To my dearest friend and fellow anxious mom:
I hear you. I feel your anxiety about leaving your babies for the first time. I’m right there with you. You should be thrilled for this vacation and adult getaway, but instead you are riddled with anxiety about the one day of water activities. Rather than find joy in sunshine and friends your mind is wrapped in worry about the body you walk in. The body that bore your two beautiful children and continues to nourish and feed your youngest. When did we learn to have such hatred for our body? When did vacation excitement turn to bathing suit phobia?
I say this because I’m right there with you. I feel ya. I own the post mom bod tshirt. I may speak out on body image, but that does not mean I am immune from body issues. I don’t love my body everyday. Because that’s not body image. Body image is not about running naked with a flag screaming, “I love my body.”
Let’s be real here. Our bodies are far from what we see on TV and in magazines. And thank goodness they are. You see, my friend, when I start to get that bathing suit blues, I think about my children. I don’t want my children to think that is normal.
I also think about my recovery and go back to the basics. When I start feeling anxious and focusing on my body, I know there is something else, something deeper going on.
Two weeks ago, I found myself feeling ‘blah,’ like really ‘BLAH’! The voice in my head was on repeat: “You are huge. You need to cut back. You look gross. You have your best friend’s wedding in two weeks and you look like THAT?”
And as quick as the voices condemned my innocent body, my strong willed recovery focused mind told them to ‘Fuck off.’ I said a thankful prayer for my eating disorder and its many gifts of recovery. I knew my focus on my body was not actually about my body, but rather about the massive stress in my life.
Deep breath. Enter: perspective. Why on earth do we, as mothers, think everyone is looking at us to have perfect bodies, babies and careers? Well, they are not. I know that. You know that.
Here is my solution: in those moments where I stress about my physical appearance, I think of my children, my most precious son and daughter who I fought so hard to have.
How do they see me? And more importantly, how do I see them?
To me, they are perfection. They may stumble and fall and they will and forever always be perfect. And that is exactly what I am to them: PERFECT. My son does not care if I have a one piece, two piece or any other piece, he just wants me to play.
And what do I want for my daughter? I want my daughter to feel free and loved. I want my daughter to forever jump and splash in her swimsuit. My daughter has been through hell in her short year of life. As she grows and gains appetite, would I shame her for her round belly and thighs? Hell no. So why do I do the same for me? Why do I hide my scars when I praise and show hers off?
My dear friend, would you ever put your daughter in a big coverup to hide her body? No. You put her in a precious two piece, belly bare and you would proudly kiss it because it is perfection. Our children are perfection. We are perfection.
So let us celebrate imperfect motherly perfection this week. Let us embrace what the real anxiety is about: kissing our babies goodbye. Let us hug and sit in the discomfort. Then, let us click our heels and join hands as we put on our swimsuits, curves and all, and jump and splash. We owe it to our babies. We owe it to ourselves, my dear friend.
Love you always,
Your fellow anxious momma.