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Friday, August 29, 2014

My Kids Ruined My Body

Hello world, my name is Sara and I have issues. Lots and lots of issues. Big ones, small ones, weird ones, sad ones.  Pick an issue and chances are I have it, or have had it, or I will develop it at sometime in the near future. What can I say? My life is filled with drama these days.

I am having an issue as I type this blog post. A part of me wants to curl up in a ball and sleep for a week, while a part of me wants to develop an eating disorder, another part of me wants to flip a certain finger in the direction of some people and let it go.


Do you know how it feels to be told your body is "disgusting" after having children? This is my current all consuming issue. Body shame. It is a big one to me, I dwell on those words. I get angry. I break down and cry, feeling utterly ugly and unlovable. I spend hours each week obsessing about what I ate, or what I didn't eat, how many walks I took, how my clothes fit me. Goodness, clothes are so important when you are as disgusting as I am. Trust me, no one wants to see me in my naked glory of stretch marks, saggy skin or fat.

At the age of 35 I have 2 children. My son is 4 and my daughter is 10 months old. Having these children has ruined my body according to some people. Yes, you read that right. My kids ruined my body.

Here is the thing, I did gain weight since I had children. A lot of it too. I have lost weight which just makes my skin look... saggy, stretched out, not magazine worthy at all. Places I didn't know could wiggle have more jiggle than I want to admit. My butt? Applying for statehood status. Yeah, I got booty to spare and share if anyone needs a little. I had 2 c section babies. So I have a big scar above my pubic hair line.

My ruined body.

A few weeks ago I had the nerve to go to the pool with my family. I wore a very modest tankini. I know no one wants to see me in a bikini. I wore something that would cover my body so no one had to see the mess that is my stomach. It is not flat, nor is it likely to ever be like a washboard. I tried my best to keep everything in place, constantly tugging my tankini to cover my belly and as much of anything else it could cover. I feel self conscious as it is. Being in a swimsuit is like... being in underwear that are wet ya know? I generally don't parade around in a bra and panties in front of my friends, family or neighbors, but I go to a pool to let the whole world judge me. I feel exposed. I feel like everyone is staring at me, are they? Who the heck knows, but I feel like they are. My husband hands me the baby and as I try to enjoy the moment, watching my son playing happily, looking at my beautiful daughter who is smiling and happy, the pool is new and exciting to her.

My husband wants a photo of the baby and I so I adjust to hold her at an angle that will allow him to capture both of our faces. As he is saying "Smile" I hear the laughter. I try to tell myself that people are having fun, it is a pool after all!  Then I hear it again, and again. I feel eyes on me. I know I must have blushed. I look up to see 2 teenage girls laughing at me and staring. I am the object of their amusement. Me and my ruined body. I feel the breeze on a strip of my stomach where my top has worked its way up. I feel like I could cry, or leave and vow to never go swimming again, unless it is in our backyard.

That was not a good feeling. It seriously impacted the day. The rest of the day every time those girls laughed, I knew they were laughing at me, or some other Mom with a ruined, gross body. When we got home I had a good long cry. I completely wallowed in self pity. I tucked the swim suit into the back of a drawer, or maybe it went to the attic... I won't be wearing it again probably.

When I tried to talk to someone about how I felt, it only made it worse. Foolish me picked the wrong person to go to for comfort or reassurance. I guess I wanted to hear that I was not gross. That I was okay, not inducing vomiting sessions or anything. But guess what I heard instead? "If you feel gross, do something about it. You can lose 20 pounds or maybe even 30. Stop eating, start working for results...." This made me cry harder. Much much harder. Little did I know how hard the next words would hit me. "I think your body is disguising since you had kids."

So, instead of having a friend say they liked me for me, I heard I should develop an eating disorder and work out until I see results that please others.

If there has ever been a day when I could fall apart completely, a day when I felt like maybe I was so gross that I could die and spare everyone I know from the pain and ickiness of looking at me, it was that day.
I spent a long time reflecting on that. I looked in the mirror. I searched to see signs of this hideous monster that I had become. I saw a 35 year old woman that looked tired. My hair is really cute in this style of pixie short. My outfit was good. A decent skirt and a casual yet nice top. I had on great shoes, pretty nail polish.... My butt is big! I know that, but I am okay with it. The last time I checked the booty size was not a factor in what was in my heart. My butt doesn't make me a monster. My belly is a belly. I wish it were flatter, smaller. But, really how many people are subjected to the scar, the stretch marks, the evidence that my body made not one, but two miracles happen? Not very many. My upper arms are a nightmare for me, but my kids seem to think these hideous monster-ish flabby arms give great hugs.

