I shared my weight loss journey before. And for the most part, I have embarked on a healthier life since writing that post. I now follow a *mostly* paleo diet and exercise 4-5 days per week. But I have not reached my goal, and I still have plenty of room for improvement. That is not the point. I am 32 and regardless of not being in the shape I probably should be in, I have noticed a significant change in the way I view my body.
My Squishy Tummy
I have never had abs. Well I guess I technically have them, but they’ve never been visible. But this stomach, well, it housed the biggest blessings of my life. On top of those never before seen abs, my babies grew from a child smaller than the size of a pin tip into beautiful 8+ pound, healthy babies. Their life began there and they are here because my body did a miraculous thing. I no longer look at my stomach and sigh. Instead, I remember the growing bump that was my children and how my hand was instinctively drawn there for 9 months. I think back on those precious kicks and hiccups that reminded me of the life growing inside of me.
My Flabby Arms
My arms have likewise never been truly toned, but after children and with age, they jiggle a little more. I am infinitely thankful for these arms. They are where my children were placed moments after their births and where they remained for what feels like months. My arms may not be toned, but they are strong. They carried my children while I paced their nurseries during those sleepless nights. They picked my children up when they needed comforting. They allow me to make meals for my family. My strong arms push my children in their swings while they squeal in delight. When my arms are holding my children, all is right in the world.
My Thick Legs
My legs are probably the strongest part of my body. I used to be embarrassed that in spite of my lack of athletic ability, I was approached on more than one occasion and asked whether I played soccer. Now, I am proud of these legs. They allowed me to labor on my terms, and I owe part of my VBAC success on their strength. They are also what helped me during those sleepless nights spent bouncing and pacing just trying to comfort a newborn. They are what allow me to keep up with two very active toddler boys whose favorite activity is outdoor play. Because of them, I am able to chase my children as they ride their bikes through our neighborhood. They are the reason I am able to return to my child’s room long after bedtime because he needs just one more sip of water and in the middle of the night when I just need to kiss that sweet sleeping face.
My Stretch Marks
These did not come about for my first pregnancy. It was not until after I delivered my second child that I saw my stretch marks. They were so low on my abdomen that as my belly grew, I couldn’t see that part of my body. I must admit that when I first saw them, I flinched. I had gained within the recommended weight guidelines for pregnancy so why me? I allowed myself a moment of self-pity, then I reminded myself that it was merely my body making room for this beautiful child to grow healthily. Now, I am proud of my stretch marks in a way. They remind me of my beautiful second baby and that is something worth celebrating.
My Less Than Perky Breasts
If you know me, you know I have a rather large chest. There is no other way to put it. After children, it is also no secret that your breasts change. And change mine did. But these breasts fed my children. I exclusively (with the exception of solid foods) breastfed both of my children for over 13 months. For 6 months, the only nourishment my children received was my milk. Because of my body, they grew into healthy children. That is so powerful, and I am infinitely thankful for the ability to do so. It was not easy, but I stuck with it and was rewarded tenfold. So these breasts that sit a bit lower than they used to? Well, the benefits I reaped were worth it.
My C-Section Scar
This was one of the hardest for me to not only accept, but to embrace. I don’t think I really could embrace it until after having my second child. It sits very low and is hidden by most bikini bottoms. But when I stood in front of the mirror, I cringed. When I touched it, my stomach turned. To this day, the site is still numb and I rarely touch it because to do so feels so odd. But I no longer cringe when I see it. That healed incision is where my first born made his entrance into the world … the moment I became a mom. It was also necessary that he be delivered via cesarean. I am so grateful for the modern medicine by which he was able to be delivered. For all those reasons, I am proud of my scar for out of it came beauty.