A lot of girls and women have deep struggles with loving their body, but I feel a special tug particularly towards mothers who deal with this issue.
I must disclaim: I am no expert. I have no educational backing or psychological training on this subject. I am simply a mother. A mother who can say with all honesty that other than perhaps small childhood, I have never loved my body more than after I became pregnant.
It is with this fact that I wish to share my journey on how I found a deep love for my mom body.
Finding your ‘WHY.’ The first step I had to take was discovering my ‘why’. Why I wanted to love my body. I believe that with a strong enough ‘why’, anything is possible. For me, the reason was my children. I had such strong role models of women in my life growing up. Those who loved and served others. Women of faith and perseverance. But sadly, I did not have a role model of a positive self-image. I don’t believe I ever came across an adult woman in my youth who didn’t discuss her weight negatively. Perhaps if I had, I may not have fallen so deep in my teens with a hatred for my body and an obsession over my weight. This is what I wanted for my children. Especially for my daughters. I wanted to be an example of a woman who loved her body. Who respected her body and treated it with kindness. I wanted my family to have a strong female role model of loving and respecting their body.
I wanted my family to have a strong female role model of loving and respecting their body.
Become aware of the VOCAL words you say about your body. It’s hard to cut out the negative commentary in your head. But I have found it is a whole lot easier once you cut out the vocal commentary. Become self-aware in what you speak about yourself to others. Notice when you speak about yourself, especially your body, in a negative way to others. Once you become familiar with how you speak about yourself negatively, it starts to become uncomfortably noticeable when you do speak it. This is a great thing! As you become more self-aware you can make the change. The change to STOP. You can actually start seeing your body as a someone. Someone you are poking fun at and hurting. Someone you can develop empathy enough for to start speaking kindness to. Though I still have moments of negative thoughts about my body, I can say truthfully that it is extremely rare. I believe it is in a large part because I have cut out my vocal negative commentary completely.
Find Gratitude for your body. All right, if there’s ONE TAKE-AWAY from reading this, it is this one. Love and happiness are all interlinked with gratitude. This is one truth that has been made manifest to me over and over again. When you appreciate something or someone you can’t help but feel a love for them. You can’t help but feel happy! You have a body. Whatever pieces you feel you need to lose or gain don’t matter. You can always find something, someone thing to be grateful for that your body has or can do. My self-image high where I think I am beyond physically attractive actually happens when I am in my third trimester. I am at my largest weight. I am uncomfortable to the extreme. My ribs feel like they’re breaking. Yet, I feel exceptionally beautiful. Why? Because I am so beyond grateful for the privilege it is to bear a human life. That my body is growing a most important part of society: The hope for the future. State in your mind something that you are grateful for about your body everyday. Your lips that kiss booboos. Your arms that hold babies. The ears that hear every squealing giggle of your children’s glorious childhood. Practice gratitude.
My self-image high where I think I am beyond physically attractive actually happens when I am in my third trimester. I am at my largest weight.
Protect yourself from pressures to become dissatisfied with your body. This is an individual plan based on your triggers. Those triggers that entice you to go off track to find hate in and for your body. For instance, I unfollowed almost every board on Pinterest related to health and fitness. When I see images of women scantly dressed, whatever their size, it influences me to compare. To compare my body to theirs. Most all Health and Fitness boards have pins of women in their underwear. I don’t want to see numberless images of woman’s bodies on my Pinterest scrolls. It’s my trigger. Also, I steer clear as best as I can from conversations regarding weight. This one is really hard for me to accomplish, as it is so commonplace. I usually try to just brush over the topic, or limit contact with persons who frequent weight in conversations. I have found that whenever I listen to a woman either bash her body or express her weight loss or gain I internalize it. I start desiring to look into my own weight. Of course saying no to the scale has been a huge help with this one. Find your triggers and steer clear as best as you can.
Enjoy your body. Do physical activities you actually enjoy! I know lots of women who love going to the gym. They feel great during and after which is awesome! I do not share this joy. I hate gyms. I love going on walks and hiking though. I love riding and playing softball too. An empty playground where I can chase my kids all around it is thrilling to me. Find some physical activities you enjoy and do them frequently! Eat food that gives you energy and tastes yummy. Use your body to provide service to others; what being mom is all about.
Having a mom body is one that bears the joys of sacrifice. A body that truly gives all for another’s nurturing and development. A body that loves and respects. Having a mom body means that you truly hold a most remarkable and important role in society. Your body bears more influence than could ever be calculated, because inside that body… is a mother.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.