I haven’t done a blog post in a while. Between speaking, planning our first conference, emails, Facebook, the blog, starting Instagram, other social medias, networking, being a mother to 5, and business owner……takes deep breath…..you get the point.
But something happened recently and I feel inspired to share. At the beginning of the year I blogged about how we share all things surrounding birth, but in 2013 I wanted to add motherhood into the mix. Part of this has been to share about loving ourselves…every ounce of us. Our weaknesses, strengths, forgiving ourselves, celebrating who we are, and that includes our bodies.
We recently did a ‘loving our bodies’, especially post partum, day on Facebook. It was amazing. So many women openly and bravely shared their pp bodies with hundreds of thousands of people. I thought every single picture sent in represented a strong, beautiful woman. Truly, I did.
We also made a Pinterest board titled “Lovin’ Our Bodies” and Meagan, one of my awesome team members, shared this picture with me…
And I cried. Not one post partum body that was shared that day represented ME. Here I was celebrating all other women, but not myself. This picture took my breath away. I felt this picture was a woman so full of joy and self love. It made me reflect on my big beautiful body that has nourished five gorgeous and healthy children.
See, I have not always been this size. My weight is something I’ve constantly struggled with, but this size…no. Two long, hard years of post partum depression just barely behind me though and I have found myself here, learning to love myself in the moment while constantly worrying about my weight. It’s a delicate thing.
I decided to love myself. To love all of me while on my journey of better health. It’s a daily struggle, but I’ve been doing it. I feel if I’m going to tell other women to love themselves for how they are and if I see such beauty in all of you (I so do), then I need to see that in me. It was going well and then I saw this…
Such an unflattering picture. Don’t people know you take pictures from above, not below? In all seriousness, I cried. I don’t mean a few tears. I bawled my f-ing eyes out for an hour straight. Then I cried again later…and again later. I felt shame. So much shame for putting myself out there and letting others see me…all of me. I felt embarrassed. I felt sad that out of all I have and am accomplishing in my life, that none of it seems to matter to me if I’m fat. I know I wouldn’t see that in one of you. I would see all the beauty in you. How you shine. What you have accomplished. I would love you. While I hate myself.
Logically I know this is ridiculous. I’m loving so much of my life and am so damn grateful. But that deep inner self talk is wretched. It has the ability to take hold of all the good I am and twisting it with self doubt until all logic is gone. Instead of seeing a woman who has worked so hard to get to this point or remembering what an awesome talk it was, or seeing that rad necklace, I see a fat face.
So what do I do? What do you do if you are like me…loving everyone else and hating yourself?
I had to think about it for a few days and this is what I decided. Start seeing yourself how others do. Start seeing yourself the way you would if YOU were someone else. If you were talking to a mama who looks like you and has accomplished as much as you have, what would you say to HER?
Would I tell that woman up there in that picture that she is fat? Hell no. I’d tell her how amazing she was for speaking for the first time to a crowd about birth and motherhood. I’d tell her that it was an amazing experience. I’d tell her that her outfit rocked. I’d remind her that family and friends support(ed) her and that many women shared how Birth Without Fear has helped their lives. I’d tell her how amazing she is that she gave life to five children and lives her life for them selflessly. I’d tell her weight comes and goes and that her beauty shines through regardless of the number on the scale. I’d tell her she is amazing and strong and perfect. I’d tell her I love her.
And I’d tell her to take flattering pictures like this. 😉
What would you tell you if you were a friend?
Since sharing this post about 6 weeks ago, my eyes were opened via comments here and Facebook how I am so not alone. Most women struggle with something and their self image is not true to who they really are.
So, I have been learning to love myself and to be honest, I like me. All of me.
I also launched a BWF Self Love project on Instagram. I’ve been happier and peaceful about who I am. Not everyday is free from negative self talk, but I’m getting there. So can you. Join us in sharing your pictures (yes, be IN the pictures) on Facebook and Instagram!
No make up, editing, angles….just me.
Thank you, thank you sharing this. I thought I was the only one who really, really dislikes the way I look, but find it beautiful when I see pics of other mums who have stretch, big marks, big lovely bellies and double chins. I got almost scared when I started thinking about how other people see me, what they think about me, but it is something I need to do, need to work on. If I meet me I hope I would say that I am a fighter, one who deals with with what is coming her way and constantly work to get better at being me. And that I have kindness and compassion in bucket loads 🙂 and that my body can still be beautiful despite and because of marks, scars, bulges, rolls etc…(don’t agree totally at the moment, but I will work on it)
Again thanks. you such an inspiration <3
I’m sharing this post with my YourNewLife group. We are a very small group of women focused on improving our health through food choices, exercise, and spiritual intentions. I think all of the women in my group can relate to your words. Thank you for sharing them.
