I saw this photo. My eyes were drawn immediately to that pooch. Yep. Right there for the world to see. And I cringed. Looking at it right now; still cringing… (Should I mention that it’s extra pooch-y because I’m kind of leaning over? Kidding. It’s pooch-y like that all the time, yo.)
I read blogs and posts all of the time that talk about the post baby pooch and stretch marks and how we should see them as badges of honor. I have a hard time with that. Of course I want to see these things as badges of honor. Of course I want to look at myself in the mirror and be proud of what I see. Who doesn’t.
Each time I put on my tri jersey and too-tight tri shorts this season, I’ve wanted to scream, “hey! I just had a baby!” and “Yes. I am intentionally not zipping up my wetsuit all the way. Did I mention, I just had a baby?!”. Each time I’ve been at the gym post Lucy, I’ve wanted to explain, “I’m slow because I just had a baby! Remember seeing me throughout my pregnancy over there on that bike? It’s me. I just had a baby.”.
Why do I do that to myself? I did 2 triathlons this past weekend. TWO. And when people have asked how it went, instead of just saying, “GREAT!”, I say something about how slow I’ve become post Olivia and Lucy. Because, truth is, I am slower now than I was before. But WHO CARES. My skin is stretchier too. I have a pooch where it used to be flat. My back hurts more than it used to. I have less time to train than before. I am much more forgetful now. I have stretch marks – lots of them. My 4th sport is breast feeding. But. Who. Cares.
Because I have more joy in my life now than before. I watch my girls sleeping and it’s all that it takes to undo me. Hearing O yell, “Yay, MOMMY!” on the tri course made me more proud of myself than being the fastest. Seeing their sweet, sweet smiles looking up at me even though I just woke up makes me feel beautiful. Feeling them nuzzle deeper into my neck fills me with more love than words can say. Bearing their weight in my arms makes me feel whole.
Having kids didn’t fix my body image issues; believe me. But they sure make me feel like the most beautiful princess in all the land – and I’ll take it.
So I’m putting this right here. To remind myself – there’s a million things wrong with me. But, these two.