Friday, August 12, 2016

Body Image vs Self Image

I had a baby in April. This is baby #7 for me. The last 3 children have come in 3 years. Before I got pregnant I had gotten down to my pre-pregnancy weight. This last pregnancy I gained more weight than I have in a long time. I figured I would lose it in a similar manner than I did the last couple of times. Well, it hasn't happened. Usually I lose about half of it fairly quickly and then pretty slowly to a certain point where I stay until I start weaning my children and working out more. Well, my initial weight loss wasn't very much and I haven't continued to lose. Since I wasn't planning on having my kids so close together I had gotten rid of my larger clothes. Now I'm at a bigger size and I have very few clothes that are not maternity clothes. Part of me kept holding out on buying anything because I told myself that I was just going to lose the weight here soon and I didn't want to invest in something I would only wear for a couple months. However, the more time that went by without me losing weight, the worse I felt for not having anything cute to wear. This left me a couple things to do. I could continue on as I was and hoping, but feeling horrible. I could drastically change my diet, start extreme exercising, and possibly risk hurting my milk supply, or I could accept that my body knows what it needs, I can eat healthy and moderately exercise, and buy bigger clothes. I have changed my diet in the past and my milk changed and it did affect my babies. I'm not willing to do that again. I also didn't want to keep feeling yucky. So, I am buying bigger clothes.

I'm actually really ok with this now. At first I wasn't. I didn't want to admit that I wasn't as skinny as I used to be. I had worked really hard to lose weight before getting pregnant. I've never really worried about my weight before. I usually eat pretty well and while I don't like to sweat I do try to get some moderate exercise in. I have tried to focus on energy level and how I feel physically and emotionally be bigger determining factors. Most of the time this works, but I had become a bit vain. This was my body image. It was not a good one. The thing that I needed to remember was about me. I can be a good mom at any size. I can be a good friend at any size. Size does not determine my self worth. So, I repaired my self image and realized that I do deserve to have clothes that I look and feel good in. If I do only wear them for 3 months, that is ok. I can trust in God that I will always have what I need when I need it. When my size changes I will be able to get clothes that fit. Right now I can get clothes that fit. It's ok.

I wish that so much of our society wasn't fixated on size. I hated seeing so many new moms stressing about losing weight right after having their babies. It was horrible seeing women stressed about what their doctor might say about their weight gain during pregnancy. We all have different bodies. We are built different, have different metabolisms, and different health concerns and needs. I wish that we focused more on just being healthy. If we could support each other in learning how to eat healthy foods and stay fit. And if we would remember to tell each other how special we are whether we are a size 22 or a size 2. Since I can't change anyone else I will work on me. I will also do what I can to build up my daughters and teach them the importance of eating well and being healthy and not focus on size. Hopefully they too can build each other up instead of beating themselves up.

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