrow.
I don’t think I will have all my Charlotte weight lost in the same amount of time as I did with my Callie weight. And that’s been “weighing” on me 😉 But I have to remind myself that those were different circumstances and I am in a different place now. I can’t compare myself with others… I can’t even compare myself with myself. I have to live for now and remember that my past has given me experience, perspective, and knowledge, but it does not determine my future.
This month, or whatever is left of it, will you help support me as I make a commitment to being a healthy and active person again? Do me a favor… As your Kindness for Callie this month, let’s focus on beauty…REAL beauty. Go tell someone random that they are beautiful. I can’t remember… Have I ever told you on this blog about the time I was in the airport and a total stranger passed me and then turned around and told me, “You’re so pretty.”? It was an older woman. Not a yucky boy hitting on me. Another woman, a total stranger, made it a point to turn around give me a compliment. It made me feel like a runway model. Sometimes, we don’t pass along the compliments that we are thinking in our minds. Why is it such a small act so hard sometimes?
I don’t know, but I want you to go do that to someone else. I will too! Take your lipstick and write the words “You’re beautiful” on the mirror in the ladies’ room. Tell your best friend why they are beautiful both inside and out! Poke your daughter’s squishy tummy and tell her she is drop-dead gorgeous. Please do this for me and for Callie, but also for you. I guarantee you will feel more beautiful afterwards. Share your kindnesses with me if you’d like to. You can list them on the Kindness for Callie log by clicking on the tab at the top of this page or you can label a picture of your kind act with #KindnessforCallie.
Let’s all agree to be kind to each other, but even kinder to ourselves, shall we?
I was sooooo excited when I got Ginny’s email this week: