That sounds biblical.
But shouldn't it? Shouldn't we love ourselves as much as our parents, siblings, spouses, friends, and children do?
This has been on my radar a lot lately. Since becoming a mom, I've come to love my body more and hate it more. To love myself more and hate myself more.
It's not exactly fair, it's definitely not right. The teeter-totter is tottering back and forth and I'm not sure of the reason for the round about. I suppose I've been on that teeter totter since I was a preteen. Maybe younger, but I remember being a lion when I was a child. Relatively fearless, self confident. I dealt with bullies with aplomb. It wasn't until I was starting puberty that the words hurt.
I want to go back to being that little, self-confident Lion.
I was never the smartest in class. I always struggled in math, but I made up for it in History and English. I thrived in my classes under the loving tutelage of my teachers. But I was almost always the smallest in my class. In 5th grade I finally hit 60lbs. That was amazing to me and I was so excited! I was still the smallest in class.
But I was a LION. Self-confident and bold.
Then came puberty, that life-changing, life-affirming, brutal time of life.
Other girls had breasts. I had none. I stayed short and small and skinny and breastless. But that was ok. For a while. Junior High was great! I hit 100lbs and developed breasts. Small ones, but they were definitely breasts. I was average. Still a little small, perhaps, but average. Because we were all dorky looking. I got glasses and thought they were the coolest thing ever. I made friends, friends who were actual friends, who teased for jokes instead of to hurt. We laughed at my tendency to fall down stairs and hurt myself. Joked about goodness knows what. Just being preteens.
High School was great. I was still small, short, and slender. But I had friends and did fairly well in school. I didn't stick out, so there wasn't any bullying. Not really. I did get told to eat a sandwich. Regularly. But by now I was used to it and I developed methods to deal. I was skinny, but if I wore baggy clothes, no one really noticed. I was short, but I came to love that.
But every now and then, I'd hear the voices in my head: "You're so skinny." "Your arms are too skinny."
Not their voices anymore. MINE.
When did I become my worst Critic?
I graduated, got married to an amazing man who loves how I look always, Got pregnant.
Never once while I was pregnant did I feel uncomfortable in my skin, ugly, or self-conscious. The Lion was back. I felt at home in my skin, sexy, glowing. I was healthy and happy, growing life in me and loving every minute.
I worried about stretch marks - my mom got them badly on her stomach.
I went into preterm labor. 4 weeks of bedrest. Had my baby vaginally, but there were complications and I ended up on bedrest for 8 weeks postpartum. (see: Birth story part 1; Birth story part 2; Birth Story part 3 ;4week follow up)
Better yet, I had a healthy baby. A gorgeous baby worth every week of the 12 I was on bedrest.
Then the guilt came in. I used to love fitness and was super in shape. Now I could barely walk a mile. How did I let this happen? My tummy was saggy, my arms 'too skinny'.
I got back on track eventually, with starts and stops, and eventually, with great care, I'm doing great and feeling great and PROUD of my mommy body. But I still get frustrated with myself, and my body. I forget that this body and its gifts are a BLESSING. I brought life into the world.
Things are different, I can LIST them. But no one knows except the people who knew before.
My voice is different - warmer, harder to support, more mature.
My waist is higher - my pants don't fit the same!
my hips are wider, flatter.
my breasts are constantly changing wonders.
My stomach is no longer perfectly flat.
But you know what? It was worth it. My body is perfect the way it is. I just have to remind myself and get my self-defeating attitude to admit defeat.
I was so lucky to hear about a project that a friend of a friend was doing. I participated and the result blew my mind.
Stacy J. Garrett - Every Woman Project
She's not the only one doing projects like this! Also Check these out:
SO THERE! (ok, maybe I never grew up out of the jr. high age! ;)
I have to admit, I've taken steps to force myself to see how amazing I am. Its work these days. But I have some amazing friends and acquaintances who have helped. Every body, every human, is a miracle.