I hate my fat disgusting body. I don’t think I’m supposed to say that. I’m supposed to love my body no matter what it looks like. But the truth is that I don’t. I’ve tried; believe me. But I can’t. It’s so flabby. And floppy. And squishy. And fat. And lumpy. And saggy. And just plain ugly. None of my clothes fit right. To be honest, I don’t think they sell clothes that fit my body right now. Well, I guess maternity clothes would fit. But that’s just depressing.
My belly is so gross. It’s fat and squishy. The stretch marks wouldn’t bother me if they weren’t on top of a belly that my 6-year-old is constantly reminding me “still looks like there’s a baby in there.” And I don’t want her to have body issues, so I just smile and tell her I know. But on the inside I am screaming, DO YOU HONESTLY THINK I DON’T KNOW THAT, KID? Thanks so much for the observation, Captain Obvious. I mean, it is 1/4 her fault that my stomach looks the way it does, but I’m not going to hold it against her.
And the whole “you just had a baby” argument doesn’t help. Because I didn’t “just” have a baby. I had a baby four months ago. After Baby No. 1, I was back into my regular clothes by four months. Now I have one pair of pants that I wear everyday because nothing else fits, and I don’t want to spend money on more fat clothes. Plus, everyone else who just had their fourth kid looks better than I do. Literally everyone. I’ve surveyed the entire planet, and everyone else’s body is back to normal. I’M THE ONLY ONE.
Don’t bother telling me I’m overreacting. You probably don’t look like you’ve been stuffed inside a sausage casing when you put pants on, so I don’t believe anything you say anyway.
And the thing is, I don’t judge other people this way. I don’t think these things about friends. Heck, I don’t even think these things about most strangers. But for some reason I can’t offer myself the same kindness. I see other people’s imperfect bodies and don’t think negative thoughts about them. But when I see myself, it’s a whole different story. Why is that?
Between Babies No. 2 and No. 3, I did manage to lose all the weight and then some. I was thinner than I’d been since college before I got pregnant with Baby No. 3. Then I gained like 70 pounds when I was pregnant. That wasn’t a good idea. Between Babies No. 3 and No. 4, I tried my hardest to lose weight, and I couldn’t. It didn’t matter what I did, my body was dead set on holding on to every last pound. It was super fun to eat 1,500 calories a day and workout like a mad woman—and not lose a single pound. Oh, and still none of my pants fit.
My rational brain tells me that I have to give it time. The time between Babies No. 2 and No. 3 was the only time that I wasn’t pregnant for longer than a year and a half. I’ve been pregnant again each of the other times, before the previous baby was 18 months old. So maybe I do need to be kinder to myself and give it some time. Please let that be true.
The other day my husband offered up another perspective. He pointed out that we have a four beautiful, healthy children as a direct result of what my body is able to do. And he’s right. He’s so right. That guy. Some days I want to throttle him (and he me, I’m sure), but at the end of every day, he is right. He’s always right. Which would be annoying if it wasn’t so helpful.
Even though I am unhappy with the way I look, I have to be thankful for the body I have. Because without it I’d have nothing.
And I’m going to try to do better remembering that.