We all have our flaws, things we'd change to have a "better" body. And it's easy to let these imperfections win out, to let them convince us that we have less worth because of them. But ultimately, reaching the goal of a positive body image comes down to one thing: embracing these imperfections and who you are, the way you are now.
Making peace with yourself. Of course, this is easier said than done. Today's featured posts share personal stories of how some fabulous women are making peace with their own bodies.
Amber from Keepin' it Real in the Suburbs talks about making peace with her body not being entirely her own anymore in her post, Making Peace.
I have deeply ambivalent feelings about this loss of control over my physical self. On the one hand, I am very grateful to have had this experience of birthing and breastfeeding my children. It is an amazing gift. They are amazing gifts. On the other hand, it hasn’t all been super-fun. I didn’t enjoy pregnancy much, between the nausea and the extreme emotions and the constant nosebleeds I got. I don’t really like its physical aftermath, either. And sometimes I really just want some time and space to myself, which isn’t always possible when you have these two little people underfoot.
Kim of Kim Through the Looking-Glass makes peace with her pregnancy-induced varicose veins in her post, Embarassed by My Leg .
I became unexpectedly pregnant with my son when my daughter was just one year old. My first symptom was a juicy varicose vein running across my thigh that made me say to myself - "Hey! I haven't seen one of those since ... oh no!" During my second pregnancy, my veins got much worse much more quickly.
Melodie from Breastfeeding Moms Unite! makes peace with her c-section scar in her post, What to Expect of Your Body After a C-Section.
After I had time to take in the fact that my abdomen wore staples that looked like a Hannibal Lector mask, I was pretty upset that I wouldn’t be able to wear a cute bikini or pretty panties ever again. But I got over that aspect of my c-section pretty fast. My issues with my cesarean were more than skin deep. As far as my body image went I was a little more concerned with my deflated beach ball tummy and stretch marks.
Darcel from Mahogany Way makes peace with her stretchmarks, and not losing her pregnancy weight as fast as some people made her think she might, as she discusses in her post, How Pregnancy Changed My Body.
Watching my body transform, and having the baby belly was amazing. I still think pregnancy is amazing.
I was completely unprepared for the way my body would look later on. The stretch marks, and the way my belly was hanging down just made me feel disgusting. I hated that I had to wear maternity clothes for so long after she was born. I wanted to know why my body didn't snap back into place like the women I saw on TV.
I wanted to know when it was going to snap back.
Celina from Motherhood Saved My Life! makes peace with her "longjas" and episiotomy scar in her post
I don’t view these things as negative. These physical marks are worth the beautiful “prize” at the end of the 40 weeks. Don’t get me wrong I had a few issues with my body after I had each of my children. I gained a lot of weight with each baby and after escaping my first pregnancy stretch mark free, the pregnant belly of my second child wasn’t as forgiving.
In Making Peace With My Body Kate from Momopoly talks about how motherhood and her Catholic faith helped her in her struggle with eating disorders and gave her the inspiration she needed to make peace with her body.
But, like He does so often, God gave me a wake-up call, an “Ah-ha” moment that forced me to take a good, hard look at something other than my new butt graffiti. One day I was staring at Madeline’s naked body and admiring all of her dimples and rolls. She grinned at me, looking up with bright eyes. Something about that innocent smile crushed me. I began to cry as I realized that for the first time in my life my body angst wasn’t only hurting me, it was hurting my daughter. Each time I punished myself for not being thin enough, each time I shed tears over stretch marks, each time I stood in front of the mirror just to berate my body, I was transferring my hate to Madeline and failing to be a healthy role model.
The Verve Path discusses how miscarriage can impact body image and self-esteem, and provides some insights into how she made peace with her body after multiple miscarriages in Pregnancy Loss and Femininity .
It is obvious that a pregnancy loss can affect a woman (and her partner) in many ways emotionally and physically. The physical pain and hormones alone can wreck havoc. What I have realized with this most recent loss is that it affects my feelings of being feminine. Our sense of ourselves as feminine beings can be so intimately tied into our reproductive health and vitality that a loss can cast a dark shadow on our views of ourselves. Feelings of anger at your body, of being “broken”, of being “less of a woman”, are all very common. Personally, I have found that I face a major period of anger at my body.
Erika from DesignHER Momma talks about making peace with her new swimsuit body in her post, Beach Body.
I wish somebody would have shook me, looked me in the eye, and told me that I will never look as good as I do at that very moment. Told me that my stomach will never be as tight, and my b00bs will never be as perky. Told me to stand up straight and find some freakin' confidence.
Honestly, I don't wish for those days back. I'm happy and content with my place in life. I admit that things on my body wiggle and jiggle a bit more than they used to. I'm ok with this (kinda). My body has created and housed 3 perfect little babies, and I have the war wounds to prove it.
Paige from Baby Dust Diaries provides some tips for making peace with your own body in Three Practices for Loving the Skin You're In .
I find though, that there aren’t very many tools for physically practicing self-acceptance. If we wanted to learn to relax we could think about what stresses us and how we want to feel but we would also be able to implement daily practices, like breathing and meditation, to help us embrace the change. Here I present three practices for learning to love the skin you are in.
Also be sure to check out the great body image submissions from "Sexy Moms" that Melodie is featuring today at Breastfeeding Moms Unite!