First let me say that I don't walk around the house talking about how much I hate my body. I don't look in the mirror and cringe. I don't avoid being in pictures with my children. My husband knows that I'm not happy with my body. I also know that he loves my body. That has certainly not changed after three pregnancies. If anything, he is more attracted to me now than ever. I understand the new movement for women to love and accept their bodies as they are. Stop hiding, stop shaming ourselves. No two women are built the same and we have to stop comparing ourselves and instead be happy with who we are.
All that being said, I do not like my mom body. I gained a fair amount of weight with my first pregnancy, and it took a normal amount of time to lose most of it. With the second pregnancy I gained less and it came off faster (possibly due to chasing a two-year-old while nursing an infant). But, the third pregnancy snuck up on me during a busy and hectic out of state move. It took me longer to lose that weight (probably due to the stress of a move and being stuck inside with three kids under four for our first Illinois winter). Now my youngest is almost 18 months and I am still ten pounds heavier than I'd like. But that isn't what bothers me. If I cared enough to be more careful with my nutrition and work a little harder on my workouts I could lose those ten pounds. When I look at my stomach in the mirror and suck in the belly (as we all do) that's when I see what bothers me. My belly button has been destroyed. There's too much skin hanging around it. There are light, feathery lines all across my belly. Don't even get me started on my chest. I was pregnant or nursing for almost five years straight. Now they are deflated and I am sad.
The reality is that I am a stay at home mother of three small children and I am getting older every day. If I don't like my body I will have to do something about it. It's not easy to find time to work out and it's really (REALLY) hard to change my diet. But I'm working on it and that's a good thing. My irritations come when I scroll through my Facebook feed and see another collection of pictures of mothers in their underwear, or another article written by a woman who believes I need to love my body as it is. If I don't like my muffin top or saggy skin and that is motivating me to change my eating habits and get healthier, than maybe that's a good thing. I don't have to be happy about my stretch marks in order to be a happy person, or to show my daughter how to be confident and happy with who she is. I don't have to smile at my less than stellar chest in order to feel sexy around my husband or happy in my marriage. So if you are happy enough with your body to pose naked for a statement photo shoot, awesome. Good for you. But I'm going to continue to adapt to a healthier lifestyle. I have found great work outs with other moms who can support my need to improve. And I've found workouts that allow me to involve my children and show them that my drive to be more fit and healthier is a good and positive thing. And I will change my mom body until it looks the way I want. (Although even then, I will most likely never, ever show the world pictures of me in less than a bathing suit that covers most everything.)