So, if there’s one favor pregnancy and breast feeding did for me, it was give me some serious body confidence. After I had both my girls I looked thin and felt strong. I got really lucky, and I made it out weighing less than when I got pregnant both times. That plus yoga made me feel wholly confident in my body for the first time, maybe ever. I even did a boudoir shoot after Lux was born, just because I could! I asked the photographer not to airbrush me. I just wanted to look like me. At some point during this time, during two pregnancies and two moves, I lost my scale and didn’t care. I didn’t miss it and I didn’t need it. I felt good.
I love this picture, flabby tummy and all.
Flash forward to last week. I had two doctor’s appointments, both which took down my weight. The first time I just didn’t look. “Who cares!? Not ME!” I thought happily. I went about my day. (Turns out I have a pretty intense vitamin D deficiency! Get outside, y’all!)
But at the second appointment, I got curious- I looked, then gasped. Literally. Gasped. According to my chart, I have gained 11 lbs in 5 months.
“Am I fat again?”
“Do I look fat again?”
“I thought I was doing so good.”
These thoughts completely knocked me off my game. For the first time in three years I felt ashamed of my body. I felt sad. I kept looking at mirrors, trying to find all the places these eleven pounds had settled. I put on a sweater when got home; I felt yucky.
One number. One stupid number almost stole 3 years of body confidence.
I meditated and cried, and went to my Friday night yoga class (the one I cried at a few weeks ago. Lol. I’m a crier, if you haven’t noticed.) Yoga made me feel a little better. I checked myself out in the big mirrors (see below) and tried to let it go, telling myself “Shit, for all I know it’s eleven pounds of muscle!”
My body language even changed, and I was BY MYSELF in there! WTF?
Since, I’ve been agonizing over what I’m eating. I haven’t had any wine (one of my favorite things) and feel guilty every time I eat.
And you know what the worst part is? I know it’s bullshit. When I try and explain to people what depression is like, I often tell them that it’s like I have two selves: Sane Lauren, and Insane Lauren.
Sane Lauren knows that some of it is wine and Reese’s, and some of it really is muscle! I’ve been consistently practicing and building strength. Sane Lauren knows that it’s both. I haven’t had the best eating habits, but I have been doing great with exercise.
Insane Lauren doesn’t care. She saw one number- 137 pounds- and she’s obsessing over it. She’s telling herself that she’s going to end up huge. She’s going to have flabby arms. The girls will be embarrassed of her. Her husband isn’t going to keep loving her. SERIOUSLY. My husband and I have been together for TWELVE. YEARS. We have endured more than we thought possible. Sane Lauren knows he loves me unconditionally, without judgement. Insane Lauren still worries.
I don’t have any advice this post; I’m just putting it out there. Body image is such a powerful thing. Is it my culture that has taught me to be distrustful of my body? My body that birthed two babies without medication and fed them for a total of 2 years and 2 months? Or is it depression that’s stealing my confidence? Maybe both?
I’m feeling better. I’m being more conscious of my Reese’s and wine intake, and am still practicing. I’m trying to see the reality in the mirror, not the 137 pounds (which my doctor said “is great,” btw.). I am not my weight. I am not a number. I am a mother, a wife, a woman.
I’m trying to reclaim my confidence by sharing all this with you. I refuse to be obsessed with a number. I REFUSE.
If you have any advice for overcoming body image issues and self-shaming, please share! And if you have any pictures that make you feel beautiful, share those too.
Side note, this Friday the amazing YouTube partner, Candace Moore, will be posting a bit I wrote for her popular blog, Yoga By Candace. I’m so honored to be a part of her community!
From my light to yours,