Reading about A Beautiful Body Project has brought up a sensitve memory for me…
I met up with some old high school friends almost two years ago – and I mean some GOOD high school friends, like my girls. In the last ten years we’ve all scattered to four different corners of the earth so this was a rare occurrence and so very treasured by me.
The other fantastic part was that there were no dudes around – just us girls… And we were gabbing up a storm.
There were, however, two children! One of the other girls had a one-year-old and I had a two-year-old at the time. I also had a substantial bun in the oven at six months pregnant. The other girls were still kid-less and these little humans a bit of a novelty. I remember feeling so relaxed and very happy to be reconnecting with these old friends.
The conversation turned to my life and the travels my husband and I had been doing. About eight months prior my husband and I had been in Australia with our son, stopping and frolicking at every beach we could find… Which in Australia is about ever 2 kilometers. I posted a few pictures of our trip online, which all the girls had seen. One of the photos was of my son and me… On the beach… and I was in a bikini.
One of the girls brought up the picture and was laughing about my belly. She said “I think it’s one of those pictures you take of yourself you think is good… But it’s really not good. Bah-hahahaha!”
This was from one of the kid-less friends.
I acted like I didn’t know what picture she was talking about. But I did. I knew the exact photo she was speaking of because it is probably the ONLY photo of me in a bikini from that trip. And I was choked. Like, literally choked and trying to swallow the lump in my throat.
Honestly, I thought it was a good picture so hearing what she thought when seeing it was a real slap in the face. Why couldn’t she instead see how happy I looked? I remember, at that time, feeling proud of my post-baby body. I remember feeling healthy and confident and like my life couldn’t be any better. And I wore a bikini – stretch marks and, apparently, belly and all – and didn’t think a thing of it… I played with my son on the beach, swam in the waves, and soaked up the glorious Australian sunshine (as much as you do with +30SPF sunblock on) all in a bikini. She had to go and make that comment. To this day it’s what comes to mind when I see that photo.
I felt like saying “lets see how brave you are to even try on a bikini after having a baby, let alone put a picture of yourself in one on the Internet!!” I then wanted to curse her out for being a naïve, silly, immature little girl.
But I didn’t. And the conversation moved on very quickly, thank goodness. I’m not sure if she’ll ever know how much that hurt me. To this day she has no children, but maybe some day she will. And she will understand what it takes – physically and emotionally – to get back into a bikini after having a baby.
The very first thing I did when I had access to my computer again was pull up that picture. My embarrassment and ashamed feelings were replaced with “what’s so bad about that?” I don’t know what she’s seeing… I don’t know what she thinks women’s body’s are supposed to look like. So for the record, here is the picture. Let me know if you see anything out of the ordinary.
Shame on me for posting a picture of a not-totally-perfect body? No… Shame on you for only seeing the imperfections.
When I came across the Beautiful Body Project today it really struck a chord with me and reminded me of how I felt that afternoon. What the hell is wrong with some women? Don’t we have enough cultural/media/whatever-you-want-to-call-it pressure without also being hard on each other? I really struggled to accept my post-baby body (I don’t **think** you can can tell in the picture but my tummy has stretch marks and a looseness to it that wasn’t there pre-baby!) and I want you to tell me it’s ok… And it’s not the first thing you see in my beach photos… And it’s not what your judging me on. There are so many women close to me who are also struggling to accept their post-baby bodies. Finally a realistic look at what women look like under their clothing. No models, no photoshopping, no light tricks. Please take the time to read about this great cause for women. And share it – whether that be on your Facebook page with 10,000 fans or in an email to your very closest friend. It’s important to spread this message to all people – and don’t forget about those kid-less friends! ;)