I weighed 110 pounds pre-pregnancy. My standard dumbbell curl was 20 to 25lbs. I could do eight to ten pull-ups without pause. I could run a mile in under seven minutes. A good day meant my six-pack abs were still visible at the end of it.
To be clear, my body does not define my worthiness. I understand that the physical aesthetic is far less important than eating well and exercising consistently. Even as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I’m the first to say that internal beauty is paramount.
Still, none of that changes the image I see when I look in the mirror after giving birth in December 2020. None of that changes the negativity bouncing around in my head that I try to keep at bay. Honestly, I probably have a mild form of body dysmorphia. However, as my body continues to recover postpartum, I’m re-learning the challenges of starting from the bottom.
Six months after giving birth to Shiloh I continue to struggle. My run isn’t fast enough. My Peloton metrics are too low. My arms aren’t defined enough. My legs are too thick. My abs aren’t as they used to be … yet.
I’m not comparing myself to you. My competition is the “me” I used to be. The thing is, I’m not sure it’ll ever be as it was. My hips are wider. My boobs are bigger. (I never thought I’d miss my small boobs until my first outdoor run.) More than just my schedule and my energy levels have changed.
I had mentally prepared to see my body change and evolve through the first three trimesters. In fact, I loved every moment of connection with my little man and felt empowered by the pregnancy. I never considered the fourth trimester and beyond. Turns out I should have because my body still feels foreign to me.
So, what’s the solution?
Just keep going. Keep trying to increase my endurance. Keep picking up the 15lb dumbbells instead of the 10lb dumbbells. Keep logging as many workouts as I can fit in with the limited time I have. That’s what I want Hailey and Shiloh to notice … not the constant internal criticism. I want to prove to myself that I may be down but I’m not out. I want to prove to my children that effort is everything and that the mental game should match the physical one.
Our bodies are nothing short of amazing. It took nine months to birth a healthy and happy 7lb and 1oz baby. If that doesn’t prove that transformation is a journey, I don’t know what does!
In the words of Megan Thee Stallion, “body crazy:”
Your struggles may be different. You may look at me and think, “she looks the same.” And although that’s nice to hear, your opinion holds little weight. I hope in these words you can find peace in your feelings. I hope you are reminded that you have a friend in motherhood with who you can be authentic and vulnerable. No holds barred.
Say it with me:
I am worthy.
I am loved.
I am strong.
I am ready…body and all.