My internal battle over learning to accept and love my body rages on each day. Today I was reminded of how I never did lose the baby weight, and my jeans don’t fit.
My jeans don’t fit because my body just keeps wanting to hold onto weight even though I exercise and eat pretty damn well. I’ve been dealing with it well. I’ve been accepting and loving myself even though I didn’t lose the baby weight… then this morning happened.
My good morning was ended by the sound of a “riiiiiipppppp.”
As I knelt down to play with one of my twins, my favorite pair of jeans ripped right up the inside of my right leg.
I had noticed as I put them on this morning that they were just a smidge too tight. They weren’t quite as comfy as I remember them being even just a month or two ago.
Bummed, I threw the old jeans out after briefly considering and discarding the idea of repairing them. That’s when things just got even worse.
Pair after pair of jeans got tossed to the side as I realized it wasn’t just the one pair that was a problem. When I say my jeans don’t fit I mean jeans as in like… all of my jeans.
Not a single pair felt right. They all dug in at uncomfortable or unflattering angles. I guess I just didn’t notice so much until recently because well, I live in yoga pants like any self-respecting mom.
Right now I weigh more than I ever have in my life, besides when I was pregnant. Not only do I have “baby weight,” but I have some extra I’ve put on over the last year as well.
It’s one thing to know you’ve gained some weight. It’s another for an overstuffed pair of jeans ripping up the crotch to give you a news flash about it.
This sent me into quite a tailspin first thing in the morning. I did find a pair of jeans that somewhat fit after digging through all the clean laundry baskets for a stray pair of leggings or yoga pants to no avail.
But even that one pair that kind of fit still made me feel like I had to really squeeze in and suck in just about all day.
Did I mention this all happened before a single sip of coffee had hit my lips?
Look, first world problems, I know. No coffee and no clothes that are 100% comfy. There are so many people out there who have it way worse than my chubby butt does, but once acknowledging that, it still doesn’t erase the real pain that hits me when body image issues arise within me.
Since my early teen years, I’ve struggled with body image and disordered eating.
I remember being a varsity athlete in High School and still shoveling down diet pills and restricting my food because I didn’t look like Britney Spears. Literally.
Thinking about it now, it sounds absurd. But the shame over what I perceived to be a terrible and ugly body was real, and it’s still real to this day.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen a mom in a group ask how to lose the baby weight when she literally just had a baby drop out of her vagina a week ago… I’d be able to at least buy a few salted caramel mocha fraps.
Seriously though, the expectations on us to try to morph a body that went through an enormous transformation back into some semblance of what it was before another human inhabited it is ludicrous. Yet it is still real.
When I was pregnant with my first I just couldn’t fathom how I would deal with getting stretch marks. Like my brain couldn’t handle that possibility because NO ONE in my life or in the media ever made it seem normal to have stretch marks. The only thing I ever saw were women decrying their lost bodies and the baby weight and belly pudge that wouldn’t budge.
There isn’t a single time I can remember a single person praising a woman’s body except for its power to be a sexual object. And look, I love being and feeling sexy. That’s awesome too. But it is only ONE of the powers of a woman’s body.
I have times when I can look at my postpartum mombod in the mirror and appreciate it, even love it, even find it sexy. Then there are days when my jeans rip and I feel like a total failure at life.
Because for me, it isn’t just that I feel a little bad because I don’t have a perfect body. No. I am hit with a feeling of complete unworthiness. Like I am a terrible human being.
This part of me that will always and only see myself as disgusting no matter what size I am isn’t something I can easily reason with.
I know that I’m worthy. I know that I’m a good person and a good mom. But the poison that causes me to think otherwise is deep. So deep it’s hard to even access or understand how much it pervades my view of myself.
There is one thing I DIDN’T want to do when this mountain of shame landed on me this morning… I didn’t want to ignore it. Yet, I didn’t want to get sucked under by it or use it as a means to punish myself for my perceived flaws.
What did I do? I tried to do the most love thing I could muster for myself in the moment.
I went online and I ordered two new pairs of jeans in a size up.
In January, I’ll be 33. While I haven’t had depression, anxiety, body image issues, and who knows what else literally my entire life, but it feels like it sometimes. Plus, I’ve certainly dealt with them my entire adult life.
The one trick that I’ve found to be able to live with it is total acceptance.
So today I didn’t even try to convince myself that I was hot. I didn’t try to convince myself that I deserved to feel sexy even though I’m not what my brains says I should be all the time.
Instead, I just said to myself, “I deserve to be cared for no matter what.”
I wasn’t arguing with the voice in my head about whether I’m good enough or not. What I did was sidestep this internal dialogue and decide that it doesn’t matter if I’m good enough. I deserve love and care whether the judge in my head says I’m good enough or not.
That means on Wednesday, I’ll be looking for a package with some new skinny and boyfriend jeans in them that will actually fit and feel totally comfortable on my cellulite covered ass.
Being a mom is hard. Adjusting to a new body and realizing “my jeans don’t fit” is hard. Loving your body every day when you still have the baby weight is hard.
But whatever happens, you deserve care, you deserve love, and you deserve to be your own ally no matter what that little voice in your head says.
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