For pretty much my whole life I have been the image of “skinny”: Long legs, lean torso, and a thin face. Despite being the “envy” of people around me I have never actually felt “skinny”. In my mind I was all sharp corners and hard edges with ribs and hips that jutted out. I lacked shape and substance. When people hugged me they would sometimes say, “It’s like I’m hugging air!”. While they meant well and thought they were flattering me, it made me feel like they felt they were hugging nothing at all. Perhaps I just didn’t exist?
Try as I might, I have always had a hard time putting on and keeping on additional weight. It is just how it is and just how I am built. When I became pregnant I embraced my growing body. I was literally “taking shape” and starting to feel less awkward. Despite society having taught us that gaining weight is “bad”, I looked beyond those “guilty weight gain feelings” and loved to caress my ever growing belly. I hoped that my entry into motherhood might finally make me feel whole in my body and less awkward and shapeless.
In my mind, a mother is meant to be soft and comfortable. A mother is meant to be a good place for laying your head and feeling safe. One of my favorite things in the whole world is hugging my mum. Her arms are soft, warm and loving. I honestly worried that my child would not find that same comfort in my “skinny” arms and that perhaps it would feel like air was hugging them. How would I be a good mother if I could not provide that comfort?
After my son was born I stood in front of the mirror after a shower and assessed things. My stomach was soft and sagging, my hips were wider, my face was fuller and I looked like I had not slept in ages. My hard edges and sharp corners were softer and rounder. Despite what society might tell me, I felt confident. I loved my new body! I looked whole and beautiful. I looked like a mother. 🙂 And while my son is too young to tell that he feels safe, warm and loved in my arms, he shows me that he does when he falls asleep in them or lays there snuggled up and smiling at me. 🙂
Being the photographer for the “Body After Babies” photo shoot was amazing. It was empowering to see so many women come out and embrace who they are! You all amaze me. 🙂 The word “skinny” should really be erased from our vocabularies since beauty comes in so many different shapes and sizes. Rather than strive to be “skinny” we should aim to be healthy and self confident. That is so much more beautiful than constantly striving to look like one of the many unattainable airbrushed images that we are bombarded with daily!