One of the strangest times in a woman’s life is when their body is essentially growing a little human being and changing rapidly. For me, this had been the periods in my life when oddly enough I became more in-tune with myself and I felt I could flaunt or celebrate myself more.
My body has been through 3 full-term pregnancies, my weight fluctuating up and down with the beginning, middle and end of each. I wasn’t self-conscious of my appearance or how my clothes fit on me. These moments are just about the times I can say I’ve ever felt free in my skin.
I took advantage of my first pregnancy by eating what I wanted (to a point though, at the advise of my OBGYN), I wore form fitting shirts or dresses that I wouldn’t otherwise, and I purchased two-piece swimwear that I’ve only worn — while pregnant. During this time I also took advantage of the down times I had from work to rest my body and nurture it because I knew I’d never get those quiet times again for a long time.
When I went through my second pregnancy, I was so busy chasing after our dog and a toddler that I sometimes didn’t have an appetite or just completely forgot to eat. By the time I was pregnant with baby number three I felt as though my body was about to fall apart at any second and I needed (and desperately hoped at some points) to be placed on bed rest. Any long standing or walking periods felt like absolute torture. I guess this is what bearing children almost in succession can do to you.
Often times when the kids and I are out, they’ll complain about having to walk and say that their legs are tired and “why do we have to walk so much?”. My response every time is “You shouldn’t complain about walking. This is your body. You should take care of it and part of that is walking and exercising. You should be grateful that you’re able to do that.” This is not the same speech I give myself, unfortunately.
Though I get regular headaches, I take medicine instead of cutting out the sources. Instead of stretching twice daily to cure my backaches, I reduce activity in an attempt to place a band-aid on the wound. Rather than cutting back on the sugary treats and unhealthy foods when I’m exhausted, I continue eating them resulting in my clothes being unable to fit like they used to. Everyday when I feel lethargic and unmotivated I should be putting in a 30-40 minute exercise instead of putting it off for another day. There are so many ways in which I diminish my self-esteem and overall health that I would never want to see or hear my kids do to themselves
Throughout the last 6 years of being pregnant for a total of 27 months, producing milk to nurture 3 babies on demand for more than half that time and being a constant care-giver around the clock, I’ve actually spent very little of my time nurturing myself.
So here I am: at my before and at my after.
This is me after being a home to three children and giving my absolute all to love and care for them.
This is me after making a conscious decision to stop eating through any unhappy emotions.
This is me after putting all of my family’s needs before my own.
This is me after needing to make changes for the better and needing to set an example of a healthier lifestyle to my family.
This is me before I overhaul my newly learned habits of turning to sweet treats to get over long, exhausting days.
This is me before I transform my mind to see myself in a new light, a brighter light.
This is me before I find out exactly what else my body is capable of and pushing myself to preconceived limits.
This is me before the rest of my long life I plan to live and enjoy with my family.
This body of mine has really been put to the test over the past few years. Every second of every day it is doing amazing work. Sure there will be some days when I look in the mirror and fuss about this or that, but I admire every inch. Through just changing my mindset I’ve already noticed a difference in the way I eat or move my body each day. The change begins within.