Thoughts on Mom Bod Shame

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I spend a lot of time at the gym.

Its so nice because my gym has an amazing daycare and I can totally leave my kids there for long enough to get an amazing workout in, shower, AND do my hair and makeup. I get a much-needed mom break and usually walk out of there feeling pretty good.

As I stand in front of the giant mirror blow drying my hair, I see women walking by. Some of them red-faced and shining with sweat, others laughing with friends after a yoga class. I notice myself looking at their bodies. Looking at their bellies and wondering, do they have mom belly like I do?

Sometimes when I see young women walk in with tight, stretch-mark-free skin featured by their adorable crop-top shirts, I have the feels. I can't stop the waves. I have jealous feels. Pride feels. Shame feels.

I try to stop the onslaught of pain by thinking, "They don't know what its like to have babies. How sad!"

I pull those words over myself like a last-resort blanket to comfort my heart and hide my saggy pancake mom boobs.

As I walk out of the gym holding a hand with one arm and a baby in the other, I remember to square my shoulders and stand up straight. I've been working on standing with better posture because I have a giant slump. Some of it is from carrying the weight of babies. The rest of it is from carrying a heart full of shame.

I hate the way my stomach pours over the front of my jeans. I hate the fact that nothing fits, even though I've tried all the odd and even numbered sizes. I hate the dark colors of stretch marks and the sagging skin between them. I hate the way clothes look but the thought of being naked is disgusting. Its a fight every day to have to come to terms with the fact that I take up 130 pounds of the world and I have to eat, breathe, and take up space to be here. If everything about me could just shrink a little, I think that might be nice.

And yet, my soul whispers truth.

You have a big heart. Its full of love and purpose.
Big hearts need bodies.
And just like hearts expand to fit all the people who belong inside,
bodies expand and grow too.
bodies are extensions of the heart.
hearts need food and water.
hearts need hands to hold.
hearts need safe places to be.
hearts need equal work and rest.
You are allowed to be big and take up large expanses of space.
There is room for everyone here.

So in light of this message from my intuition, I am going to practice being big.

What does that mean? I don't know. First I will notice the things I do to make myself small. Probably by taking note of times I say things like:

There is not enough _______.
This is a dumb idea.
I should have _______.
People are annoyed by me.
People think I am too much to handle.
I ask for too much.
I eat too much.
I talk too much.

I will keep ya'll in the loop of my thoughts and progress.

I am thankful for this space and community to practice being big.
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