We've been hearing a lot lately about body positivity, learning to love and accept our bodies big or small, embracing "flaws" and finding new found love for our postpartum bodies. We're seeing more ads on tv with women of all shapes, sizes and color and beautiful boudoir shots displaying a variety of builds. The movement is meant to empower women and encourage self love and acceptance which is fantastic but that doesn't mean its easy.
For most of my life I have been not only thin but fit as well. Even after two babies I was impressed with how my body " bounced back." Learning to accept my stretch marks was difficult but seeing that so many people I know had them it wasn't too bad. I could easily hide them under a tankini and even went and had my belly button pierced to add a little glam to my interesting new belly button. After my third baby though my body decided it was time for a change once again. Slowly over the years my weight crept up, each pant size feeling more and more frustrating and my self esteem sinking more and more. I hated myself. I would even go as far as saying I felt like I had lost my identity.
As my daughters ( and sons) have gotten older I have realized that I didn't want them to feel the way I did about my body. I had listened to the women in my family voice their dissatisfaction with their bodies and even though I never saw them as anything but beautiful women that shame had taken over me as well. I new if I didn't learn to love myself that my children would follow in these footsteps. I started by recognizing that I had friends who were voluptuous women whom I found gorgeous! I would see them in bathing suits, fitted tops, skinny jeans and leggings and they always looked amazing to me. Why couldn't I see that in myself? I started with purchasing myself some skinny jeans. I was so nervous about wearing them but to my amazement I felt really good in them and people told me I looked cute. I started to realize that part of what made me cute wasn't just my jeans. It was my confidence. As I started to learn to accept my body I realized that what made me beautiful was my self esteem. I realized that part of all the women I see big and small we look beautiful when we feel beautiful! I had to let go of the thought that my body was my identity. It never was. I'm so much more than the size on a clothing tag. So are you!
It's not always easy though. I have found that sometimes you fall. Sometimes I question myself. Just when I thought I was confident enough to buy myself a bikini, I had a dream that I was skinny again and thrilled about it. Imagine my disappointment when I awoke still a chubby girl with a muffin top. Just in time though I saw this post on Instagram by Bodyposipanda. It really hit home for me. Learning to love and accept your body over years of dissatisfaction is a learning curve. It's not a decision that you make one day and never go back. It's baby steps but with every step you're moving forward, not just for you but for all of us.
Danielle Breach CD(DONA)