After I birthed and nursed my second child my body changed dramatically. My bountiful and heavy breast became small and saggy. My body sprouted new round hips, and my stomach gained some extra skin and a slight diastasis recti. In the beginning I was just focused on getting in shape, running again and ditching my stretchy maternity pants that I wore almost everyday.
I quickly realized that no amount of running would make my breast full or erase that extra skin around my midsection. This new body was here to stay.
It was the first time in my life that I was insecure about my figure. Now that I think about it, I was lucky, it took me 29 years to join the 91% of women who are unhappy with their bodies.
That number is astounding, it’s disgusting really, but it makes me think of what that percentage looks like for mothers. Mothers like me who didn’t “bounce back”. Mothers with droopy small breast. Mothers who didn’t have surgery. Mothers whose genetics and gym habits didn’t lend themselves to flat stomachs, sans extra skin and stretch marks.
In the morning when I’m preparing to exercise my girls question me,
“Mommy why do you always have to exercise?” (they use the word always loosely)
I respond with a LIE..
“I exercise so I can be healthy and strong!”
It’s PART truth, so that makes it a WHOLE lie. Mostly, I exercise because I always want to be 5 pounds thinner. I exercise so that maybe my arms will shrink and my stomach will lose an inch or two. I exercise in hopes of getting the toned legs that my husband has without exercise. I exercise so I can be healthy and strong.
I lie to them so that maybe they will grow up and not be counted in the 91 percent.
I lie to them so that I will remember to thank God for my legs that are walking. My lungs that are breathing and my heart that beats 100,000 times a day.
I lie so that I can hear the words come out of my mouth.
I lie because if they believe it, maybe I’ll believe it too.
Exercise and flat abs are wonderful. Toned-muscular legs and cut arms are beautiful but so are stretch marks, and extra skin. So are small breast that nursed babies, and soft arms that carried them. I’m sharing this because there isn’t just one type of beautiful body. I’m writing because I want that 91% to disappear. That 91 can change, one woman at at time, and I want one of those women to be me.