This one goes out to all the amazing Momma Bear’s who are doing this messy thing called life with their littles. I am not a momma yet, but heaven all mighty, I am so proud of you. I can’t even keep a house plant alive and y’all are out here keeping a whole human alive. Are you perfect, probably not. Do you occasionally get pooped on, ya that’s a fact. Is your body wrecked from growing a human, most likely. Here is the one thing that I know to be true, you are doing the best you can and I see you.
Motherhood looks different for every mom and no matter what the terms of your pregnancy, you are growing a human….inside you. Have you ever really thought about that? Your body has to expand and change to accommodate the new tenant in your belly. Your hips spread, your skin stretches, your butt gets bigger and your breasts fill. You are stretched to your absolute max and what comes of that is a very small being, born of your flesh.
With the ever changing topography of your body comes a whole other wave of body confidence issues. If you are like the majority of the population, then you battled self loathing prior to the new addition of stretch marks, dimples, leaky breasts and 40 pounds. Our current society thrives on women feeling unworthy, especially new moms. The health and wellness industry is a multi billion dollar werewolf that preys on women’s insecurities and what better time to attack then when you are raw and battered from child birth. Things like plastic surgery, fillers, lifts, Spanx, photoshop and unrealistic expectations feed the ever burning fire of self loathing. Even for the most strong willed, it is a hard road to navigate alone.
When I say I see you, I 100% mean that. I don’t have kids, but I work with women on a daily basis that are battling the same things you are. YOU ARE NOT ALONE even though you may feel that way. There are so many mommas out there who are feeling the same discomforts and fears that you are. It doesn’t matter what age your kiddos are, you may never get used to the new frame you are living in, and that’s ok. This blog is not intended to make you a huge body advocate over night, but I do have a couple challenges for you.
In the face of all of societies expectations for the perfect mom bod that snaps back I am begging you to do a few small things with you babes this summer. They aren’t major, but here goes……
Wear the swimsuit. Yep I said it. Fold that changing body into a bikini and get in the water. By demonstrating acceptance in your own frame, you are modeling to your kids that bathing suits are made for all sizes. If you hide your frame behind pants and long shirts at the beach you are teaching them that only certain bodies are allowed the luxury of baring their skin. By getting into a swimsuit at whatever weight you may be, you are giving them permission to accept their body as well. It seems so simple, but so many mommas are worried about what OTHER people may think. Let those haters be and enjoy the sun on your skin.
Get in the picture. Nope, not a selfie where your body is hidden, a whole ass picture. As I write this I can hear the collective groans from the group and that’s ok. This picture isn’t for you. You don’t have to share it to the world and you don’t have to hang it on the fridge but you do need to document your place in their story. When you aren’t in the picture you aren’t in the quilt of memories they can look back on when you are gone. A memory lasts a while, a picture lasts a life time. Plus have you seen how gorgeous you look when you are playing with your babies? Your eyes light up, you spill happiness from the roots of your hair and you radiate a whole new light. Don’t believe me, let me prove it to you.
Show your kids what unabridged joy can do for the soul. When you are worried about the 40 pounds that you have gained you are not demonstrating pure joy. You are simply existing and that’s not fair. It is your job to teach them how to play and have fun, so laugh from your belly, wear your bikini to the beach and play with little fear of how your body looks. It will be hard but sooooo worth it in the long run.
Support other women. Yes, even the women who seem like they are struggling. Find one thing about her you admire and tell her. We are all battling the same stereotypes and it never hurts to lift another human up. Show your babies that it is normal to compliment other women. Make this a normal practice in your day to day and watch how your babies respond. In the same breath that I ask you to support, I also ask you to NEVER EVER under any circumstance point out to your babies what another human is wearing and tell them it’s not flattering. Or that they should be wearing more, or that’s not appropriate for their body. Nope, never. Never ever. Why you ask? Because it’s not your place and shit flows down hill. If your kids grow up watching you do it, it becomes ok for them. You are their guiding light, so take the job seriously.
Lastly, be present. Like in the moment present. Don’t wait for the day that you have a perfect body to enjoy your time on earth. I hate to pop your high hopes bubble but that perfect body will never actually show up. If you wait for that time in your life where all the things are perfectly aligned you will have missed all that was happening in front of you. You only have 18 short years with these little humans, so more than anything I beg you to be present. Take the burden of how you look off your shoulders and just be present for these little souls.
Mommas, I love you. I envy you and I rejoice in the miracle of the lives you have brought into this world. You are doing great and I see you trying your hardest. I hope this blog challenges you to stretch just a little further from a place of love, happiness and determination. We may have been steeped in a society fueled by self hatred but we don’t have to pass that onto our next generation. Learn the joy of being present, of stepping in front of a lens and just showing up for your kiddos. It may be hard but the change will be so worth it. Embrace all bodies babes, especially the one you are in!
Huge thanks to the women who stepped up and slayed this weekend in Myrtle Beach….who is next?!
Love you all,