I remember that exact moment when I looked into the bathroom mirror at my body after my daughter was delivered via c-section. I remember the shock like it was yesterday. The thoughts raced through my head as I was in disbelief that my body could have looked so different just 5 days ago. It is truly an amazing experience. There is no body transformation like it. I could not believe and could never have been prepared for how I could go from being a gorgeous, voluptuous, pregnant woman with a glowing full face and huge, tight, round belly to a woman with a pouch that drooped down and rolls of ‘dough’ that were once pulled tight and stretched out beautifully and perfectly by the baby that was housed safely in my belly. I immediately tried to comfort myself and tell myself that my body will go back to the way it was with lots of hard work and time and I had all of the skill and knowledge to know how to do it. It will be fine….It will go back….It will go back….
But, the truth is, it didn’t go “back to the way it was.”
Just as it had changed into looking totally different when I was pregnant, it became different again and again as my little baby girl was growing month after month.
As a matter of fact, my little girl is now 4 and my body is still changing. And so is yours.
The truth of the matter is, all of our bodies are constantly in a state of change. Change is the only constant. Our bodies are changing moment to moment in response to our environments, events, foods, etc.
We can’t freeze time and we can’t freeze our bodies to look the way we want them to at one particular stage when we liked the way our bodies looked.
We are all constantly in the practice of “accepting” our bodies because our bodies are always changing. But will we ever be able to truly accept our bodies? I won’t. Read on to find out why. It’s not what you think.
In preparing for writing this blog post I did a simple google search for the words “mom bod” as I was curious as to what would come up because I remembered that around six months ago there were many funny articles and jokes being made about the “dad bod.” Needless to say, the search brought up some interesting results. I was not surprised to see numerous titles that pertained to the struggles women have with their bodies. There were also many articles that encouraged the “acceptance” of the mom bod while on the other hand there were passionate rants about why we should NOT accept the dad bod. It was as if in order to liberate ourselves from self-scrutiny we would have to choose NOT to accept the male version of a “parenthood body” because as the article said; “it doesn’t go both ways.” Wow. That’s crazy, right?
Here are some of the titles that came up in the search:
5 Reasons to Embrace Your Mom Bod
Bring on the Mom Bod
“Dad Bod” is a Sexist Atrocity
Women Are Sharing Photos of their Mom Bods to Prove that Beauty Has No Standards
Why Women are More Accepting of a Dad Bod Than Men Are of a Mom Bod.
(and, by the way, that last title had a pop up ad -21 Days to a Bikini Body- that I had to “X-out” in order to be able to see/read the article.)
There were many commonalities in the articles. Of course, the word acceptance came up a lot which led me to put it in the title of this blog post. But, also as you can see, this title ends with a question mark.
Let’s review the definition of acceptance…
(noun) the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group.
Let those words resonate for a moment. “Being received as adequate or suitable….”
I don’t like to think of my body as “adequate” or “suitable.” I find those terms to be weak descriptions for how one should think about their body.
Yet, so many women do not even believe that their bodies are adequate or suitable. So many people in general, can’t or don’t accept their bodies.
Women especially struggle with accepting their bodies. This is nothing new and I am certainly not sitting here thinking that the words that I type are going to finally put an end to that. Although I would love for that so much because I would love for all women (including myself) to be 100% free of negative feelings about their bodies.
Yet, we accept the notion that we should accept our bodies after motherhood? Or, we should accept our bodies at any stage for that matter. Right?
I propose we change the focus altogether.
I don’t think that we should accept our bodies ever.
Bear with me.
I don’t think that we should “receive our bodies as adequate.”
I don’t believe that we should find our bodies to be “suitable.”
I propose that you love your body right now and tomorrow and the next day and every day thereafter.
I don’t mean that you should love your body in the way that you think I mean.
When most people hear the words “love your body” they think of it as a way that you feel about your body. As if it is a feeling you have….as in the concept of love being a feeling or an emotion.
I am talking about love as a verb. Love as an action word.
If you love your body every day (love as an action) you are automatically doing more than merely accepting it. You are honoring it! It is just as a commitment of love that one makes when they choose to marry another person. They are committing to love that other person. Loving that other person takes on many forms in the course of actions you take for that person. You listen to them, support them, encourage them, take care of them when they are sick, lift them up when they are feeling down, and you do things to make them feel good or special. You are there for them day after day and you show up for them.
THIS IS EXACTLY HOW YOU SHOULD BE LOVING YOUR BODY.
Listen to it. Support it. Encourage it. Take care of it when it is feeling down or sick. Lift it Up! ; )
Do things to make it feel good.
What does that look like?
Listen to it– when it is tired or if a part of it hurts, slow down and rest. When it is hungry, feed it healthy, nourishing foods. Encourage it to stay healthy by moving it and challenging it a little. Lift it up by lifting some weights to keep it strong.
Can you see how you can love your body? Love as an action.
If you love your body with the things you do with it, the food that you feed it, the rest you offer it, you are automatically honoring it. Honor it always and your relationship with it will automatically improve.
You won’t even have to focus on “accepting” it. That’s weak and lame. We don’t love our mates because they are adequate. One doesn’t stand at the alter and say I chose to accept you because I find you adequate and suitable. One stands there and simply says I love you and I want to love you and honor you. Make that same commitment to your body because after all, your body essentially is the “house of you.”