I Might Be Better

I’d probably be better at raising a daughter who loves her own body if I was 10 pounds thinner. Or if I could get Kybella, that injection that dissolves double chins.  

Now that I’m a mom, though, I’m not saying these things in front of my daughter. I’m working on not saying them at all, which will hopefully follow true acceptance of my body, but that’s more healing than I can handle on 4 hours of sleep a night, so this is fine for now.

My long-term goal is to be the kind of woman who can leave the house without makeup. The kind that can look at a picture of herself and not say, “OH MY GOD DELETE IT!” The kind that floats around, unburdened by the weight of everyone else’s opinion of her back fat. The kind that intrinsically understands that none of us are thinking about how her jeans fit because we’re too worried about her noticing our forehead wrinkles. (Are these the same women that are throwing elaborately themed birthday parties for toddlers? Is that the kind of thing one can do with the money and brain space that isn’t occupied by what we look like?)

My short-term goal is not to cry when I’m getting dressed, and honestly, it’s going pretty well.

When we found out I was having a girl (which nicely coincided with the point in my pregnancy where none of my clothes fit), I decided I really had to get my shit together. I wanted to raise a kid who had a positive relationship with their body regardless of gender, but once I knew she may be looking at me with the exact same features I’m lamenting in the mirror, I realized it was time for a Lizzo playlist and self-reflection.  

Turns out, that’s not something you fix overnight, especially not during the time in your life when you wake up wet and have no idea which part of your body is leaking. It just didn’t lend itself to self-love for me.  

About the time I realized the fat around my C-section scar wasn’t actually going away and that firming creams are snake oil, my daughter started sitting at my vanity and “putting on makeup.” I ran out of time. If I wanted her to learn that makeup was an expression and not a mask, I’d have to stop frantically applying it to walk the dog, like, now.

I learned a cute song about bellies, and we sing it together, stretch marks, mom-shelf, and all. My camera roll is filled with unflattering photos of me, and because she’s in them too I’ll never delete them. When she puts on a dress and spins around, I ask her if she feels pretty instead of telling her that she looks it. I want her to know that clothes are about how you feel, not about how other people think you look. I own 3 varieties of Spanx. I still want Kybella.

It’s a work in progress, but there are more and more days where, when I’m struggling to fit into pre-baby pants, instead of wishing I had my 20s body, I harken to the words of our true Queen, Lizzo, and think,  “uh, bitch, I might be better.”

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