May 7, 2013

Love Yourself: In Your Body

Along with all of the emotional and mental changes that come with the territory of being a new mom, it's also been a year of coming to love my new body. My friend Anne from Anne the Adventurer has invited me, along with other women, to share pieces of their journeys towards positive self-image in a new series called 'Love Yourself.' She boldly led the way, by sharing her beautiful story about working to overcome an eating disorder after ten years, and how she is coming to love her body (and herself) more now than ever before. I'm so proud of her and so excited to be a part of this series. Be sure to stop by Anne's space to leave some encouragement for being so brave, and also check out some of the other writers' stories at this link-up.

I look at pictures of her, a huge smile on her face, gorgeous blonde hair, toned, skinny arms, a tiny waist, and I hardly recognize that the girl in the picture is me, just a few years ago. But the thing is, I know her. I know her so well. And I know that that girl didn't find herself beautiful.


I see her, and I know that she found pride in this skinny body, but inside she was aching. She made sure that she never left home without her make-up and hair and outfits looking put together, but inside she felt like she was falling apart. She was so sad, but she always plastered a smile on her face, thinking that others expected her to be happy and have it all together.

I wonder what Heather a few years ago would say if she saw me now. The 'new' Heather's weight has fluctuated so much in the past two years, settling into a weight that is not controlled by her unhappiness. She may weigh 25 pounds more and her jean size is surprising compared to where it was a few years ago, but she does not allow herself to be defined as easily by how she feels she must look to other people. The new Heather is completely comfortable leaving the house without makeup, because she feels like she can be beautiful without it. The new Heather loves hearing her husband calling her beautiful, with the brown wavy hair she always thought was mousy and the curves she always tried to keep in control. The Heather now, the Heather that you'd meet today pushing a stroller through the park, or meeting other moms for lunch, or rocking her boy to sleep at night? She allows herself to smile when she feels genuinely happy, and to show pain when she is in pain, but this Heather is more real.

I think becoming a mom has saved me, as my own mama has told me so many times this year. It has taken my focus off of myself. It has taught me to be less selfish. And it has helped me to feel more comfortable in my own skin.
 
These arms may not be as toned and pencil thin, but they are strong. They carry around a 23-pound baby and scoop him up into the biggest hugs.

This stomach may not be as flat, but I know it has stretched to hold the most special little boy I've ever set eyes on.

These thighs and hips are fuller, and they may be covered in pink little marks, but I know these lines are road maps to Emmett's first little home. 

I'm so thankful that I can see how the changes in my body are proof of the beautiful outward work God did to prepare me inwardly to be the woman and mother I am today.



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23 comments:

  1. Heather, this post is absolutely beautiful. I loved all of your words, and resonated with them in such a big way. Thank you so much for sharing and for being so honest and vulnerable. You are so brave. I can't wait to see what God continues to do in your life! And I'm so glad that he reconnected us so that I can be apart of it in a very small way.

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    1. Anne, thank you for inviting me to take part in this beautiful community. It was healing even to write this post. Thank you for your words of encouragement, and I completely agree in my thankfulness that God reconnected us, Anne!

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  2. This post was so spot on! As a new mom as well, it's a challenge to accept my new body after having my daughter & how it likely won't be quite the same as it once was. You're a beautiful momma and your little boy is just precious!

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    1. Thank you Torrie! It's so nice to hear that I'm not alone in my struggles with accepting my new mama body ;) Thank you for your kind words and I'm looking forward to connecting over the weeks through this lovely link-up!

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  3. Thanks so much for this post- I loved the words you used to talk about "Emmett's first little home." I definitely teared up!

    Farrell

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    1. I agree - the words "Emmett's first little home" got me, too. SO beautiful!

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    2. Thanks ladies! My own mama helped me to see it in that beautiful, poetic way. It definitely helps to reframe our thinking in that way than to see them as scars or something ugly that will never go away. Now I'm proud to have them ;)

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  4. I'm not a mom yet, but I'll tell you a huge fear of mine is losing control of my body after a pregnancy. I love all the hope you've displayed in your writing. Thank you for the reassurance and 'glass half full' mentality. Thank you. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Ashley! Your words are so encouraging. And you're welcome! It's been really freeing to talk about this and so exciting to see how many others have been given hope by this topic!

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  5. These photos are ALL so beautiful. It's undeniable, the joy in your face. As a momma of three, I have seen my body move to all different shapes and sizes, and I want my girls to see and feel that all of it is good. xoxo, MJ

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    1. Wow, thank you MJ! I love how you talk about teaching your girls to love themselves now. You do important work :) Thank you for stopping by! Excited to get to know you through this link-up over the coming weeks!

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  6. Oh my goodness. Girl, your pen has power! My eyes were flooded with tears to read "...but I know these lines are road maps to Emmett's first little home." Wow. What a beautiful perspective, and one I hope to adopt when I have kids of my own someday. I loved seeing photos of Heather a few years ago...and then during pregnancy and thereafter. Your joy seems to only grow with each new picture!

    This post was written from a place deep within, and God clearly has blessed it! Thank you for sharing.

    Warmly,
    Lauren
    The Thinking Closet

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    1. Dear friend,
      Thank you thank you thank you :) I especially loved how observant you were with the growth of the joy through the photos. That's some of the biggest work God has been doing in me through becoming a mama, growing my joy and helping me to be more content with where He has me/who I am.

      You are such a great encourager!
      Heath

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  7. Heather, thank you for sharing. This was so beautiful! I too have found (and continue struggle with finding) value in my body image. I am not a mother yet, but I have thought about the challenges it will bring in relation to this. Thanks for being honest and open. Thanks for loving the body the Lord gave you and choosing to do that daily. You inspire me!

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    1. I can't even begin to describe how much your comment made me smile! Thank you so much, Aimee! I hope that no matter where we are as female bloggers we can help build up and encourage each other in relation to our self-images rather than making one another feel 'less than.' So thankful that Anne started this link-up and excited to see how we all continue to explore this topic and learn to love ourselves better through our writing (and encouraging!).

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  8. I absolutely love your honesty! I am not a mother yet, but I hope to have your strength and beauty (both inside and out) when the time comes!

    Thank you, Dee

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    1. I feel like God GIVES us the strength (and that beauty you speak of) as we become mothers-- I definitely don't think I was as strong a year ago :) It's pretty amazing how He uses different parts of our journeys to grow us in new ways. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. I love this project and I LOVE how you describe your body now, pride in all that leads to your son. What a beautiful picture of love, sacrifice and wisdom. Thank you for your honesty and courage. It has been a blessing reading your posts. Jenna @ a beautiful adventure, and from FMF! Great to "meet" you.

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    1. Jenna! Thank you, girl! Your words are so uplifting and I treasure them. I'm so glad we were connected through FMF, and I agree- so great to 'meet' you too. Looking forward to sharing our journeys with each other more through our little corners of the blogging world :)

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