These two photos were taken the same week. Guess which one I didn’t share on the world wide web?
Yep. The left. The one that shows my squishy tummy. The one that made me cringe, and cry, because it’s been 7 years since I looked any different from the picture on the right, and I placed my value on it.
At this point in my mom journey, I was 6 months post partum and diagnosed with Post Partum Depression, which I had refused treatment for. I was and am scared of medications, but I was mostly scared of admitting I needed them, and couldn’t fight it on my own.
My fitness and how I look has been huge to me, for a very, very long time. I’ve struggled with my weight a little bit, but mostly I’ve struggled with accepting myself as I am, and just enjoying working out and eating well for the sole purpose of just that, being healthy. Being strong. I have a definition in my mind for how I should look, and I beat myself up if I don’t look that way.
And I didn’t.
And here I am, 3 weeks out with baby number 2 and have become a health and fitness coach, have been sharing my fitness journey this pregnancy on social media like crazy, and am now faced with the sudden reality that soon I will be sharing my post partum fitness journey.
No more pretty belly selfies.
No more “wow, you have like, the perfect pregnant body!” comments …
It’s about to get real.
Our culture LOVES pregnant women. Honestly I get stopped all the time. Talked to all the time. And I hate being pregnant so imagine how fun that is 😉
But what about post partum? Have I been basing my worth on how I look this pregnancy? Maybe. Probably. Sometimes. Not always. I work on it. I am doing my best to embrace the love handles, the cellulite and the thickness that weighs me down and frustrates me. I can’t say I fully embrace it because I am afraid of the after.
In fitness, it seems the truest successes are the ones that have flat tummy’s post partum and say “see, if I can you can.” which is sort of ridiculous because … every single body is different. Where we started is different. Where we are going is different … so how does that equate to us all being able to achieve the same goal?
It doesn’t make sense.
And yet here I am, with my post baby goals being things like, walk across the stage in Nashville at the Beachbody classic, and in my head I have the perfect body. And that’s the only reason I’m brave enough to consider it. Because I’m fairly certain I’ll get to where I want.
But what if I don’t?
What if I don’t look how I think I should? Will I still compete? I say yes…but this is going to be a very challenging period of learning to love the new me. Because our bodies are just different after babies, and I never accepted that. I tried to cheat it by sharing only the photos I wanted to.
I shared this photo last summer, but I didn’t share that I undid the top button most of the day and sucked in my baby ponch most of the day because I couldn’t stand how my own body felt.
I was, in short, a fraud.
And maybe I still am. I’m able to accept my body right now because this is the way it’s supposed to look.
Will I be able to share with you all, when it gets really real, and I’m on the other end of this pregnancy?
I know I will force myself to, because it will force me to grow. And I want to grow. I want to be real.
But know that I’m just as real a person as you, I have feelings, fears and I struggle with my own set of issues. And if you say things like, I have no reason to feel those fears because I look great, you’re missing the bigger picture.
The point is that no woman seems to be able to love themselves fully. Regardless of how fit we are, I guarantee you, ask the fittest woman on the planet, I bet she hates her nose or something.
If you think because I have this body I have that I should have no reason to not love myself, then you’re struggling to. Because you have an idea in your head of what perfect looks like, and unfortunately, none of us stack up.
So here’s to not stacking up.
Here’s to being ourselves, and having fit goals but still enjoying life and love all the while.
Here’s to eating a piece of pizza because we have plans that have held us up and we can fall back into the next day.
Here’s to balance, here’s to healthy babies,
and here’s to the next 3 weeks of being as healthy and fit as possible as an act of love to myself, and respecting the results whatever they may be.