Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Show Me The Love

In my Stitch Fix post, I mentioned I still hadn't gotten back to my pre-baby shape.

A dear reader commented and told me to knock it off, and I'm so glad she did! You see, I easily fell into the trap of being self-deprecating when it came to my body; her response reminded me to appreciate my body instead. 

She said exactly what I would have told a friend if she'd put her body down. I've been trying to model body positivity to my kids since day one. Like when 3 year old Margaret cradled my booty in her little hands and said, "Dat's bumpy Mommy!" I just thanked her and told her I was glad to have such a strong bottom and legs. When the kids commented on my boobs, or Jack reached out and flapped my underarms for entertainment, I reacted similarly. I made sure they saw me eat what I wanted and not be ruled by a scale. 

But with other women, it's so darn easy to break into the tired habit of communally wishing our tummies were tighter, our pants looser. Or, we put ourselves down in order to appear modest. I knew those clothes looked nice on me, but would that have seemed too show-off-y to say? Even at a Bible Study retreat last weekend with my close friends, we engaged in some stretch mark show and tell, and had a long discussion of rogue facial hair.

So, thanks to the reader who snapped me back to reality, this morning I spent some time thinking about the many reasons I appreciate my body. 

Here are a few:

I am still in AWE of how my body grew, carried, and nourished Baby Andrew, even at age 46!

I am grateful my body enjoys food so much. I love all kinds of food and have no allergies. From our first date on, I have always eaten more than my husband. However, when I was pregnant with Andrew, my heartburn was so terrible, food was not my friend. Even water made me cry. Since Andrew's birth, I've been grateful to able to thoroughly enjoy food again.

My arms are coming through for me in a BIG way. With 2 injured shoulders, I was concerned about having to lift a baby again. They get sore, for sure, but I can (and do!) pick up that 20+ lb hunk of cuteness hundreds of times a day. Today, it felt like 200 times by 8 a.m. An egg carton mattress topper helps give my shoulders a good rest at night, and I'm up for doing it again the next day. Thank you, arms and shoulders!

My teeth have never given me a minute's trouble. They are strong, and except for some stress grinding, in great shape. That's good, because Smiling's my Favorite. 

I'm even thankful for my inch of gray! It represents love and perseverance to me, because I started graying after the sudden loss of my mother when I was 18. It reminds me of what I've gone through and what I can do. 

My feet are a size 7 1/2, about as average as you can get. That makes it super-easy to shop for shoes. And as long as I wear only comfy ones, my feet are happy!

My heart. Grief actually hurts the heart. I felt it. Yet my heart continues to keep me going. Thank you, heart!

Those are just some of the reasons I'm grateful for my body. What about you? If you are suffering from chronic disease, when it feels as if your body is betraying you, some days it's probably hard to find a single thing to appreciate about it. 

I hope your body is kind to you today, and you to it!


Laura Colter said...

Goodness, did I need this today! I read your post after my 3 doctor phone call! I laid in bed this morning staring at the art on the wall reading it over and over "Wake with gratitude". It was hard to do, but I found plenty to be grateful for!

One crazed mommy said...

Love this - yes, we can all be too unkind to ourselves. I just got my first Stitch Fix Box yesterday, and was so excited to try on the new clothes. Of course, I'm in the bathroom judging everything I put on. I hated shirt #1 - so I asked my husband...he loved it. I LOVED shirt #2 - it reminded me a little of your sheer orange one, except mine was blue with a navy tank under it - adored it. Hubby liked it too. The dress...oh boy - I was shooting myself down every angle I looked at - hubby walked into the bathroom as I was moping about it - I wanted to love it...it was gorgeous. He walks in, looks at me and goes...WOW - I don't know the cost, but that's a keeper! Awwwww - I was looking at my tummy bulge, and back bulge, and all the other bulges...and he says Wow! It is a bit more form fitting than I'm used to, but one positive is it makes my boobs look good. Haha! So - I'll get a form fitting slip and give it a go...why not! So - I'm keeping the whole box. Yay!

Diane said...

Episcopalian priest, Barbara Brown Taylor, writes, "There comes a time when it is vitally important for your spiritual health to drop your clothes, look in the mirror, and say, ‘Here I am. This is the body-like-no-other that my life has shaped. I live here. This is my soul’s address"

Leeann said...

This was really a beautiful post, and I thank you for it.
Well done, Anna. We are blessed indeed!

Sharon in Indy said...

The fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel and tarsal tunnel (yes, it's a thing - who knew?) all place limits on me I'd rather not have. The other sensitivities and symptoms that stem from the fibro, mental as well as physical, can make things difficult, too. I know that mine isn't as bad as some folks' as far as pain, so thank your for reminding me to be grateful for that.

I can still get around by myself at home and I can drive and run errands, although not for as many hours in one day as I used to. I can still manage the stairs, although occasionally one knee or the other will cause me to yelp with pain. I can get out of bed and dress myself every day, and I am able to shower, use the bathroom, and put on make-up or (usually) do a home pedicure if so inclined. I'm by no means an invalid, but my stamina is limited and fatigue rarely leaves. Thank you, Anna, for inviting me to think for a few minutes about what I *do* have and *can* do--like apple-picking! Thank you, body, for not stopping me from that.

You are soooo lucky to be able to eat what you want. I lived on applesauce, toast, frozen waffles and Gaviscon when pregnant, but water? Yikes. Unfortunately, the reflux has come back with a vengeance in the last several years and it takes very little to trigger it. I can't even eat M&Ms while doing the taxes any more. :-( Any ideas for a nibbling substitute?

Gigi said...

Very timely post and a very true one. Something I need to remind myself about daily.

julie gardner said...

That rogue facial hair, though. It's no joke! (Says the woman who's 48!)

I love this outlook and have been trying to embrace it more and more as the years (and wrinkles and gray hairs) accumulate.

We are here for now and able to spread love, joy, hope, comfort.

That's what matters. (And a sharp pair of tweezers. Maybe.)

Anonymous said...

no, I don't like my body. never have. i've stopped hoping that i ever could. i don't think about it much anymore. but reading your post was very uplifting and positive nevertheless. thank you. and thank you for modeling that for your kids. on behalf of all daughters in the world, I thank you! you're awesome.

Anonymous said...

Best thing I have read this year, thanks! Mary in MI

Unknown said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this post.

I've undertaken some serious "reshaping" efforts here at age 50, and it's easy to (negatively) compare myself to the younger/more-fit ladies in my yoga classes. But that's not what it's about, is it? I'm there! In yoga class! And feeling myself getting stronger and more flexible with each passing week.

Norma said...

I have moderately severe Rheumatoid Arthritis at 31! Oftentimes I feels like I'm 80. HOWEVER, I am always amazed at how much pain my body can withstand- my joints maybe damaged, but boy are they strong! :)

www.robinbotie.com said...

Thanks for reminding me about this. For whatever physical hardships and grief I've been through over the course of my almost-long life, my body has hardly ever failed me. And it's in pretty good shape. Considering.

Anonymous said...

Well done ;)