How Do I Teach My Girls To Love Their Bodies When I Hate Mine?

I’ve birthed two amazing little humans, and it wreaked havoc on my body.

I can’t accept my post-baby body. I just can’t.

There, I said it.

In a time where female empowerment is running rampant and there is an influx of articles and blog posts about how incredible the female form is (particularly post-partum), I am struggling to accept my body after two babies.

I read the words of these strong women who talk about embracing their love handles, saggy boobs and extra padding because it was all part of their journey to have their babies. In theory, I totally get it and they are 100 percent right.

I desperately want to feel that way. But if I’m being honest, I’m on the opposite side of the spectrum.

I’ve birthed two amazing little humans, and it wreaked havoc on my body. I’m a petite woman, barely reaching 5’1”. I’ve been active my whole life and in shape, even working out through both pregnancies. But when you’re petite, one extra pound looks like five and it feels like 10.

Now at the ripe age of 40 and two kids later, I don’t even feel like I am in my own body. I look in the mirror and could cry. Sometimes I actually do. Uncomfortable in my own damn skin. My once perky boobs are “mushy,” as my 9-year-old likes to say. I’m sporting love handles and that pooch that has become a cruel rite of passage after housing humans in your body. Don’t even get me started on my ass and thighs. If there is a spot that has the ability to jiggle, it’s jiggling.

People will say to me, “You look AMAZING!” or “You’re tiny!” and I know it’s heartfelt, but I don’t feel it. Those people see me in a different light. They don’t see me naked and vulnerable.

My husband tells me regularly that I am beautiful, sexy, and gorgeous but I don’t feel any of those things. Not one bit.

All of the compliments in the world do not curtail my full-fledged tantrums while getting dressed. You know what I’m talking about. The moments when NOTHING seems to fit. You rip one shirt off after another and throw them, with force, across your bedroom because you’re so fu*king over it. You throw on Spanx to go to a PTA meeting on a Monday just so your muffin top doesn’t spill over your jeans that already make you feel like you’re wearing a sausage casing. You stare at your closet willing something to appear that will make you feel pretty, but you’re in that weird phase where you are well past maternity clothes and your “regular” clothes just aren’t cutting it.

And here’s my biggest concern with all of it. I have two little girls watching my every move. They hear everything even when I think they are sucked into the iPad watching those unbearable videos of little girls unboxing toys.

My older daughter said to me the other day, “Mommy, why were you saying your arms are fat and that you hate them?”

In my head I’m screaming, half-joking, “Have you seen them?”

But all I can think is, holy sh*t I need to get this in check… they’re onto me.

Instilling a positive body in my girls is my job. It’s a huge responsibility. My 3rd grader is already coming home talking about peers saying they’re fat and it makes me want to throw up.

So I’m stuck in this paradox where I hate my own body and I need to teach my girls self-love and body acceptance. It’s a tough spot.

And all I can think is why can’t I be more like the women writing these beautiful pieces about loving their imperfections? Why can’t I just say f*ck it and not care that my jeans are too tight despite the hours I’m clocking with my jogging stroller and watching every calorie I put in my body?

I do not lack confidence. Some have called me a firecracker. I have more moxie than most. But I just can’t accept my post-baby body, and it’s messing with me.