With the New Year comes resolutions and many friends and colleagues working to lose weight or tone up in 2015. For the past few weeks I’ve been among them, desperate to force my body back to what it once was.
But if I’m being honest, even my pre-pregnancy probably wouldn’t be good enough. I’ve struggled with my body for years – desperate to make my boobs bigger, my hips smaller and my collar bone stick out just a little bit more. As a teen and college student, I swam upwards of six hours a day, training and competing against top athletes, excelling in my sport. But it wasn’t good enough to be strong.
At least it wasn’t until many years later when I found out I was pregnant. Pregnancy did something to me. It made me proud of my body, proud to know I was strong and healthy enough to create and support a human life. So in an effort to turn my focus this year away from the number on the scale, I write this open letter. A letter to myself, but also as a reminder to all of you — mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, we are all beautiful.
Dear pre-pregnant self,
You don’t know this, but in a few short years, your body will do something miraculous. It will stretch and grow and give everything to a small person who will change your world.
Your husband will still love you, still find you attractive and you don’t have to brush off his compliments, because they are genuine.
Your friends will complain about their stretch marks, their saggy breasts and their inability to lose those “last 10 pounds,” but you don’t have to join them. Instead be proud of who you are. Know that yes, you are beautiful, but just like your mother always said, outside beauty isn’t everything, it’s what’s on the inside that really matters.
Let the world see the joy in your heart, your passion for changing the world and your love for fellow man. Let exercise be an act of pleasure, not dread, something done for enjoyment, not out of necessity. Have a cookie, or two, or a glass of wine at the end of the day.
You deserve it, you’ve come a long way. While you may not recognize the body in the mirror in a few years, it is indeed yours. And you only get one, so take care of it. But don’t forget to nourish the soul inside as well.
Your postpartum self