Ashamed of my first family photo
It wasn't until I felt ashamed of my first family photo of the four of us that I knew something had to give.
I had just given birth to my second baby in less than two years and the only thing I thought when I looked at that photo was how awful I looked.
I was so in love with my little tribe. Holding my little koala bear and introducing her big brother to her for the first time was magical. I had (have) the most incredibly supportive, loving husband who would do anything to make me happy. He was so very proud of me, his Wonder Woman Wife going through pregnancy and labour for our daughter. And still, overwhelmingly I felt shame and embarrassment that I had gained so much weight.....again!
When I think about it now, it seems like such a waste. Such a waste of time to have been so worried about how much weight I had gained immediately after giving birth. I had already cross checked my calendar while I was still in hospital to lock in my first weight watchers meeting postpartum. I had lost the weight before, twice, and I could, and would do it again.
What was it that led me here? How could I be ashamed of my first family photo? Why was my weight and body image my number one concern after having a spectacularly beautiful baby?
I realise now, it was the self loathing that I had been brewing on for as long as I can remember. It was a life time of nasty primary school nicknames that became embedded in me as my truth. It was even after losing 40kg still focusing on the things I wanted to change not the things that I loved or was proud of. I remember at the end of my weight watchers journey after losing close to 40kg, looking in the mirror and grabbing my 1/2 handful of 'tummy' thinking to myself, I am finally going to look decent when I loose this. I had lost close to 40kg for F sake! I looked amazing, why couldn't I see it!
My mind never caught up to my body after losing weight. I still thought of myself as a big girl and even though I knew I was smaller than I had been I never stopped to appreciate the massive change that I had accomplished. I had spent so long numbing these feelings I didn't even know I was still feeling them.
That photo though sparked something inside me that was even more powerful than the embarrassment. I knew it wasn't right to have an overwhelming sense of shame from my first family photo. As I watched my baby girl in her newest weeks, I had this fearsome urge to stop her battling the same body image demons that I did.
Initially I had decided that I needed to make sure she wasn't overweight like I was growing up. Surely that will stop the awful self talk and lack of self worth that led me to the shame of my first family photo. But that's not it.
It's not me focusing on her not being overweight that will stop her battling those daemons. It's role modeling what body love means. It's me truly, madly deeply accepting me for exactly who I am, right here right now. Falling in love with my body, it's beauty and it's flaws and owing it.
When I look at that photo now, I have the most amazing sense of pride. Like a lioness with her cubs. Goodness me how times have changed. I have forgiven myself for being so unhappy with my body for so long, for being so vain immediately after bringing such beautiful life into the world. I was in a different place then, and that's OK. But now that I really do accept and love my body for exactly what it is, everything has changed.
Now I focus on role modeling what it means to be a Wonder Woman, rather than stopping her being overweight.
My baby girl sees me looking after myself. Exercise is a normal, happy part of our lives, and let me tell you a 2 year old doing burpees or push ups is pretty freaken cute. My baby girl is strong like her Mumma. She is kind, she loves those close to her heart with everything she has.
I know without a shadow of a doubt she already is her own Wonder Woman and I never want her to forget that. I know I am now on the right path with her to stop those nasty nasty body image demons that plagued me because her biggest female role model, her Mumma bear, doesn't give them a voice anymore.