If there’s only one thing in life you can count on it’s change. In my short 24 years of life I have experienced quite a lot of change. Marriage and motherhood introduced me to more than I ever thought it would in a VERY short amount of time. From getting engaged and moving almost a thousand miles away from home, eight hundred and eighty-five to be exact, to buying a house, getting married, then pregnant, having Scarlett and moving across country two more times all in a matter of two years. The past three and a half years of my life have been a whirlwind. I always thought myself to be great at embracing change with open arms, that was until I had Scarlett and got a taste of an entirely new set of changes.
Almost immediately after I found out I was pregnant, I started reading books, blogs, articles and anything I could get a hold of. I wanted to be prepared, to know what to expect. I just knew I would have it all figured out by the time she made her grand entrance into this wild world we live in. Boy, was I wrong! In some ways I am glad I was because really, what twenty-two year old knows it all? I can assure you I didn’t. After Scarlett arrived I found myself experiencing a change in my heart, I was scared, nervous and so in love, more in love than I had ever been in my life. Becoming a mom and loving someone more than myself was a wonderful change and it’s one I would do over and over again. Some of the change Scarlett brought hasn’t always been so easy and wonderful. From hormonal shifts after giving birth then again after I stopped breastfeeding to changes in routines, schedules and everything in between. My world revolved around my new precious girl. Everyone always talks about the hormones and what to do when or if you start to feel off or if you start to experience PPD and how to get help and of course everyone talks about the “baby weight” and changes your body goes though. The one thing they don’t talk about though, is the feelings that come along with those changes in your body. No one tells you how to feel better about your new normal body or how to deal with them in a positive way. At least, no one I know… You hear the usual, just eat better and exercise or that spare tire will go away, it just takes time. Well, I’ve been waiting two years and it’s still here!!!
For the greater part of 21 years, I didn’t struggle with my weight and I was confident for the most part. I was always tiny and it was almost part of my identity and I didn’t realize it until I no longer was. After having Scarlett I went from a zero to a size four knocking on six’s door. I do not think by any means a four or six is “big” nor do I think I am overweight, what I am saying is it was a change. A pretty drastic change for me, none of my clothing fit me or looked good and I no longer felt confident or good about myself. It didn’t help that I was sleep deprived for the greater part of the first year of life as a mom. I was really upset about a lot of my new self for a long time and sometimes felt lost in my own body, like visitor in someone else’s skin. Stretch mark scars and wider hips were uncharted territory for me. I just knew that I would be one of those moms who worked out and ate healthy and got back to her pre-baby weight in no time, after all I loved all of those things before I had Scarlett. The gym was like a second home to Abe and I in our pre-parenting days, so why wouldn’t it still be afterwards? Well, because being a new parent is HARD, really hard and tiring, VERY tiring. I soon realized a nap sounded better than a great workout and a chocolate chip cookie sounded better than a carrot stick.. Food that was easy and not always the most nutritious became my norm, let’s face it sometimes cooking just sounds dreadful! Yes, my waistline has grown but so has my happiness.
Having a daughter is amazing and I would trade her any day for my size zero pants but it still doesn’t make my new normal any easier to accept some days, especially when I can no longer fit into my favorite pants. I don’t care what anyone says, gaining weight does take a mental tole on you. It made me feel gross and what made it harder was my serious lack of motivation to workout or eat better. Being a mom can be busy and sometimes making a healthy meal just doesn’t fit into the schedule, grabbing something quick is more in line with the daily agenda. Working out, oh man, a phrase I have come to despise… No, when Abe gets home most days working out is the absolute last thing on my mind. Then one day I actually purchased something that fit my new body and I felt surprised at how great I thought I looked. Later that day it got me thinking, what if I just decide to be happy with my new body? What if I learn to just embrace the change that has come and to love myself inside and out? Why do I have to try to be the size I was before Scarlett? After having Scarlett and realizing how amazing it is that I produced another human being with my body. I gave life to another and I’m worried that my body doesn’t look the same? I know there are so many women who would love to be in these shoes, who wish so desperately to have a baby and baby weight and all the messy things that go along with it. I feel so blessed that God allowed me to give birth to Scarlett and that my body was able to produce life. It suddenly feels so silly to worry about something as superficial as how much I weigh. I decided to love my body and all it has been able to accomplish so far instead of being uncomfortable in the aftermath. So here I am doing just that.
The world tells us that when our dress size goes up it’s a horrible thing but why does it have to be? Who cares if I am a zero or a six or even a sixteen for that matter? Turns out no one but myself. The saying, we are our own worst critic is so true. No one is going to love me more if I have rock hard abs as opposed to my lovely spare tire, no one is going to think I am a better person because my legs don’t jiggle when I walk and no one will notice that pimple on my chin or my lovely new stray grays that hang around my hairline. People are going to love me because of the person I am on the inside. I am actually so glad I am no longer a size zero. It has made me a better person and less shallow or focused on the superficial. It may sound crazy but it made me really look at myself on the inside and realize my heart also needed some changing. I shouldn’t hate the way my body looks or put so much emphasis on my dress size. I am not a dress size, that does not define me. Just because the world tells me it does, doesn’t make it anymore true. I want to work out because I love my body and want to take care of it, not because I hate the way it looks. I don’t want my dress size to be a part of my identity, that’s shallow and sad in my mind that it ever was. I want to teach my daughter that the way she looks or how much she weighs doesn’t define her and that the world’s idea of perfect is a lie. And to also EAT the piece of cake, to grab life by the horns and show it who’s boss! I want her to live life on her terms with Christ as the center. If I want to teach her all of those things I have to lead by example, I can’t merely tell her, I have to show her. Show her that her momma loves her body, all of the scars, rolls, stretch marks, bumps and lumps, all of it.
I know this is said all the time but I believe it now more than ever, we as women need to be a voice of positivity and speak it loudly to our daughters. Wether it be about loving their bodies, their quirks, their flaws or simply themselves. We have to do it by taking the lead and showing them how it is done, my journey this far hasn’t been easy and I’m sure it won’t happen over night but I do know one thing it will be worth it. So here I am change, ready to embrace you with open arms.
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, he became a butterfly”
Therefor, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, and the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17
Photo credit: Chelsea Hoying of Momma’s Gonna Snap Photography