I turned 31 on Saturday. 31. It sounds a lot older than I feel.
The dress you see in the GIF above was my birthday present to myself. Look familiar? Let me refresh your memory:
That is me in the same dress the weekend before I left for Bulgaria.
It wasn’t the dress itself that was the present. It was the fact that, 6 months after giving birth to my son, I can finally fit into one of my favorite outfits again. Sort of. The boobs still require quite a bit of adjusting and jiggling before they will get in there, and the dress definitely looks ‘different’ on me, but not bad. Woo hoo.
There’s seems to be a resurgence in the body positive movement hitting just in time to make me realize that I have never actually been body positive. I THOUGHT I was body positive, because I don’t judge strangers (often) and I had come to accept my own body.
I struggled with liking my body in middle school and high school, when acne popped up all over my arms. Picking at it became a nervous/bored tick that I still have at the age of 31. I am no longer ashamed of my arms though. They are something that is a part of me, and while I do not like them, I refuse to cover them and I refuse to be ashamed of them. I thought that made me body positive. I also thought that since I was never “uber-thin”but liked the way I looked I was body positive. I was wrong.
You know how I know I was wrong? Because now, weighing 75 kg (165 for those of you back in the states) rocks my vanity.
I gained 28 kilos while I was pregnant. (My husband says 23, but it depends on when you consider the start of that pregnancy- the point is that at the end I was 28 kg heavier than when I had come to identify with.) I was a little upset by that, especially when the anesthesiologist chastised me during the placement of my epidural (really, you are going to choose the most painful time in my life to talk about my weight gain!?!), but I figured it wasn’t too bad.
Then, I read up and was assured that the weight would melt off between the third and fourth month of breastfeeding, so I wasn’t too worried.
Besides, my mother rebounded from her first two pregnancies to an ‘acceptable’ weight.
Now, I am 6 months in and I realize that this weight is not going anywhere. I’ve had an injured toe for the past couple of months that has prevented me from working out very much, and the breastfeeding doesn’t do much on its own. The 9 month mark is only three months away and there is no way that I will be back down to 65 kilograms (143 lbs).
All of that is just fact. Here’s the interesting part: I am not okay with that!
This has been a very humbling couple of months, and every day is a learning struggle as I figure out how to feel about this. It is easy enough to logically know that my body will change in many different ways over the years and I need to love and appreciate it. Grokking that is a whole other game, though.
Suddenly, I am realizing that I am very vain, and that even though I do no hold my self worth or confidence in my appearance, I do have a whole lot of pride that used to be held through rock climbing, running, and looking more or less athletic.
I am hoping that I can work through this experience and get back to loving sports for their experience while leaving behind the pride and vanity. It seems like an impossible task though.