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Ladies, We Need to Love Our Bodies

I’ve always been a thicker girl. I’m not a fan of that word, but it’s better than “stocky.”

The only time I remember being “skinny” in my 33 years was around seven years old when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and my body was literally in starvation mode. It wasn’t healthy. 

Even as a toddler, my dad would call me Bubble Butt. I was living with a curvy derriere before anyone knew who Kim Kardashian was. 

Soon after I hit puberty at age 12, my curves settled in. Large chest and round butt. It’s not something a child knows what to do with. And it wasn’t long before stretch marks appeared on my breasts and thighs, with cellulite trailing behind. I didn’t look like any of my high school friends. 

I was 14 years old when I tried my first diet pill, provided by a family member. They always had a close eye on my weight. 

Needless to say, I wasn’t comfortable in my skin. With people giving me advice on weight loss and seeing outside cues about what a teenage girl’s body should look like, I didn’t think any boy would find me attractive enough to date. 

This became apparent when I entered college and met my now husband. I didn’t understand his interest in me. I wasn’t one of those skinny girls that strolled around campus. This made me hesitate for months on moving forward with our relationship. 

I spent years, time, and money on diets and fitness regimens to help me reach a number on a scale that I wanted, or a pant size that wasn’t two digits. 

It wasn’t until I became a mom that I grew more comfortable in my skin. There’s something about being in labor on all fours in front of medical staff you’ve never met that will do that to you. My body did amazing things bringing my two boys into this world. 

But recently I’ve been thinking, it doesn’t matter if my body went through the physical demands of pregnancy and labor, it’s still amazing. And while it may not meet the expectations that I have set, or others have imposed, it doesn’t make it unworthy of love. 

It wasn’t until I met with a personal trainer in my early thirties that she did an evaluation and told me that my healthy ideal body weight is around 145 pounds. At 5’3, this was a good 20 pounds or so above the idea number I had in my head for nearly two decades. It bums me out that for so long I held a vision in my head of my ideal body weight that was physically impossible to reach healthily.

Another thing that disheartens me is that most of the comments about my weight have come from family members. From people who should love and support me through anything. Instead, I’ve had to steel myself for snarky insults and backhanded compliments since I was old enough to become aware of their malicious intent. 

So as I sit here, I want to share some reminders and love for any woman who has ever been made to feel less than because of her physical appearance. Ladies, we need to love ourselves.

Love our bodies when others don’t. 

Love our bodies when our jeans are too snug.

Love our bodies when the tiny two pieces at Target seem to be silently mocking us.

Love our bodies when our faces seem fuller than they used to.

Love our bodies when the camera turns to us to capture a sweet moment.

Love our bodies when we enjoy a good meal.

Love our bodies enough to defend them when they became a topic of discussion.

Love our bodies when the weather turns hot and shorts become a necessary comfort.

Love our bodies when you catch a naked glimpse of it getting into the shower.

Love our bodies when your littles like to squish and blow raspberries on your soft belly.

Love our bodies when it seems impossible.

Want more? Follow my journey on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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For all the moms who feel a little lost

Along with all the snuggles, giggles, and childish wonder, motherhood brings exhaustion and sacrifice.

I think we’ve all been there. Before kids, you swear you won’t let them change you. You will still catch up with your friends on Friday nights. Still wear those high heels. Still make time for yourself.

And then reality hits.

There never seems to be enough hours in a day. By the time the kids are asleep, you are basically a walking zombie and any plans you had for some “me time” fall by the wayside. “Maybe tomorrow,” you mumble as your head hits the pillow.

One day you wake up and look at yourself in the mirror and wonder, What happened? You used to be fun. Then you catch a glimpse of a curious three-year old studying your face in the mirror and remember your traded a piece of yourself for the joy of watching a tiny person find their place in the world.

And there’s new fun to be had.

It is so easy to get caught up in the daily grind of raising kids and other commitments you may have that you forget the person you used to be. Or you remember and you are desperately trying to hold onto that woman, in fear if you let her go she may never return.

I’m here to tell you that you’re not lost. That woman has just been hibernating, keeping her cubs safe and warm. And when she emerges from her den, she will be stronger than ever.

But it’s easy to read and write these words. When you’re in the thick of parenting, you feel like you’re so far in that you’ll never get out. You’ll never find that woman. My advice? Try.

Are you able to reclaim all of your freedom you had before kids? No, and that’s okay. You make due with what you have. You have to make the time for yourself. This probably means sacrificing something else, but try not to let it be more of a burden on you. Maybe it means cancelling that play date. Or ordering that pizza. You deserve to find time for you.

Maybe it looks a little different now. I used to be an avid painter before kids. Most of my spare time was spent putting brush to canvas. But painting is a time-consuming activity and therefore considered a luxury these days. Instead, I looked for a creative outlet that I could practically fit into my schedule.

This is where writing saved my life. I’ve always been passionate about writing and had goals for myself, but never took the leap. That’s another funny thing about motherhood: even though you feel you have no idea what you’re doing raising kids, it gives you the biggest confidence boost. If you can handle children, you can handle anything.

So I started writing and I haven’t been happier. I got a little piece of me back. Whatever used to bring you joy in your pre-kid life, find a way to work it in. Go ahead and reclaim a piece of yourself. You deserve it.