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Thursday, January 3, 2013

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes... pushing a double seater baby carriage. This nursery rhyme is commonly sung on playgrounds all around the country.  What it doesn't include is "then comes 30 pounds that linger, stretch marks on your tummy, and countless sleepless nights."  Oh, ahhhhhh...  it's been 4 years since I said "I Do" to my husband and on my anniversary, reflecting back on that magical day, I just can't believe the sequence of events my life has taken.  I guess, more specifically, I can't believe that 4 short years later I already have 2 kids.

I got all sentimental on the day of my actual anniversary and sat my son down on my lap to look at pictures from my wedding day.  He loves to look at pictures of his family members, so I knew I could get "away" with getting to browse through my photos and keep his attention if I pointed out everyone in them.  I came across one specific picture that struck me because of what the photographer said when she took it.  Here's the picture:

That's my waist.  It's naturally all mine.
 No corset underneath that dress.
 Just a bra and my body

The photographer said "I've got to get a picture of your waist so you can look back at it and remember it after you have kids."  I laughed then.  "Oh, ha ha" I thought.  Little did I know, that literally 4 years to the day later, I'd find this picture, stop and gawk at it for a solid 5 minutes and think to myself "Dear God, she was right!  THAT'S what my waist used to look like!"  I can not, for a moment, even believe that I used to be unsatisfied with that.  I mean, LOOK AT IT!  I don't feel bad about saying it, I don't feel full of myself for saying it.  I don't feel like I'm gloating.  I had a good thing going and don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

Me and my wedding day waist of my 2nd baby, who came just a mere 17 months after my first baby, it is GONE!  I mean, the natural, "I was just born with it"-ness of my waist is gone.  On my wedding day I was a size 7.  I weighed 130lbs.  I didn't "fad" diet before my wedding. I didn't excessively work-out.  I just was... naturally, a size 7.

Now, I have 2 kids under the age of two, and a weight that is considerably higher than my wedding day 130.  My hips are wider, my butt is wider, my boobs are saggier, and my eyes are baggier from lack of sleep.  I'm 14 weeks postpartum now and I'm in a size 12.  I feel like everything jiggles and my thighs have gotten to know one another when they didn't know the other existed before kids.

  I would like to get back into shape- close to the shape I was in on my wedding day if possible, but I have to say, I AM NOT unhappy with my body.   It's a pretty big deal for me to be able to say that considering where I've come from...

I'll be honest, without getting too "heavy"- I had a serious problem with anorexia and bulimia when I was in my early 20's. It is an aspect of my life that I don't hide but I don't freely discuss either, because it happened in the past and I am a dramatically different person today than I was when I suffered from the disorders.  I have found in my recovery that not dwelling on the details or bringing them up often helps with moving forward and away from the disease.  By the time I got married, though, I had recovered from the disorders.   It is a big deal for me to say I'm not unhappy with the way my body looks because it does look dramatically different than it used to.

Now that I have 2 children, and I have this "slightly used" body, the body image I had has been put into sharp perspective.  I had a bangin' body!  I looked great.  I really was hot.  And I think, the sad thing is most women are like me in not realizing that about themselves before it's "too late."  Most are like me and look back at pictures of what they used to look like and finally realize how beautiful they were- and it's a shame that in the moment when they did actually look that great, they didn't realize it/believe it/trust it about themselves.

I don't have what I used to have, in terms of body dimensions and weight, anymore.  My waist is not sculpted and hour-glassy like it used to be.  I have stretch marks on my tummy that make me look like I got into a sword fight with Zorro and I lost.  Here, I'll prove it. Look at that!

Yikes- yes, that is my tummy.  You can also see my appendectomy scar on the right
side of my stomach from my emergency surgery when I was
28 weeks pregnant with my daughter.  I'm 12 weeks postpartum in this picture
  I am going to have to work pretty darn hard to achieve what used to come very naturally to me.  But what I DO have now, that I didn't have then, are the most beautiful, amazing, and wonderful kids in the world.  Something else that has been put sharply into perspective for me since looking at my wedding pictures is, while I did look great and I would like to look that good again someday, I would not trade the blessings God has given me for even a milisecond to have that body back.  My wedding day really was the happiest day of my life, but 4 years later, looking like I do now, I've never, ever felt more joy or love.  

I'm a far cry from looking like I did
 exactly 4 years ago on my wedding day.
But notice the 2 people in the mirror with
  I didn't have them 4 years ago and they've made my
life infinitely better than it was four years ago! 
I am working to get back into shape.  I realize that I may never look the same as I used to.  I may never have that "tight" look that I had on my wedding day.  I've accepted that.  After all, I'm a happily married mommy of 2.  No hot body will ever be better than that!

 Sure, I totally have days when I cringe when I look at myself in the mirror.  It is frustrating to not be able to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes.  I'd like to sit down without being able to feel my stomach touch the tops of my legs (I'd really love to not feel that!) but I'm not going to dwell on  it.  I've  made it a point to either look at my kids or picture my little beauties in my mind when I start to feel down about how I look.  How can I possibly feel bad about what my body has done for me and what it has been through for me to give me the most wonderful gifts any woman could ever receive?  I make it a point to try and eat healthy, to squeeze exercise in when I can (I have 2 kids under 2...there's not a whole lot of free time, and I do like to blog when I get a free moment!)- But I'm not beating myself up for not looking like I used to- it's a total waste of my time- valuable time I could be spending with my kids instead of sulking over my pant size or the number I got on the scale (by the way, I put the scale in the top of my closet and won't step on it for a few more months.  It's not worth tempting myself with.  It could be a total bummer if I don't see the number I want and what's the point?  It is just a number, after all)

What I'm trying to say is I think there's no space in my life right now to feel like crap about my body because being a mommy and a wife fills up all the space I have.  I try to make it a point to be happy about myself everyday and shun the self deprecating thoughts- that's why I shared that awful picture of my stomach.  I'm honestly OKAY with it, I have nothing to be ashamed of or feel down about but I have every reason in the world to be happy!  I'm healthy, my kids are healthy and happy and if I'm a little more "padded" to enjoy it, then so be it!  I think, as moms, we need to let go of the stigma of being perfect in all the different facets of motherhood- perfect kids, perfect body, perfect home, perfect husband- and just stop and relish the imperfectness of our lives and how wonderful they are in spite of the flaws.


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