If I couldn't see these monstrosities that are worthy pointing and laughing and hurling harsh words about my disgusting body changes why were they so evident to other people? Why did it matter to anyone else what my body looks like?

My body changed. I may have "ruined" my body according to the standards of the general masses, but when it comes down to it, my body tells a story. A story of childhood, illnesses, accidents, drunken days of youth, adventures I am glad I took. Chances I gambled on. My body tells a story of loss, of love and of miracles. I made two little people in this body. Every stretch mark, flabby patch of skin, every jiggle, every inch of my booty was well earned. I don't regret one single imperfection. They have all been worth it.

So, to the teenage girls that laugh at me in a swimsuit, or to the "friend" that thinks I am disgusting now that I am a mother, I would like to say thank you. You have reminded me that I have to work harder to make my children realize we shouldn't measure a persons worth because of their looks or lack of looks. We shouldn't let someone else tell us we are gross because we have babies. We shouldn't tolerate that type of behavior. Anyone shallow enough to look at your beautiful miraculous body and point out your flaws isn't worthy of your time or your love. Your dress size doesn't determine what kind of person you are.

To my children, I want to say, you absolutely didn't ruin my body. You made it better than it ever was before. You have softened me in all the right ways. For that, I thank you.












19 comments:

  1. This is an awesome post. You are such a strong woman. That friend would have not been a friend anymore after she said that to me. Also, those girls obviously do not respect their mother either. I'm not going to lie. I do feel self conscious about my own body since I have three kids. I have cellulite in my thighs, my stomach is not flat, and I have stretch marks. I don't parade these items and I dread going to water parks. However, at the end of the day my boys love me and anyone who doesn't like what they see they can choose to look elsewhere. What happened to you really pisses me off, especially the "so called" friend. A real friend brings you up, not bring you down.

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  2. What a great lesson to teach to your children. You are a beautiful, strong & sweet woman, don't let anyone tell you different.

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  3. Thanks for sharing Sara! My son ruined my body too, and I don't care because he was worth the scar and the millions of stretch marks! I had a similar experience while working out at the gym. A group behind me on treadmills decided to take bets on when I would have a heart attack. I had the last laugh though when they all stopped jogging I was still going to town on the elliptical. I've learned to make peace with my imperfect body and just try to be healthy so I can keep up with my son! :)

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  4. You have two beautiful amazing children, those "scars" "flab" "jingle" are all battle wounds, but you are still beautiful and amazing as well. Don't ever let someone that is suppose to be your friend get you down ( that is NO friend) and don't let strangers get you down either, because you are beautiful inside and out.

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  5. Oh My Goddness, I am not one to swear normally but as I'm reading this I want to tell you to tell ANYONE who says your kids have ruined your body to F off. What an absolute load of nonsense. Your body is an amazing creation which nourished little people inside it! That is Fantastic. It may not be the same as it was before but it's not supposed to be.
    I honestly think the pressure we put on ourselves to all try to maintain our early 20's bodies is just ridiculous. I'm not overweight, I tend to be on the thin side generally but I have squishy bits, stretch marks and scars. I also have 3 amazing children.
    I know I'm going on a bit but honestly, this makes me so mad. I saw a brilliant thing on facebook a little while ago that showed how to have a bikini body. "Take a body, put a bikini on it!" It's that simple. If people don't like what they see they can look at something else.
    Dump the "friend" who gives bad advice and print out your last couple of paragraphs and stick them on the mirror to re read every day. You are a wise wise woman.

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  6. I have four children and with the first two I felt pretty self conscious about the changes my body had made. I hated my tummy that felt and looked like bread dough! After the third something changed in my attitude, and I realized it just wasn't all that important to me. I couldn't change most of the things I was unhappy about!. I did stumble across some great information on diastasis recti that totally changed my really flabby belly, though. Apparently, your abs can separate and leave the muscles weak and unable to do their job. I had a bad case. After a lot of work my tummy is SO much stronger! It still isn't pancake flat and the saggy skin and stretch marks are still here, but I can do so many more things than could before! Leaving you with a link with some info on it. ( and not this is not an affiliate link!) http://fit2b.us/how-to-check-for-diastasis-hd/

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  7. This made me want to cry. It made me want to take those two mean girls forward about 20 years and show them their own bodies after having a couple of kids. It made me want to slap your so called "friend". Most of all it made me want to a) give you a big hug and b) cheer you on.
    I'm willing to bet your husband doesn't think your body is "ruined". And I'm sure your kids think you're just perfect when you hug and cuddle them.
    Have you seen this? http://loveyourlines.tumblr.com/ The love your lines campaign. Encouraging women to embrace those Life Lines (aka: stretch marks) I love it!
    Beckey
    http://reallyreallyrealhousewives.blogspot.com
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/queenbsbusywork

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  8. Such a great post!

    Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

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  9. Wow, I'm so sorry you had to deal with those teenage girls! They have some serious heart problems. The fact that your body grew two precious lives makes it absolutely amazing! Keep being a strong role model for your children. Our bodies are truly a blessing from the Lord and He doesn't make mistakes - we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

    Hang in there, focus on the encouraging friendships, and distance yourself from the people that drag you down!

    Amy @ http://www.livinglifetruth.com/

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  10. Amen! You are a beautiful person... and ditch anyone in your life who makes you feel bad about yourself. Thanks for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.

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  11. Oh, Sara, I feel for you! I've been in that same boat before. In fact, I just wrote about it a couple of weeks ago, my "fat girl" insecurities. I love that you intend to teach your children differently because we need that in this body-obsessed world we live in. You're so right in saying that kids soften us in all of the right ways. Hang in there, mama! :)
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

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  12. I'm so sorry for the hurt you are going through.... people can be so unkind-remember there are others who can be kind, so don't let those few make you give up on others... I have heard women say, "I am DONE having kids... I want my body back!" I think that is so sad... yes, we need to take care of the body God has given to us, but the fact it that pregnancies, hormones, life, aging, etc can change us and if we get our security from our body, that will be devastating. God created us to nurture those little ones in our body - what a magnificent miracle! What a blessing! Those children we have are such a blessing... I pity those who would reject those precious children for a toned, thin body that will show aging at some point, just like all bodies here on earth do. You are of GREAT WORTH to God.... I hope you know Him and can look to Him for your security. :)

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  13. Great post! You are absolutely right. As I get older, I often think about my grandma, who died when I was 15. She wasn't overweight but definitely had soft spots, and she did not dye her hair or "do something" about wrinkles or wear gloves when working--yet I think she was just as attractive as my other grandmother who was more fussy. Grandma was not shy about wearing a swimsuit or shorts or sleeveless tops, and she wore the clothes she loved even though many of them were colors and prints that made her very noticeable. She knew her body was strong and capable, and when she did "do something" about it, it was something practical like getting her worn-out knee replaced. In her late 50s she had a professional portrait made of her hands. They didn't look like hands you'd see in a magazine ad. They looked like hands that had done a lot of interesting things and were ready to do a lot more!

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  14. I love that. You have softened me in many ways. Beautiful. I just ran into a friend today who was complaining about her body and I walked away not feeling very good about myself. I think we do give up parts of ourselves for our children, just as my mom did, and her mom did. But really, is it about our bodies? Or, is it more about relationships. Thank you for this post!

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  15. I am so sorry that you had this experience. There are bullies of all ages, but when you are bullied and put down by one whom you considered a friend it is devastating. You are so right -- we shouldn't tolerate that kind of behavior! It takes a lot of discipline and hard work to lose weight and to keep on doing things that are healthy. You are strong and worthy of praise and you deserve great moments with your kids at the swimming pool or anywhere else!

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  16. I'm so sorry you had to go through that but I love your perspective. Having the perfect body isn't what's important when you have beautiful children in your life that make all the scars worth it :) Thank you for linking this up at mommy moments last week! It was the top viewed link and will be featured in today's link up. Congrats!!

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  17. Awesome post. Those teenagers will be lucky to one day have beautiful children and a "ruined" body! I know I would rather be who I am, a mom with a few extra pounds and a ton of stretch marks, than some hot teenager.

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  18. Amazing article. I'm loving this! Pinned.It's always a pleasure to have you be a part of our party. Please take a minute tonight at 7 pm, to party with us! http://loulougirls.blogspot.com/
    Happy Monday! Lou Lou Girls

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  19. Thank you for your honest and heartfelt perspective. Our society is so stuck in this idea that bodies can "never" change. But it's the changes that make us beautiful. My grandmother just passed, and something I miss terribly are her lovely, wrinkly, caring hands. She always used her hands to help other people and to love them just the way they were. She never spoke of herself as beautiful, but she was the most beautiful of ladies. When all is said and done, people don't remember what we looked like. People remember what we made them feel like. Sorry, for going on, but your post hit a nerve with me as well. :) Thanks again for the post.
    www.mommycrusader.com

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Thanks for leaving me a comment sweet stuff! I am always glad to hear from you!