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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