Monday, February 20, 2012

Body Image: Making that Choice

Sigh... This blogging thing just hasn't been happening much. Sorry. I'm absorbed in other things. Other really good things. But I do think about writing on here. I'm waiting for the app that will just allow me to write a blog post in my mind and post from there. When that happens, I will break down and get an i-phone. I write blog posts in my head all the time. But, alas! I have to type this out all by myself. Boo. :(

I was asked to share my take on body image and motherhood. To tell about my feelings on body image after having a baby, I have to talk about my feelings about body image before having a baby, cause they haven't changed one bit. Let's glimpse into my past, shall we?

I did not always have a healthy body image. In fact, once upon a time, it was very much unhealthy. I could blame my struggles on growing up in the dance world, as well as the body bashing culture that is all too prevalent among females, and no doubt those things were factors in my problems, but they weren't at the heart of it. The heart of it was being ashamed of what was inside; an unhealthy body image was just the way my struggles were manifested.

Now, I won't go in to to detail about behaviors and my personal battles, because I don't feel it's necessary, but I will share this: all the obsessing over my appearance just made everything I struggled with worse. I became even more ashamed of myself, more afraid, more unhappy, and more disconnected from my body.

There came a point when I realized that in order to be happy I had to let go of all the obsessing I was doing. I realized that if I couldn't love myself as I was right then, the person I was inside and out, then nothing I did was EVER going to be enough. If I couldn't love myself with the number on the scale saying what it did, I wasn't going to love myself even if that number dropped. (I knew because when it did drop I didn't feel any better.) To me that meant risking not changing and always being flawed.

I decided to be happy.

It took many years for me to get to a really good place after that. At first it was fighting against my natural way of thinking. But eventually it became more of who I really was. My world changed. I began to make healthy choices out of love, not out of spite and trying to fix myself.

So, here I am. In all fairness, I do have to say my body isn't that different from how it was before (having the lifestyle I do and the kind of pregnancy I had). But it is different. My belly is softer than it used to be, I have a six inch scar from my c-section, and my clothes don't fit like they used to. If I wanted to, I could be critical. It doesn't matter what size you are or what you look like, if you choose to be down on yourself about what you look like, you will be (we see it all the time in the celeb magazines).

I choose not to be critical. I like myself. I like being happy. I love being a mom and if never looking exactly like I did before is the price for getting to be a mom, it's a price I will gladly pay. To quote Amy Adams, I "wasn't put on earth to look good in a swimsuit." Am I perfect about this way of thinking? No. But I keep on making that choice. There's so much more to life, so much more to me, than that. I'm taking care of my body. I'm enjoying where I'm at in life right now. And I'm happy.


Lauren Davison said...

Ooh, I love that Amy Adams quote! :)

Maren said...

Love this. Happiness really is a choice.

Lemonpeel said...

well said Sarah. I think that once you have a baby you enter the real world of woman-hood (at least I did). sure there are body changes but I choose to embrace them! :)

Robin said...

Beautiful thoughts, from a beautiful lady. :)

What I love is that when I choose to be happy instead of critical, I not only feel better, but I really start to look better. Win, win!

Angie said...

Love your thoughts Sarah. Thanks for sharing :)

Raree said...

Holy smokes, I LOVE that quote from Amy Adams. And this was a fabulous post. Amen, my friend. Being healthy is WAY more important than being sexy, and so is being a mother. I've made peace with the fact that my body will not be the same as it was before pregnancy, too. It's liberating!

Sarah said...

thanks everyone for your comments! (and robin, i totally agree, as you will see by the next post i'm working on. :D)

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