I learned something about my body this weekend.
I’m proud of it.
Over the last 20 years I’ve struggled, like many if us do, with my body image. Since puberty hit and Jr. High I’ve struggled with my body. I was a “big boned” girl and was always the tallest in my elementary school classes (nicknamed Conan the Barbarian by some mean boys in 6th grade). I wore big thick glasses. I had moved from Denmark and didn’t have many friends. There were a lot of things I just didn’t get. I didn’t fit in and was constantly on the outside and was teased (a lot). Girls wouldn’t include me.
I’ve always felt fat and not fit. I’ve never been happy with where I was. Even at my skinniest (after living in Jerusalem and weighing 20 pounds less than I do now) I was never comfortable in a swim suit. I’d always wear a t-shirt to cover up.
Getting pregnant the first time was really hard for me to see my transform and gain weight. Especially after finally getting to my “ideal weight” after some decent weight gain after marriage. I’ve never felt too comfortable in my own skin. But as I watched my body transform I gained a new appreciation for my body and it’s ability to be a vessel for life.
With this last pregnancy I once again marveled at my new form and ever expanding belly. I was on bed rest for 8 weeks where I lost all muscle. For me just walking was hard for two months. Getting back basic muscle tone has been work. So getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight is still 10 pounds off and the baby is almost 5 months. Everything is stretched and clothes don’t fit the same.
You’d think my response to seeing two beautiful high school girls parading in Billabong bikini’s by the pool would be a moment of self loathing or embarrassment. My old self would have quickly sized up these pretty girls and made a mental cross-comparison of my flaws to their youth.
But here’s the funny thing. I didn’t.
For the first time a felt confident, in my swim suit (from Wal-mart).
I sat proudly in 2 foot kiddie pool with my handsome husband and two darling children. I looked at my children . They passed through me, through my beautifully imperfect body, and come out perfect.
As I nursed my baby in the shade I felt a great sense of appreciation for my body and it’s ability to transform; to gain weight, bare children, provide milk and still have enough energy to chase after the three year old – all on no sleep.
Who would have thought that it would take 32 years to get to this point?