I was a few stalls over, celebrating a jeans victory while you stood defeated, asking your grandma not to tell anyone you cried tonight. She gently responded that she would never, and to give yourself a break because you just had your second baby.
My tongue felt heavy in my mouth as I debated whether or not to say anything. You see, just a few months back I was in your shoes, except I was about a year out from my second child's birth. For a year I lamented over my changed body and the way clothes no longer fit me right. I cried several times per week as I got ready in the morning, utterly uncomfortable in my own skin, wondering how my husband could possibly find all these flaws attractive.
I mourned for the way I used to look until, at Thanksgiving when no pants fit me, I decided I had enough. I would diet to lose the 15 pounds that found me when I stopped breastfeeding, but this ran so much deeper than a number on the scale. I just wanted to learn to appreciate my body and try to love it the way my husband does.
It hasn't been easy. The thoughts of self loathing are always tucked away, waiting for a moment of weakness to knock me down completely. But with the support of my husband, the grace of God, and a lot of work on my part to retrain my thinking, I am finally learning to appreciate my body. As you stood in tears, I stood with a smile on my face because for the first time in five years I was able to try on jeans that didn't make me cry. I no longer saw the stretchmarks, what I not so affectionately refer to as my kangaroo pouch, or my pointy hips. I saw a woman with jeans who looked damn good--despite the fact that my body looks similar to how it always has.
But for once, I saw beyond my physical reflection. And I know this blog probably doesn't mean anything to you right now. When I was in the thick of it a 'tiger stripes' post flashed across my newsfeed and I rolled my eyes because these aren't tiger stripes, these are just reminders of how I am ruined. But if you really want to--even if you don't think you can--you can learn to appreciate your body, too. Maybe for you, that will mean dieting. Maybe that will mean you just need to retrain your thinking. But let me assure you: I saw you, and I thought you looked wonderful.
You are more than a changed body. You are more than what you perceived about your appearance. From hearing your conversation with your mom and grandma, I would go so far as to say you are an amazing, capable, loving woman whose kids are lucky to have you. Don't let the lies of our society break your heart. You are beautiful. You deserve to let yourself see your beauty.
Someone who has been there