An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Mommy Monday: Struggling With Body Image

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mommy Monday: Struggling With Body Image

There's been a lot of "fluffy" posts on An Uncomplicated Life Blog recently. I like lighthearted stuff too, but I don't want this to become just another fluffy, tip-providing lifestyle blog. Thus, I figured it was time to shake things up and have a serious conversation about an obnoxious, tricky subject: body image.

Last week, I shared this pic on Insta, comparing my pre-pregnancy self with my super-pregs self and my current self.



I was flattered by how many positive and encouraging comments I got from it! Seriously, thank you all. I'm also sure there were plenty of eye rolls and smirks, too. I still want to thank those folks, because you didn't publicly post any of your negativity. Thanks for keeping that tucked inside your dark self!

I'm always honest on this here blog of mine, so why stop with body image and baby weight loss, right? There are many challenges that come with motherhood. Body image has been the biggest personal hurdle for me. Well, that and lack of sleep... But that post would start and end with "Oh my gosh I am so unbelievably, uncontrollably, undeniably tired. The end."

I digress.

As you can see from the pre-pregnancy pic, I'm a fitness and nutrition nut. I enjoy working out five to six days a week. I enjoy eating veggies. Because all of that effort enabled me to be strong and athletic.

I worked out five days a week throughout my pregnancy. Even in the exhausting and pukey first trimester and even in the massive, back-breaking third trimester. I developed a pretty big sweet tooth. While I gave in occasionally, I mostly stuck with my veggie-based organic diet. All that discipline resulted in me gaining 25 pounds, the low end of what's recommended during pregnancy.

After Henry was born, I just started dropping weight. I lost 20 pounds in the first three weeks! Every day I woke up to a smaller waist! I thought returning to my pre-baby body was going to be so easy! I mean, I had done everything right before and during the pregnancy, so that was a given, right? Yeah. No. I thought wrong.

I started seriously getting back into my workouts and eating insanely healthy. Everyday. And still, the results were (and still very much are) S-L-O-W.

I mean, what the heck?! Why wasn't this happening for me at the rate I wanted it to? I have two distinct body image memories from this early time after Henry was born. First, someone said that my priority should be on my baby and not my body. I nearly punched this person in the face! Feel free to dictate your own priorities, but please leave mine alone. After you have a baby, EVERYTHING becomes about the baby. I mean, I didn't go to the bathroom so he could eat when he wanted! Getting my figure back and working out to feel good again was one piece of me that I wanted for me. For my sanity, not my vanity. (Ooooook, maybe a little vanity too. Whatevs, I'm human.) I also wanted to punch all the new mom's who said they "weren't even thinking about the baby weight right now" as they slipped back into their pre-pregnancy jeans. REALLY? You didn't think about it at all, huh? Well good for fickin' you.

The other memory is tougher to share. I debated not going there, but hell, I'm already this deep into it, so why not? I was getting out of the shower (yay, a shower!) when I made the mistake of looking in the mirror that was {not}strategically placed to spotlight your shower exit. I think it was six or eight weeks after I had had Henry. In place of my former yogi-six pack, I saw a bloated, excess-skin covered tummy and a bright red c-section scar. In all honesty, I simply looked fat. I was a 29 year old newlywed and I looked like heck. So I sat on the bathroom floor and sobbed. And sobbed. And contemplated smashing that stupid mirror.

Then I smacked myself in the face and got over my pity party. I no longer sob when I get out of the shower. But there is still a long, disappointed sigh.

One of my close friends told me she really couldn't tell the difference between the first and the third photo. But I can. And at the end of the day, I don't care what others think of me, I care what I think of me.

Because body image isn't about pitting yourself against someone else. There's no comparison. Its about how YOU feel about YOU, and how you see yourself.

I have come a long ways, and am feeling good about my progress. There's still skin hanging around my midsection that I have great disdain for. But I'm also getting my strength back, and I feel great about that. I thought the battle would be losing the baby weight and once that happened, magic! All would be well again. But that's not it at all. The battle is coming to terms with yourself, with what your body just accomplished, with the permanent changes and scars you gathered along the way, and loving yourself anyway.

My hyper-Type A personality isn't there yet. Like I said, I have work to do. And it isn't all physical.

Leslyn's Lovely Life

24 comments:

  1. You look amazing in each of these photos. I am so critical on myself too... But try not to be so hard on yourself. It's a good reminder for all of us! :)

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    1. Thank you! It's just a matter of becoming comfortable with yourself after your body went through the wringer, ya know? I'm working on it. In fact, I think every woman in America is working on it!

