14 weeks post pardon
My Muffin Top - A Journey of Self Acceptance
Here is a photo of my postpartum body (14 weeks). Lucky for you I am not brave enough to share a more revealing photo ;) Ha! I do want to be vulnerable about this topic. I love helping women learn to love and appreciate their bodies, it is my passion for very personal reasons. So exposing myself in this way is touchy for me.
I have spent a lot of time internally exhausting myself over where I thought I would (should) be physically after having my wonderful son. After verbalizing my internal physical expectations out loud, I realized how irrational my thoughts are. Why did I think I should be back in pre-pregnancy clothes almost right away? Why do I think there is something "wrong" with me because I'm not? Why do I feel so ashamed of a body that has carried, bravely given birth, and nourished 2 beautiful babies?
I have obsessed over eating, exercising, and what clothes I can find that will cover me up and make me feel "better". Thinking that if I did all of these things exactly right, I would find relief.
The problem is, I have barely (if ever) loved or appreciated my body. Not even at my most "fit" or smallest weight. The even bigger problem is I have rarely accepted myself as I am. There is something terribly wrong and unhealthy with my expectations. I can't help to think there is a connection between loving and accepting myself fully and finding a peace with who I am at the core. Sure, I can hide my insecurities better when I am not sleep deprived, larger than "normal", and experiencing crazy hormones, but they are still there...lingering and accusing.
There is something I feel the need to clarify. Some of you may be thinking, "Poor little Krystle, she is bigger than she was, I really feel sorry for her, boo-boo (loads of sarcasm)." What I want to get across is that I don't think that size is the real issue, anyone can carry self hatred and have a distorted view of themselves.
So ladies, it is time to get real and let it ALL hang out!!! I realize it is my job to un-do the years of slander I allowed myself to endure. I am taking steps everyday to change my internal thought life and dialog. Being intentional to slow down and capture my thoughts. WOW, has it been eye opening. So now, when I say to myself "If I would just work out harder and eat less, I wouldn't hate to look in the mirror so much." I try to combat it with "It's good to move my body and eat nourishing food. My body has been so good to me, so I will be gentle and respectful to my body." At first the amount of negative thoughts crowd out the good. Now, I have good days and bad days, but the good days are growing! Here is what I try to practice:
On that note, I wanted to share a video with you that really touched me. It is called "A Beautiful Body" Book Project by Jade Beall. She is representing 90% of women that are not portrayed in main stream media. So wait, WE are the norm?! Why have I been fed all my life that I was abnormal?
In her first volume, she photographs all mothers. Please watch and soak it up for our sisters, mothers, daughters, freinds and yourself.
I hope you take this journey of self acceptance with me. It takes a lot of effort to change a cultural norm in our hearts and minds, but I believe we can. Someday, this may be viewed as the norm. What a beautiful day that will be...