let talk baby weight.
after having eleanor by some stroke of luck my over 30 body snapped back. within one week i was wearing my jeans and was back to my pre-baby weight within two months. i just assumed this was the norm, or at least would be my norm. then i had felix... i gained the same amount of weight with both of them but my body couldn't be any more different this time around. here we are four months later and my jeans may be on but they are far from fitting the way they used to. more than that i am just uncomfortable in my skin.
i've done my best at loving this body. marveling at it's ability to grow and birth two healthy children. i've tried to see the marks and loose skin as part of a bigger story, one that i am proud to tell, one that will last much longer than me. truthfully, though, it has been hard. hard to look at my naked body and even harder to see it as beautiful. i've kept my self criticism mostly to myself. even at two years old i want to be mindful of how eleanor hears me speaking of myself and of beauty. but friends, it has been a struggle.
i've been an athlete my whole life and staying physically fit has come easy...until now. having two children has made it easy for me to not make time for myself and my physical health. i decided that moving to cincinnati and being near support would change that and so sunday, for the first time in nearly two years, i worked out.
i've never been very good at doing anything gradually and so i attended a bootcamp type workout. i knew i was in trouble when the instructor said, "let's start with 2 minutes of jumping jacks." i remember the jumping jacks of my childhood being fun (apparently only for about 30 seconds). lets just say that i was done after our warm up, dizzy, and unable to bring my heart rate back down. i kept at it, proud as i am, and demanded more from my body than it was capable of giving. and then it broke down and screamed at me to stop. i just couldn't push any harder. i took a break and as i sat there something else in me broke. my eyes welled up and i realized that this was the first time in my life that i said, "i can't." i've run marathons and swam more meters than i thought possible. i know what it means to suffer for a goal and to push past the hurt for the reward. but this was different. i had reached a limit.
in the days that have followed as my body has cursed me for my stubborn and prideful push towards an unrealistic goal i've decided that my physical health is important and that i need to make the time to do the things that make me feel good because ultimately that is where beauty comes from. but that it will also take time and easing into it will most likely bring about the best and most lasting change.
incidentally, a friend shared this story today about a photo project showing women as they really are which couldn't have been more fitting and more necessary for me to read. here are words from one participant, "i had exposed myself to jade. not just my flesh, and typically hidden parts, but the angles, and lines and aspects of me that came with being a mother. the exposure called to light remembrances of how my body changed shape over two different pregnancies, and two births, and the stories that my body has stored from the act of surrender to motherhood and the unexpected life that has become mine since taking the leap of faith into motherhood." beautifully said.