Available in All Shapes & Sizes

It's hard to believe that it has been eight years since I graduated from high school. It is even harder to believe that eight years ago I thought I was fat. I've never been skin and bones. Even at my lightest, in high school, I weighed 135 pounds of solid girl. My legs have always been like tree trunks. (Who in my gene pool is responsible for this, I'm not sure. Both of my parents have spectacular, not-tree-trunk-like legs, I think.) My tummy has always held a little pudge, even though I played field hockey & lacrosse and never slept a wink. It's not like that was a surprise given my eating habits, which included indulging in multiple dinners each night, and regularly gorging on full-sized bags of Cool Ranch Doritos all by my lonesome.

When I got to college, I packed on the Freshman 15 or so. Thanks to the less-than-stellar meals choices in Jesse's Cafeteria, I frequently opted for mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner. I quickly learned what that'll do to you (besides make you feel like crap).

Then I got pregnant with Ben. I could end the blog here and say, "The rest is history", but you're not going to be so lucky today. I gained about 40 pounds during that pregnancy. I just knew he was going to be 20 of that, but alas, he was only 8 pounds 13.7 ounces. The other 30+ pounds weren't going to be gone so easily.

In an attempt to be brief(er than usual), blah blah blah and 2 more kids later, here I am. I weigh today what I weighed when I got pregnant with Abby. That's a pretty good milestone for me. Of course, I'd prefer to lose another 10...or 20...or 30. But I'm changing my perspective. I am in the middle of convincing myself that it is NOT about the number on the scale so much as it is about making healthy choices, fitting into my clothes, feeling confident, and establishing habits that will serve as a positive example for my kids.

I also have a different point of view when it comes to how I perceive my body. It has been a vessel for life. It has sheltered, nurtured, nourished, and protected a tiny life from conception to birth three times over now. After birth, my body has fed my babies for 4 months, 7 months, and hopefully a year or more. My body is now the home to what some might call battle scars; stretch marks, loose skin, sagging breasts, a few pounds in places that didn't carry weight before. I don't think of them as battle scars, because that implies some sort of struggle between my body and pregnancy, and my experience was quite the contrary. My body was designed for this purpose.

I'll call them after-effects.

I have a long way to go before I am giggly over how my body looks, and truth be told I probably never will be. But I am no longer sad about it. It's been through a lot, and on the same vein, has accomplished a lot. Moms are not made from a cookie cutter. We're available in all shapes and sizes. What we look like has very little, if nothing, to do with our parenting.

So, you can take your BMI and shove it. For now, I will chip away at my "overweight" status by playing with my kids and trying not to keep so much junk food in my house.

To the moms out there who don't love their bodies, don't get down. Small changes bring about big ones. And you are *not* alone!


Diane said...

Way to go, Jennie! I only wish that we could realize this as teenagers. Well done.

If you haven't read it, look up the poem "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou. You'll find many of the same feelings and ideas.

Anonymous said...

Very well said. I know I learned a new appreciation for my body after having Zane. As you said, this is what our bodies are made to do :) I just might have to start calling my differences after-effects also, love it!

-Cara R.

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