Why I won’t be posting a “before and after” photo

I spend a considerable amount of time on Instagram and Pinterest. Like…hours. I purposely don’t look at my iPhone screen time facts because I really don’t want to know how much of my life is spent with my phone. But at this point in my life, I’m okay with it. It makes sense. I have a lot of down time with a baby on my lap or on my boob, so it makes sense that my brain wants something else to occupy itself with. So, the mommy bloggers and food bloggers? They’re keeping me company.

When you follow bloggers and, as they’ve come to be called—“influencers”—you’ll inevitably come across stuff about fitness and “healthy” living. (I put “healthy” in quotes because that word means something different to everyone). And that’s fine. I like getting inspiration for my workouts. I love drooling over pictures of avocados and sweet potatoes and smoothie bowls.

Unfortunately, with the “healthy” living inspiration, diet culture creeps its sneaky way in, and that’s a trap for me. In particular? The before and after photo. Continue reading “Why I won’t be posting a “before and after” photo”

Dear Postpartum Body

Dear Postpartum Body,

First of all, you’re amazing. You grew a human being inside of you—let’s get that on the record.

I’m sorry that I don’t always love you well. You deserve better.

I am not going to compare you to other bodies. You are my body, unique all on your own.

I am not going to hide you.

Stretch marks prove that you are mighty in battle.

I refuse to say that I need to “get back in shape.” You have a perfect shape already.

I wasn’t kind to my old body, but I’m going to do better with you.

I am not going to cut you, harm you, hate you. I did that to my old body, and I’m not doing it to you.

My husband sees how I treat you. My son will hear how I talk about you.

I will exercise because it makes you feel well, not because I want to look a certain way.

I will feed you wholesome things because it sustains you, not because I want to shrink you.

I won’t wait to buy you clothes until I look like I did before. I will let you look pretty right now. I’ll buy the bigger size because you deserve to look beautiful just as you are.

I will never take a “before and after” photo—you’re worth more than that.

I don’t wish you away. I invite you to stay.

I celebrate you.

I honor you.

You let me nourish my child.

You let me love my husband.

You let me see the world.

You hold a beautiful soul inside of you, dear body. You are a vessel of something sacred.

Love,

Anna

So Loved

God’s love: When you’re a Christian, you tend to hear a lot about it. Especially during the Easter season, there is an emphasis in church on the John 3:16 truth: “For God so loved the world…” I memorized that verse a long time ago as a six year old in Sunday school and AWANAS. But for whatever reason, I have a hard time incorporating that truth into my practical reality.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been let down by others, so I brace myself to be let down by God. Or maybe it’s because I have such a hard time loving myself that I can’t comprehend someone would actually love me. Whatever the reason, God’s love has always seemed intangible to me, something I can’t quite grasp.

I’m not a perfect person. In fact, I can be a downright lousy person when I want to be. I’m always selfish. I’m often jealous. I have a quick and petty temper. I hate those parts of myself, and I’m pretty sure others aren’t too fond of them either. I hurt those closest to me, over and over and over. So could God love me? Yeah, yeah, I know he loves me because that’s what I’m supposed to believe. But…really? I don’t think I’ve actively believed it.

But then I had a baby. Continue reading “So Loved”

Searching for Purpose

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write. Sometimes I go through phases when I barely write at all, which is hard when so much of my identity is in being a writer. I envy the kinds of writers who go up to their lovely writing lofts every day and write for hours and hours. I’m just not that kind of writer, I guess. I thrive on creative bursts, so when creativity is lacking, I have a hard time forcing it. I’m not very disciplined. But today I’m finally sitting down to get words on the page.

So what have I been up to?

I’m not working right now. For a while, this was a struggle for me. I felt a sense of purposeless, of failure. Jobs I applied for didn’t work out, which was impactful on my self-esteem. I struggled with questions like: Am I not good enough? Why doesn’t anyone want me? What am I even good at? And then I got pregnant. Since I’m planning to stay home with the baby, I didn’t want to start a job that I’d be leaving in a few months. So I decided to stop the job search and to just wait for the baby. But here’s the thing: waiting turned out to be very hard. I felt the purposelessness very keenly, very acutely. I began to wonder: What is my purpose? How do I bring meaning into my life? Continue reading “Searching for Purpose”

Thankful

I’ve been wanting to blog for a while now, but every time I’ve thought about sitting down to write, something kinda strange kept me from my computer. I wanted to write, but I wasn’t exactly sure what was going to come out once I did.

Those of you who’ve followed me know that I tend to write about an issue, concern, or pressing thought when I have one. Lately, though, I just haven’t had any. And you know what? That’s been pretty great. It’s nice not to have a concern constantly bearing down on me.  Continue reading “Thankful”