Last month, as I put on my bathing suit for the very first time in nearly a year, I looked in the mirror and a smile immediately popped onto my face. Finally. All of the hard work that I’ve been putting in for the last few months have paid off. I was happy with my body. The body that created three wonderful human beings.
I’d given up on the idea of perfection. I was never going to get exactly what I had before and I was finally okay with that. As I looked in the mirror, rather that looking at all of the negatives, I looked at the postives. I saw my stomach finally coming back to shape. It’s what I’d worked the hardest on and it was showing. Teeny bits of my abs were showing through and I felt as if I had finally won the lottery.
I walked outside with confidence. Some may look at me and not be as impressed, but for me, this was big. In nearly six years, I was finally really happy with who I was and what my body looked like. And I wanted to show it off. I wasn’t asking for compliments or even second glances, I’d already gotten enough compliments just from myself, and that was worth more than anything.
Fast forward to last week when I was at a conference in Arizona. I planned the trip so that at the end of it, I’d have one day all to myself. I wanted to relax by the pool all day, something I hadn’t done in way too many years. So that’s what I did. I was surrounded by friends, had drinks served to me when I asked, and didn’t have a care in the world.
Of course the moment had to be documented, so I shared the photo above on Instagram. The scene really was picture perfect and I could not have been more relaxed. After going for a quick dip in the pool I came back and noticed that I had a missed called and a text message from my sister. “Your insta looks like your legs got beat.”
I honestly had no clue what she was talking about, so I looked at the photo again. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, so I decided to give her a call. She said that someone called her asking what was wrong with my leg because it looked like I had a huge bruise on it. I looked at the photo again and the only thing that might have resembled a bruise was my vein that still remains from when I was pregnant with Avery and Macks.
My first thought was that I should delete the photo all together. For both of my latest pregnancies I was so self concious about the veins in my leg. My right leg was so bad. Vericose veins, spider veins, big veins, you name it. It was painful, it was ugly, and I didn’t want anyone to look at my leg while I was pregnant.
Thankfully after I had the babies some of the swelling and veins went away, but there is still some that are left. A big vein that is on my thigh is the most visible. That’s the one that was shown in the photo.
But even when talking to my sister, I told her that was a gift left by Avery and Macks and is a part of being a mom. I decided not to delete the photo and show the real side of motherhood, the one that people are too scared to show or want to cover up with filters (me included.) It would be easier to do that. To hide it and be ashamed of it. But I’m done hiding and I’m done being ashamed.
All of these bits and pieces that are left over from my pregnancies are now a part of me. They are a gift and while it’s hard to look at in that way, they were given to me by my children and represent so much. They represent nearly 30 months of my body being a home. A safe haven for them to grow and develop. They tell a story and it’s one that I’m proud to tell.