Kids are honest. Sometimes brutally honest. And, if I’M being honest, my body does not look like it used to. Five kids, a busy career and a love of food (I mean, have you TRIED cake??) have added a few pounds on the scale and more than a few inches in the waist. I see it every day when I look in the mirror but recently, it drew the attention of my 5 year old. Completely innocently he made a comment inquiring about my stomach and why it was so big. He knows we aren’t having anymore kids (we are CLOSED permanently!!) so why did my stomach still look like there could be a baby on the way. Out of a bit of frustration I said, “yeah, that’s not really the kind of thing to make me feel great about myself” and went upstairs to put his sisters down for bed.
I didn’t know how to handle this. I am terrified that my kids will have similar body issues that I have and I desperately do not want that. I still didn’t know what I wanted to say when I got back downstairs or even the next morning. But the following night I decided I needed to say something, anything, to show them that we can love our bodies.
So before bed I asked my two oldest kids to stay up for an extra minute (they were the ones that heard my initial frustration and also, kids never say no to staying up an extra minute) so we could talk. I reminded them of the incident the day before and then told them to poke my stomach. I asked them if it was squishy, soft, jiggly. Yes, yes and yes. And then I said, “do you know why I love this body? This squishy, soft, jiggly body?” And seriously, leave it to my 7 year old to reply with, “because God made us all different and that’s the way he likes it.” ← what did I do to deserve her and her sweet, God loving heart??? I proudly responded yes, she was absolutely right and that also, I carried her, her brother and their three younger sisters in my belly and that is amazing. And sometimes our body doesn’t quite go back to how it was before.
Then I pulled up my shirt a bit to reveal stretch marks. Stretch marks that they have very rarely seen. And I explained to them that they came from my body growing them inside of me and stretching to make room. I also made sure to emphasize that being able to carry all five of them myself was a huge honor and blessing. It is not lost to me the incredible gift it is to conceive and carry 5 babies to term and if stretch marks and a fat ass (said lovingly as a reference to my FAVORITE movie, Legally Blonde) is the way to pay for that, I would pay it a million times over.
The kids seemed to understand and afterwards we talked about things we loved about our body and they happily went to bed. Later Andre said he was happy to hear that I loved my body since I normally say the opposite. But I do feel the opposite of what I said. I look in the mirror and see the extra weight, stretch marks, more than one chin and it makes me sad that I don’t have a body I love. But I also firmly believe that if I keep telling myself I love my body, my heart and mind will eventually come around.
Hi, I'm Rebecca
I’m a wife, mom to 5 kids, former choir teacher, Christian and advice giver? I can honestly say I never expected to be the one giving advice when I so frequently ask for it, but the advice I’ve received is so valuable and must be shared! Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far!