The other week I overheard a conversation between some women that made my brain start to tick and had me composing a blog post in my mind.
The conversation went something like this:
Woman 1: Oh...I don't let people take my picture. I'm way too fat now.
Women surrounding her: Oh no! You aren't fat! You look great!
Woman 1: You're just being nice. I do let people take pictures of me when I'm not fat, but I'm definitely fat.
Women around her: You look fantastic, for what it's worth. We're fat!
Add to this the regular woe of women talk, all while they are chasing around toddlers waiting for VBS to open up.
In my brain I was shouting: Shut up! You are all beautiful! Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can't we feel good about our bodies? Why do we have to think that we need to look like pre-pubescent boys to be considered healthy and beautiful? (Add in extra frustrations here).
I was going to write a post about how we should encourage one another. We should jump into the photos with our kids because they aren't going to see our extra rolls or our imperfections, just their mothers.
Then, I got sick.
Bear with me for a minute here.
I worked really hard during Asher's pregnancy to stay active and eat right. Sure, I gained the same amount of weight I always do, but I felt great and I thought I looked great.
Afterwards, I still felt great and thought I was looking pretty good for having just had a baby (again, bear with me, this is not me asking for "you look great!!" comments).
I refused to get on the scale because I know that it takes time to get back and I didn't want to be freaked out by something that is just a number and has no bearing on who I am as a person.
But, I got sick and had to go to Urgent Care.
Guess what they do when you go to Urgent Care? They make you step on a scale.
I stepped on with trepidation, but thought, "How bad can it be? I'm 4 weeks post partum, I'm sure I within a certain range."
The number flashed before my eyes (mind you, I was wearing jeans and shoes, which definitely adds 10 pounds, right? lol) and my self esteem plummeted.
That stupid number was all I could see, which made all of those good feelings I had from all of the healthy choices I've been making for the past year and a half go flying away. For the rest of the day (and week, to be honest) all I could think about was my stomach that still makes me look about 5 months pregnant if I'm not sucking it in (hello, I just had my 4th baby, 4 weeks ago!!). All I could think about was how "fat" I was and how awful I felt and how ugly I was.
I found myself avoiding the camera. We were up in the beautiful Sequoia forest and King's Canyon and I was there with my youth group and my family and I was ducking away from the photos or shielding myself with children.
I was those women.
Finally, I told Sam how I was feeling and he told me to knock it off because he married a beautiful woman and he wasn't about to not be married to one, so I needed to stop getting so down on myself. (He's great...I have an awesome, supportive husband).
He's right. Of course, I am still recovering from having a baby and my body will continue to change, especially as I get back into working out and continue to train for the 1/2 marathon. But, my kids love me (and love to play with my squishy belly) and I want them to look back and see pictures of us enjoying life together. I want them to remember a mom who loved herself and loved them as well.
In the Bible it says we should love others as we love ourselves. I do a pretty crappy job of loving myself and treating myself well. It's time to change that.
So, I changed my facebook heading photo. I put up our most recent family photo in front of General Grant, the Giant Sequoia tree. After the photo was taken I picked myself apart. But, I'm putting it up to show that I'm trying to not let it bug me. I love my family and I love that it's complete in this picture. I'm not going to let my brain get in the way anymore.
I challenge others to do this too. Get in the picture. Stop being so negative. Chances are, in 5 years you will look back longingly on those photos and wish you looked as good as you did then (which is what I find myself doing...ha!).