At first I was offended. I was definitely fit before I had my first child, but I gained 40 pounds during my pregnancy despite continuous exercise, eating the same amount of calories, “giving in” to my cravings for vegetables, and my doctor telling me I was "gaining too much weight".
As someone who has always struggled with a healthy body image (read "fear of being fat"), being pregnant and gaining weight was hard. I wanted to be one of those "skinny pregnant" women. Hearing my doctor say I was gaining too much weight made me cry. I vowed I would be "skinny" again.
After my pregnancy I managed to lose thirty pounds, but still ten pounds heavier than my previous weight, I was unhappy with myself. Even though I wasn't overweight, I thought to myself, “Self, you need to get skinny. You can’t be the “fat” mom. You only have one kid. You should be able to lose this weight.” I never did lose those ten pounds, despite continued exercise; biking, walking, pilates, yoga, Jillian Michaels, etc.
When I saw this picture with an “apology” to the moms she had offended (me being one of them) I wanted to throw my phone across the room like a two year old. Then I realized, “How sad.”
How sad that motherhood has been reduced to your dress size, ab count, and “what’s your excuse?”
How sad to act as if motherhood is a beauty pageant and if you’re still hanging onto those extra ten pounds then shame on you.
How sad that we think that we aren't worth as much as the next mom because of our appearance.
Motherhood is more than being the hot, skinny mom. Motherhood is more than how busy you are, how many extracurricular activities your child participates in, or how long you nurse your kid.
Motherhood is about nurturing. Motherhood is about teaching your child skills; how to behave in public, to say “please” and “thank you”, to discipline, to teach independence and self-reliance. Motherhood is about love; learning to love and teaching your children to love. Motherhood is about charity. Motherhood is about who we are as women, whether we have children or not. We can all be mothers, love each other, and lift one another up.
So instead of asking you, “What’s your excuse?” I’m going to ask you first, “What do you want to change?” and secondly, “How much have you changed since yesterday?” This is for all aspects of our lives; health, church, school, children, friends, etc. It’s okay to have that extra weight. It doesn’t make you a bad mother. Every day is a new day, a day to feel better, be better, and do better.
Now I'm going to tell you and if you can relate to this post I hope you feel it: You are beautiful. You are wonderful. You are doing enough. Motherhood is more than our appearance. Motherhood is about our hearts and our actions. It starts, and ends, with love.