A few days ago I did something outside of my comfort zone. I lifted my shirt and showed the world (well, those who have Periscope and Facebook) my belly. I’m a wellness coach for entrepreneurs, and I’ve focused heavily on body and self-love, mindset and feeling good in my approach. So why stand in front of a camera and risk cruel comments and ridicule? Did my parents not pay enough attention to me as a child? Well, I felt called to do it.
My husband and I had been married six years when we decided to try to have kids. He had been ready for years and I was still enjoying the club scene. Eventually I felt ready and we started our fertility saga. We discovered I had PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome), had to do some fertility treatments, and hilariously (well not really) got pregnant when we were on break from Clomid. It had taken us about three years total to conceive.
I was so focused on getting pregnant, and then staying pregnant and having a healthy baby, that I really didn’t concern myself with what happens after you have the baby. I was super surprised to have a giant belly while I held my daughter and even more surprised when my skin sagged on either side of my belly button… like probably 2 inches down. I was horrified but way too busy to worry about it then. I went all in with trying to breastfeed, figuring out sleeping, and making sure she was safe in the million ways that you worry about when you are a new mom.
After getting back to my pre-pregnancy size and still having saggy skin that flapped around like a fanny pack when I was doing jumping jacks, I just quietly and sadly accepted the only thing that would fix this mess was surgery. I blamed myself for not taking better care of myself while pregnant, and then I felt guilty for even caring when we were super blessed in the first place to get pregnant. At the same time I was thinking, “I’ll never wear a bikini again, or low rise jeans. It’s over dude. Welcome to this new body, and you better be grateful. And what kind of mother would risk her life going under the knife for her vanity? No anesthesia or surgery is without its risks!”
Now, after my second daughter turned 2 last week, and being at my current weight more than 8 months, I knew that what I got was how it was going to be. My skin was considerably better, no more sagging down, but wrinkled and got worse (after gaining less weight?!) after baby number two. It was not just below the navel now, it was also above.
My little experiment
My second time around, losing my baby weight was strangely different. I had done a lot of personal development, I had coaches and had been in group coaching. I approached it with so much more self-love. I was low key, I didn’t berate myself, I was patient, I was compassionate and I was not letting any “shoulds” get in the way of my current bliss. I was also coaching women on self-love, so that was also encouraging me to be more loving toward myself.
One day I looked at the giant tub of vitamin E lotion that was sitting next to the sink. I had gotten it with the hopes of helping my skin back in the day after Olivia. Or was it Charlotte? Not sure. But I opened the lid and took a sniff. Hey, smells normal. So I grabbed a glob of it and stood in front of my bathroom mirror, lifted up my shirt and started saying out loud, “Thank you skin so much for stretching when I needed you to. Thank you so much for not cracking painfully but going above and beyond. You made it possible to carry my two precious babies. I appreciate it so much. But I got them now and they are grown. I don’t need you anymore, you can go back.” I had heard this technique described by Torrie Pattillo (my coach, friend and an amazing spiritual guide), who gave credit to Wayne Dyer.
It felt good, and it was also nice to recognize what my body did for me. Not focus on what I “should” look like in a bikini (I wore a bikini after each baby by the way, nope, not gonna waste all that money I handed to Victoria for her secret) and just being happy with all the prosperity in our lives. We got our loving happy family. I was so lucky to wake up to two girls running around, screaming in delight while they chased each other up and down the house.
So I started doing this daily. I was feeling better each time, leaving the bathroom with a smile on my face. Then I noticed it looked like it was going away. I showed my husband, Dan and he agreed. It didn’t look so “angry” anymore. That’s when it happened:
My lightbulb moment
I literally shot out of bed when the idea came to me: I have to share that by this practice that takes 30-40 seconds out of your day, you will at least feel better about your body and get the love flowing again. Instead of being mad at your body for having wear and tear, not looking like it did when you were in high school, start appreciating it for the hugs you are able to give and receive. Instead of criticizing your butt for not being bootylicious enough, thank it for always having your back!
Also, remember we all have something about our bodies we don’t like. Even those gorgeous models, TV personalities, movie stars talk about “that one thing.” So recognize it for what it is, and let’s just start a loving conversation. Remember when you were a kid and you didn’t care? You were having too much fun! Let’s take care of ourselves because it’s fun, because it’s an act of love and because it enables us to keep having fun.
Catch the original video here.
This post originally appeared on Vu Willey’s blog here.