C, investigating the red dot that our dishwasher projects onto the floor when it’s in use. He is always trying to figure out how everything works!
I’m kind of nervous to put this “out there,” because I’ve always kept my struggles with body image and weight very quiet. But I realize that I’m not the only woman with this inner battle, so I’ve decided to just own it.
I’ve never been one of those women who can eat anything she wants and not worry about her weight. I’ve never worn a bikini – not that I never could have, but because I was too self-conscious. I even hate shorts.
Ever since elementary school, I’ve always been the athletic, muscular girl. I could kick some serious butt in phy ed class, and that also meant that I wasn’t as thin as many other girls. It’s just my body type: strong, athletic, muscular. I think part of me always struggled with the fact that most of my friends could pull off the bikini and the size 0 jeans. It made me feel fat, even though that wasn’t the case during most of my life.
Fact: I love to cook and bake (to create!), especially when I’m stressed…which leads to eating more when I’m stressed…which, in turn, means gaining weight during stressful periods of my life.
In my second year of college, I had finally reached a point where I was feeling confident in my body image. Then I experienced domestic violence and it threw me into an emotional tailspin. I started putting on weight that was nearly impossible to work off. And why was it impossible? Well, a couple years ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS not only makes it difficult to get pregnant (surprise to the doctors, I had C!) but it also makes it “nearly impossible” (in my doctor’s own words) to lose weight. Oh joy.
When Hubster and I moved away for grad school, I finally felt comfortable with being somewhere that the person who harassed me would no longer know I lived. I joined Weight Watchers, worked out like a crazy person, and lost 10 pounds within a month. Then I found out I was pregnant with C. So much for weight loss.
Honestly, pregnancy provided me with a healthy body image (in regard to my burgeoning belly, anyway) for the first time in my life. After all, this bump was to be celebrated – I was growing life!
But then…postpartum. To the women who are able to escape pregnancy with flat stomachs, no c-section scars, and without stretch marks – I applaud your genetics. I also envy you to no end.
I’m left with many battle scars – from being stretched to the limit by my 8-pound baby and having a surgical scar from an emergency c-section. It’s been 10.5 months and I’m still desperately trying to view these as proud battle scars that resulted in a beautiful, perfect little boy. I’ve dieted since coming home from the hospital. I’ve worked out 4-7 days per week since my OBGYN gave me the clearance to exercise. I’ve trained for a 5k, done boot camps, P90X and more. Honestly, I’m probably in the best cardiac shape of my life. To date, I’ve lost 30 pounds.
I still have 35 to go. The spare tire around my waist that I’m left with is grating on my self-image. I know I should celebrate that I’m almost halfway to my goal, especially since PCOS makes weight loss so incredibly difficult for me. But I haven’t been able to be proud of my progress. PPD has ravaged my self-image even further. It makes me lie to myself with things like, “You’re not strong enough to ever reach your goals,” “You’ll never be good enough,” “You can never be everything that you want to be.” Even though I struggled with my body image for years, these thoughts had never crossed my mind. Rationally, I know it’s just my PPD talking; but it’s so difficult not to believe it.
I stumbled upon a website that seeks to empower women. It’s called The Shape of a Mother and includes pictures (not suitable for work!) of real, un-air brushed, un-touched up women. While I don’t feel empowered yet, I do feel like I’m not alone after perusing the c-section category.
Revelatory truth: Real women have flaws.
The most important thing for any woman with self-image issues is to realize that truth. Real women aren’t like women in media. Real women struggle. Real women have scars. Real women who have carried babies have loose skin. Real women are not perfect.
Now that’s something I can raise my glass of water to!
C was able to spend time with his cousins, ages 2 and 4, last week while we were visiting family. I’m excited that C has cousins so close in age! I think they’re going to have so much fun together growing up.
You should check out my sister-in-law’s blog, On The Night You Were Born. She’s talented, and her writing is so real. Love her!
Lacy at Living on Love announced her monthly challenge for March: create a monthly mantra! I found mine in the “Fitness” category of Pinterest, but it really applies to more than one area of my life right now.
Recovering from PPD is certainly a long road, and I’m a work-in-progress. There are some days when I feel great, like all of it is behind me. Then a bad day hits and I have awful thoughts, as if recovering is not even possible. This mantra is important to me. I can do this. I can keep going.
I’m also continuing to work hard at reaching my fitness and health goals. I’m almost halfway there. Sometimes I’m exhausted by the time C goes to bed at night and I don’t want to do my P90X workout; but this mantra reminds me that I can push myself to do it. It’s a long, slow process that is both possible and worth all the hard work!
To learn more about Living on Love’s monthly challenges, click here.
Pinterest has introduced me to many things, one being clean eating. I had never heard of it before, but basically it’s about putting only natural, nutrient-rich foods into your body. You eat lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats and grains and rid artificial ingredients (including anything genetically altered) from your diet. This article from the Huffington Post provides a great intro to what clean eating is. The Gracious Pantry is a great blog resource as well.
I basically have three concerns with this decision.
- I don’t think I could completely give up milk chocolate.
- What would I do when traveling and visiting others?
- What would I do when eating at a restaurant?
I’m looking for some input from people who have made the commitment to clean eating. How do you handle these situations? Do you still incorporate your favorite treats into your diet once in a while? Thank you for your comments!
Hubster has always enjoyed playing games to annoy me, such as putting one pen out of order in my line of pens or tilting a folder so that it is no longer at a 90-degree angle. Yes, these things do bug me. It’s true – I’m very anal about my things. I like everything to be orderly, in a straight line/angle/pattern. So it was pretty hilarious when I came out of the bedroom to find that my 10-month-old son arranged my shoes like this:
Yup. When he inherited my personality, he also seems to have inherited all of the quirks associated with it. :)
We went to visit out-of-state family this week, so what does that mean? It means that we got sick as soon as we got home, of course! Here’s C, the Mucous Man, and his trusty sidekick, Coughing Kristin:
I adore John Grisham novels and can devour one of them in a few days’ time. Since C was born, I lost the free time and the concentration to do so. I’m so happy to say that I’ve completed #1 on my 25 Before 25 list and just read “The Litigators” over the weekend!
While “The Litigators” is admittedly not Grisham’s best work, I was still thoroughly intrigued. I found myself completely engaged in the life of the main character, David Zinc, cheering for him to succeed. “The Firm” and “A Time to Kill” remain my favorite Grisham reads, but “The Litigators” did not disappoint.
My Pinterest addiction has introduced me to several new ideas for fun things to do with C, including making sensory bottles for him. I had a lot of fun browsing the aisles of Hobby Lobby for fun items to put inside of these.
I came up with some glitter, confetti, pom poms, dice, beads, and ribbon. Did you notice the awesome “C” ribbon? I couldn’t resist!
First, you’ll need to wash the bottles and get those pesky labels off. Some people say that hot, soapy water removes the sticky label residue, but I didn’t have any luck with that. My tip? Baby oil. It’s a little messy, but it does the trick! Next, fill your bottles with your fun items. I put beads, dice, pom poms and ribbon in this one. C will love making lots of noise with this!
I put a few drops of neon blue food coloring in the second bottle, then filled it halfway with water. After adding confetti, I used baby oil to fill the other half of the bottle. Shake to mix the food coloring. I think C will enjoy watching the oil and blue water separate.
In the third bottle, I added pom poms, dice, glitter stars and ribbon. Then I filled it with water.
Apply hot glue to the inside of the bottle caps before twisting them on. Here’s the final product! I can’t wait to see what C thinks of his new sensory bottles!
One of my Facebook friends posted this video, and I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with you all. Enjoy.