The,blog, the person, the story bursts with beauty. Ad I apparently have a
Ong way to go as my first thought was “I nly carried one baby to term, miscarried my other, and it has been 14 years….she earned everything…I am just lazy. One day maybe.
Thank you SO much for sharing your heart!!! It was like reading something right out of my own mind. I have had the same internal battle and thoughts as well i never knew how to, or had the courage to, verbalize them. You really are beautiful and and amazing woman! Just wanted to say thank you and you are f***ing AWESOME!
Thanks so much for writing this. I think you have put into words, exactly how I’ve been feeling. I’m a mom to seven of the most amazing kids ever, they range in age from 6-27, I also have 3 sweet little grandsons. I have a wonderful husband who loves me as much as the day he married me almost 30 years ago and he still thinks I’m sexy. But I spend so much time hating ME that I rarely accept that they all love me just as I am.
You’re so right, I need to see myself through the eyes of those that love me and the God who created me. I need to see myself in the same beauty that you so eloquently expressed.
You are a beautiful woman, be proud of who you are, and others will follow. All the people on this blog are living proof!
I could have wrote this post… Seriously! I’m a fitness and nutrition coach that is obese. I’m on a mission to lose 100 pounds (I’ve lost 30) and I help others lose weight through challenge groups… In other words, I love and encourage others on their healthy journey but secretly hate myself and my body. I tell women they are beautiful no matter what their size, but that doesn’t apply to me. I’m the expert that doesn’t follow her own advice or believe that she is beautiful. I am a mom that works full time, homeschools her two children, runs her own fitness business, is a co-coordinator of a homeschool group, is active in her church, and fiercely loves her family. I am strong, determined, and above all beautiful. Thanks for your honest post.
Don’t try to take flattering pictures. Be natural.
You need to know you look beautiful head on, like in the first picture. It is you for the time being. Love yourself fully, and don’t comprise with “flattering” pictures.
Angles are a facade.
But you can be you and accept yourself.
You are not any less valuable as a person because of your weight, big or small.
That is what I would tell any friend.
Thank you! I needed to read this. And I am going to practice it from now on. Well, practice to practice, if you get my meaning! 🙂
I have had 6 pregnancies; 4 lived, lost one at 3 days, and miscarried twins. I struggle with depression not so much over the babies that have crossed over, but my 3 older children. My sons were stolen, and through my own PI work I have learned where and how they are. But that will never replace the 30 years without them. My oldest daughter seems to not want me in her life very much, and because of this, I will probably never know why.
But all of them are well and happy! What mother can ask for more? And I have grandchildren! 7 grandchildren! And while I would like to be included in their lives, it is better that they are secure and joyful.
All of this has lead me to doubt my own gifts and abilities. Reading this helps me to see myself through others eyes. I am strong to have overcome so much; creative to have taken this horrible pain and turned into a persona I can portray while working Renaissance and Pirate Faires…I have even written an 18 page Independent Study Outline on my Pirate Persona. I have been doing this now for about 30 years…
And I have suggested this type of story/journal writing to a few others…so, I guess that is what I would offer to someone.
You are beautiful, edited or unedited. You have a wonderful, welcoming, warm smile. I have loved your FB posts for the last year very much, and they and this have helped me feel better about myself as a mom and woman. At one of my lowest points, I, a counselor, started seeing a counselor again, and the Lord used that experience to do some really deep healing in my heart through inner healing therapy/theophostic therapy. I hadn’t realized how much hurt was in there and how deep. Thank you for being a part of this journey (as I’m sure it will continue through my life)! Thank you for sharing, and thank you for being you! I pray the Lord continues to bless your life.
Thank you for sharing this. I have always struggled with self image and after having my 4 children it hadn’t gotten any better. I couldn’t see what others saw in me and focused on the negative. Recently I decided I needed to love me the way I am. That it doesn’t matter if I weigh 240 or 130. I am BEAUTIFUL! Its a daily struggle to be positive, like you said, but it is worth it. Birth Without Fear has helped me so much and I am so grateful for all the positivity that is brought into the world because of what you have to say. Thank you again for sharing your story.
My three year old son just looked at the last picture in this post, smiled lovingly, and said “She’s a mommy.” Even he can see what a beautiful mommy you are.