I’ve been self-conscious about my body for most of my life, middle school was the peak of my insecurity. While the other girls were developing the soft curves of womanhood, my body was reminiscent of a seven-year-old boy—with boobs to match.
My teenage years were filled with self-loathing and unhappiness. Looking back it’s both frustrating and sad. Frustrating, because I was beautiful, sad, because I couldn’t see it.
At one time or another, I’ve been critical of nearly every facet of my figure—every bump, every bulge, and every dimple. I’ve obsessed about my weight, my height, my skin, my hips, my belly, my butt, and everything in between.
I’ve worried I was too skinny, then too fat. I’ve worried my ears were too big, my nose too crooked, and I’ve peeled-off shirt after shirt, obsessing about a nearly non-existent muffin-top.
And then, I became a mother.
Motherhood has added even more flaws and blemishes to my already-battered birthday suit. Alongside my dimples and curves, I now have extra skin on my belly, stretch marks here-and-there, and upper arms that are strong, but giggly; and for the first time in my life, I’m completely comfortable with the way I look.
My body has carried two babies, each nearly nine pounds. I have been to war, my body has been in battle, and I have the scars to prove it. I’m proud of those scar, those bumps—I earned them.
I embrace this body, because of what it has done, and where it has been. It’s more than just my body, it’s my suit of armor, it tells my story. There are scars from an adventurous childhood, freckles from summers on the lake, and stretch marks from carrying my babies—I wouldn’t change any of those moments, or the body that carried me through them.
I wish I would have stumbled on this insight sooner—this confidence. I suppose it was all meant to be part of my journey. Maybe I wouldn’t have this appreciation if I hadn’t experienced the pain. I’m not sure, but I’m glad I’ve finally arrived at my destination.
Our society tells us that perfection is beautiful, that our flaws are unattractive, but even a rose has thorns. If I didn’t have my stretch marks, or the extra skin on my belly, I wouldn’t have my babies. I wouldn’t be a mother—one of the greatest sources of my happiness.
I will gladly accept the thorns to experience the beauty of the flower. For me, I found true beauty in myself when I became a mother. Motherhood has allowed me to let go of long-harbored insecurities, and embrace my flaws with open arms—because as far as I can tell, they aren’t going anywhere, and for once, I’m OK with that.
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