Summer = swimsuit season = ugh. I have never been a bikini woman, nor have I ever been super excited about swimsuits. The summer after I gave birth to my son made this season even worse for me. I spent weeks researching the perfect swimsuit, tried on countless styles, cuts, and colors until I found ONE that I felt “good” in. Then came the moment I had to actually wear it. We are not a swimming family, but we do spend a lot of time around water. It was my son’s first time being able to go into the lake by my family’s cabin. I braved my swimsuit and got into the water with him.
And then I saw pictures. The pictures showed something I never saw in the mirror. I analyzed every bump, lump and flaw – completely missing the fact that my son was in the water for the first time. I’ve read somewhere once that our first thoughts are those that we are taught to have, our second thoughts show the type of person we are. Armed with this thought, I looked again, and I saw so much more. I saw a child who was very unsure of being completely submerged in water, but still having fun. I saw a child who looked at his mother with such love, appreciation and amazement. I decided that I need to try to see myself the way my son sees me. There will be days that he may not look at me that same way coming in our future, so for right now, I need to see myself the way my son sees me.
My body is the way it is because I was given the ability to carry him with me while he was growing, a luxury not everyone has. My body is the way it is because I have spent the last 9 months focusing everything on him, he needs a strong mom to take care of him and give selflessly to him, and I have done that. My first thoughts looking at my picture are in part due to our society and the standards that we believe are placed on us. Standards that so many women are working on changing every day – I can be part of that movement. I do not have to be sucked down by what other people think of me or because I do not fit the “ideal” woman. From here on out I am challenging myself to see me the way my child sees me, and to be the person that my second thought believes I am. And, it cannot stop with me – I challenge you to do the same.