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  2. I think we are our own toughest critics...I struggle with the same issues - as do so many women out there!! But you girl are a rock start and that body is incredible because of that middle photo and the fact that you have carried a child in there and now look the way you do!! :)

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    1. So true Biana! We're definitely all our own worst critics and need to lighten up on ourselves.

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  3. Oh girl. I love that you posted this.
    It's so important to feel comfortable in your own skin, regardless of what others see.
    We ARE our own worst critics, and I know that you know that. :) You're awesome girl.

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    1. Awwww, thank you! My fear with this post was that people would think I'm "fishing for compliments" and that's not it at all. I could care less if a reader thinks I look great or horrible. It's all about how we see our own selves!

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  4. I think you look beyond amazing. And even though I've never had a baby, I certainly have struggled with body image all my life, and it's tough, especially when people try and say things they think are nice, but you just want to tell them to shut up. what you think is what matters, as long as its healthy thoughts of course. this does terrify me about having kids though.

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    1. That is spot on - whenever people try to be nice and say something all you wanna do is say, "Shut up, do you know what I used to look like?! This is garbage!" And touche on the healthy thoughts. All of mine aren't healthy, but I'm getting better at it.

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  5. I echo others that you look amazing. I do think we are all so much harder on ourselves than anyone else ever will be!

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    1. Thank you! Yup, it's so true. I wonder why that is? Is it because we see ourselves everyday and notice all the small changes? Or because we hold ourselves to the highest standards? Hmmm...

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  6. You look great before, during and after! :) Body image is a battle with ourselves and it is so much easier to point out the positive on someone else! Our bodies change so much after pregnancy I think everyone goes through a melt down moment!
    xo Krissy @ Sneakers and Sequins

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    1. Thank you! I know as a fellow mama, you can totally relate to the proverbial "melt down moment"!

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  7. You look great but I know what you mean about still feeling unhappy even though everybody else thinks you're crazy.

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    1. Right! It's so frustrating when people are like, "You're insane. You look great" and I'm just over here like, "Yeah, no, I get that, but..."

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  8. Totally agree with everyone that you look awesome and that we are our own worst critic... I notice things about myself that probably no one else (even my husband!) ever would. Love that you're doing what you need to do for yourself... ignore those dumb people and their opinions!

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    1. Haha, I love this comment! You find rather quickly after becoming a mama that you have to tune 99% of people out because of their strong opinions on how you're raising your own child. I should apply that rhetoric to this issue, too! Good call :)

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  9. I love that you said it isn't all physical, because you couldn't be more right. I haven't had a baby so I don't know the struggle moms go through but I can relate on the issue of body image. It's very challenging to see and accept your body and not wish it was somewhere else. Thanks for posting this, you are one inspiring lady :)

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    1. I'm pretty sure that body image is in fact about 99% mental and only about 1% physical. That's why it doesn't actually matter what you look like - it's how you perceive and feel about yourself.

      And thanks for the super sweet compliment :)

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing this. I tell Mark everyday and it makes me feel a tiny bit selfish that I am totally scared about the effects of having a baby on my body.......on so many levels. They have no idea what it is like to grow a tiny human and what that does to you. I think you look freaking amazing and I want to know the details on that black scalloped bra but from one type A gal to another I totally know that mindset. I am going to be emailing you like a crazy person when that day finally comes.....just letting you know to get prepared now ;-)

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    1. Don't feel selfish at all! It is YOUR body, after all, and yup, things are going to change - and most of those changes are unwelcome. And please do email me! I have a growing list of ladies who said the same, because they know they'd get the truth from me... Maybe I should start a newsletter or something?!

      Black bra is actually a full tank. It's from Victoria's Secret circa 2006. It's starting to get thread-bare, but dang if it isn't my favorite lounge-y tank!

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  11. This is a great post! I haven't had babies, but I always feel terrible about myself/can tell when I'm losing muscle/gaining weight, even though no one else can. It's tough!

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    1. It's definitely not a "mom" issue insomuch as it's a woman issue, as sad as that is. I think the big changes becoming a mom puts on your body certainly makes all those issues come to light, though. And just like you said - it's tough!

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  12. Body image is such a hard issue, and I can't even imagine what it must feel like to go through that after having a baby. I don't have kids and am not sure if I ever will - honestly the changes it would mean for my body are one reason why (not the only reason of course, but one reason). For what it's worth, only in my wild dreams would my post-baby body look like yours! Good for you for getting back to a place that makes you feel good.

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    1. Tracy, you're completely right - this issue is challenging for all of us, whether or not we're moms. And thank you a million times over! I have worked hard and continue to work hard on feeling good again. PS, it's mostly due to running and yoga :)

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