It wouldn’t be easy to choose one word to define myself. I like to think of myself as pretty multi-dimensional. I am a lot of things. Perhaps first and foremost I am your classic over-achieving liberal arts major, jack of all trades and master of none. So, to choose one word, that is almost impossible.
But if I had to pick one – I am a mother.
I am grateful that my journey to motherhood was easy. It was not without tears and pain but I consider myself lucky. I grew two healthy, beautiful little girls. I grew them. Inside of me. And I brought them in to the world. And thus far I have lived to tell the tale.
I am a mother.
And I am beyond proud. And yet I keep this secret underneath my clothes. It’s not really an issue nine months of the year, but the summer comes and I feel it. Shame.
I have two girls. I tell them both that they should be proud just exactly as they are. But I don’t feel that way about myself.
I feel strong. I am stronger than I have been in my lifetime. I feel capable. Even with some sore muscles from overuse I am proud of the work I have done recently. I am becoming an athlete. My clothes feel good. I stand up straight. I am proud of this body that grew these two babies and continues to help me grow every day. But I can’t seem to feel proud of my stretch marks.
Not long after Lucy was born I made peace with them, the tiger stripes I earned in my last pregnancy. But peace making is a far cry from pride.
In the last month I have done this silly little song and dance. Get the girls ready to go to the pool. Put on the two piece. Look in the mirror. Take off the two piece and put the one piece on. Go to the pool. The other day Em walked in my bathroom while I had on a bikini. “Oh, I like that one, Mom. You got that for your honeymoon. ”
That was all she said. She left my bathroom and I stood there, stomach glowing white against the rest of my month long summer tan. I tried to imagine what I would say when I came out in my signature black one-piece and not the red bikini she had just seen me wearing. I came up empty. There really wasn’t any good reason to change. None at all. Except the niggling shame surrounding my smushy stomach and aging stretchmarks. And that just wasn’t a good enough reason.
This week I did something that made me uncomfortable. I wore that damn bikini all week. And I chased my little Lucy back and forth. And I sat in the baby pool. And I ate an ice cream cone. And I dove for plastic rings with the big kids. In my bikini. And you know what? My stretch marks didn’t actually have anything to do with any of it.
I can’t quite say that I am proud of them yet. But I am not ashamed. And that is a step in the right direction.
Oh, I just love this love-the-skin-you’re-in moment. 43 has hit me hard, and this is a good reminder. It’s time to work it! (You go girl!)
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You are a legend
and an inspiration.
I don’t know about a legend… but if I have inspired you to wear a bikini, well I am not sure I want to take the blame for that. ;) In all sincerity, thank you.
I’m trying so hard to get there. Even since number 1 I have hated my body. Now after number 4 and I’m not in my 20’s anymore, looking in the mirror brings tears to my eyes sometimes. I am still holding on to the 105 pound 21 year old body that once was. You are the shit for taking that step. I hope i can bring myself there soon. I do know I need to start by changing the way I talk in front of my little girl!
Yep. Watching my mouth was a big step!
Man, I went swimsuit shopping the weekend and tried to make magic out of my sad little 2 babies breast fed boobs, and wrassle down the stomach that has never quite popped back to shape after #2. All I could think was that I don’t want may daughter to ever feel less then because of the way she looks. I am determined not to talk smack about myself in front on her… and do an ass load of sit ups while she’s not looking.
HA! An ass load, fo sho! It is crazy how you can suddenly hear the nasty self-talk when you imagine what they might be hearing. I guess since the stinking kids contributed to the demise of our youthful bodies they should be blamed (credited?) with helping us to accept it, too, right?
Fake it till you make it? My body does not look like yours but I (mostly) do ok with accepting it is what it is. But being proud of it? Heck of a long way to go with that.
Fake it til you make it, mama. I think pride rears its head from time to time in all of us, we just need to make sure we grab it when it comes.
And waiiit a minute… I know you. ;) xo
“peace making is a far cry from pride” – ain’t that the truth. I love this post <3
This is awesome times a thousand. Fifteen months postpartum and I’m still carrying around the weight. It’s moved around a bit, but it’s still there and sometimes I get so down on myself for it, especially since I’ve done what I could to lose it. But I’m slowly realizing that it’s me; it’s a badge of my motherhood. It doesn’t make me ugly. Far from it.
I respect for so many reasons, including these posts. You have ovaries of adamantium for being transparent and authentic. So much love for this.
Awww, you. You love it when I wax poetic about my stretch marks. But really… thinking about transferring my own body image bullshit to my kids? It makes me brave.
You trying to be the best mother you can be makes you brave, and human.
:tear. For real. xxoo
God, I struggle with this one. I don’t have stretch marks, but I have a roly poly tummy. I wear one-piece bathing suits, but I have since the beginning of time. I never really like bikinis. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. No, seriously. My issue is back fat. I freaking hate my back fat. I have a special bra that eliminates the LOOK of back fat, but not the back fat. I have been running around in camisoles trying to come to terms with my back fat. Getting there. Thanks for this.
Well done, Mama
I feel your shame, and if only mine was just the stretch marks…4 kids do a number on a body :)