At 32 years old, I have 3 kids. 3 beautiful, spirited children that I grew and birthed from my womb. The body I had before them and the body I have now are basically of two entirely different people. What once was voluptuous and toned, is now soft and empty...something I somehow wasn't prepared for. One of my inner mantras is telling myself that what is now empty was once full of nutrients that sustained and grew my 3 children. It is a remarkable thing, what my body did, but it doesn't take away from the feelings of disappointment with what I was left with.
The changes in my body, like for most women, were hard for me to accept. I remember wanting to book a boudoir photoshoot just for myself. As I was about to book it, I realized how unhappy I was in my skin. How could I book a photoshoot like that, looking like this. No freaking way! My internal dialogue was so anti-me that I felt sick in my own skin. It was so depressing to feel that way and it made me realize what I was doing to myself. It was all mental. I was so focused on what wasn't right, to see what was. I went in my bathroom and decided to take a shower. When my clothes were off, I closed my eyes and said to myself, "it's not as bad as you think... it's all in your head". I opened my eyes and looked in the mirror. For the first time I didn't focus on every single negative part of myself. I finally saw beautiful parts of my body, that I never let myself notice before.
I see now that I am not actually empty, even though I look different on the outside. I am so full of love, and that love is only because of this body. My my new curves, and extra skin, are the new me, because of what I alone have grown. My children only see me as their world, and they are in this world because of this body...so all that was left is me to feel that too.
Here I am as a mother of 3, with stretch marks, cellulite, empty breasts, and extra skin, and now I am finally learning to love myself. I wish I could have told my younger self that this body is a miracle and it creates just that, miracles. I wish I could have told myself that all the anxiety was literally only in my head, and it wasn't worth the suffering. I wish I could have shown myself what strength my body holds, because gosh it is so damn strong.
It's so sad when I look back, and see how much I hated my body when I was younger. A body that to the outside world may have been considered perfect. I starved myself, I hurt myself, I was so unhappy in my skin. In the end, I realize it was never my body, it was so much more than that. I had no sense of self worth.
It took me 32 years to truly learn to love the body I live in. This love is so new and fresh, and it's a work in progress. I take it one day at a time, but I have never felt so good in my own skin. I look in the mirror now and I see an amazing body that grew and birthed 3 amazing gifts. I am a fighter, I fought hard to get where I am today and I deserve all the love in world. Especially for myself.
I am beautiful, I am strong, I am kind, I am vulnerable, I am capable, I am worthy. I am freaking amazing.
And so are you.
I don't know what could be more beautiful than that.
This Post originally appearred on birthboobsandbabies.com.