Body image is always something that will be talked about. Everyone has an opinion on how it should be viewed or what is the norm but the norm is never going to be the same for everybody. My story with body image is going to be so completely different that any one else’s. We may relate with other stories but no body and no story is exactly the same which if you think about it, that’s pretty amazing!
My body image story starts as far back as I can remember. I can look back to my pre-puberty stage and kind of, slightly, remember a time where I didn’t care about my body but for the most part all my memories growing up are hindered by thoughts I had at that time regarding my body. I remember always feeling different because I was taller than all my friends and never as skinny. I remember changing after PE when I was probably in 7th grade and one of my classmates commenting on my stretch marks that happened after I grew 6 inches that summer. I was always self conscience. I maybe did good at masking it, but it effected a lot of my childhood.
After high school and into college, I still battled insecurities but I could finally feel myself gaining some confidence. Then I made the decision to get married young and my physical and mental health took a toll. The marriage was a mistake, but not, because I did learn a lot from it. After my divorce, I went on a journey of self discovery. I found my health and lost a significant amount of weight. I found and married the man of my dreams, but then my body decided to throw more curve balls at me and hit me with infertility.
My battle with infertility has been tough. It has had me hating my body for not doing what it is genetically designed to do. It’s made me hate my stomach even more because the stretch marks are not from growing a human. I’ve hated my butt because it’s still numb from the injections that couldn’t even help me carry my baby full term. My body has been shot up, bruised, and bloody from infertility but still no viable pregnancy to prove it. My body is a failure.
Over the last 2 1/2 years I’ve gained a lot of weight back, call it stress or emotional eating, but I call it life. In those 2 ½ years I’ve hit the lowest of lows and the highest of highs and my body has been with me through it all. I can’t hate it after that. I can’t hate it after it’s fought tooth and nail to become a mother through adoption. I can’t hate it after it’s spent countless nights staying up, bonding, and nurturing a new baby who I’m lucky enough to call my son. I cannot hate it after all the hours we’ve spent playing on the floor, being crawled on like a mountain, or a sleepy head laying on my arm. I cannot hate the vessel that has led me to my greatest calling in life. It didn't happen the way I pictured, but its so much more beautiful than I ever thought possible.
Social media has so many great qualities, but the harm it can do to female body image is scary and my biggest advice is to get away from those people/accounts who make you feel belittled. Some accounts think they are inspirational, but the affect they have is completely opposite. Those words of encouragement saying “no excuses” or “Just make time” can be shattering to someone who is in a completely different situation than the one posting it. Instead of encouraging, it makes others feel “I made an excuse. I guess I’m a failure”. Unfollow those people if they make you feel like a failure, because you are not one. I love social media for all the great things it can do and the awesome connections I've made through it, but I do think we all need to be a bit better about what we let affect us on there. No 2 lives are the same and no 2 social media accounts will be the same. Remember that social media is almost always that person's highlight reel, they don't show the struggle side of things. After welcoming Rhett home I was having the hardest time getting on Instragram because I was following a lot of fitness accounts that made me feel depressed. I took a step back and decided to delete any account that did not make me feel better. I deleted a lot and added even more mom and adoption accounts. Find those accounts that feed you positivity. It will make you love life so much more!
Now that my baby is for the most part sleeping through the night, I should be able to get up and work out before he wakes up. Some days I do. Other days, I don’t. I sleep a bit longer because my body and mind need that more than exercise. I still dislike the weight I’m at, but if I’m making the conscious effort to be better. I’m okay with that. We as women need to remember that we can not like our body, but still love ourselves. Self love and body image are not the same thing. We are much more than our physical form. Have a good heart, be a nice person, and remember you're worthy of so much self love.
Wife and Mom! I love all things fitness, nature, and design inspired. Infertility warrior and new mom through adoption. Living this busy life the best way possible!