There’s no need to be afraid. There’s no need to be bashful. That’s what I tell myself.
What I’m wearing in the photo is no more revealing than a bathing suit at the beach, except my midriff is exposed. The stretch marks on my stomach were non-existent to minimal after my first two pregnancies, but more obvious after my third.
“Why is your belly so squishy? Why is it big?” my 3 year old asks.
“Because you and your sister each lived there for 9 months.” I respond, trying to sound neutral through my initial shock and embarrassment at the questions.
What do preschoolers know about body image? He is not judging me I remind myself. He will know what I teach him. I am a new era woman. I won’t feel bad because I don’t, and can’t, look like a Photoshopped media image. I won’t join a fad diet to drop pounds only to put on even more when my will power wanes.
I have known far too many women with eating disorders, unhealthy obsessions with their physical size and dieting, paralyzed and tormented by their own negative body image. I refuse to be one of them. I hope you can too.
I don’t want my daughter to feel bad about her body. I don’t want her or my son to have warped expectations of female beauty. I will love my body so my kids can do the same for themselves. I will keep any body criticisms I may feel at times to myself, and not let them compromise my overall happiness.
Would I like to get more healthy and fit? Sure. It’s ok to want positive change. I haven’t figured out to do it in a way that is compatible with family life yet, but I will not starve myself or make myself crazy. I also will not apologize for the scars and curves acquired by successfully growing a new life twice.