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

Do not covet?

It’s just a number. It’s just a number.

That’s what I was telling myself yesterday when I was pulling on a pair of jeans in the dressing room. Size doesn’t matter. Who cares if you’re now a bigger size? It’s just a number.

I have to give myself pep-talks whenever I go shopping. When I pull on a pair of pants in my ideal size, I hold my breath, hoping that maybe, just maybe, I’ll fit. When the pants don’t fit, I pull them off and reach for the bigger size, all the while commanding myself not to cry. Continue reading “Do not covet?”

HEALTHY™

For only $200.00 a month, receive an all-inclusive membership at HEALTHY™ and full access to HEALTHY™ level 1. Continue toward premier membership level 2 at $400.00 a month and join the nationwide HEALTHY™ movement

I tossed the pamphlet to Jack. “See? I told you it was a good deal.”

My husband stretched and then settled back into his pillow. “What are you talking about? This not a good deal. The regular gym is cheaper than that.”

“This isn’t some ordinary gym. This is, like, a lifestyle. It’s exercise and nutrition all built into one.” I struggled into my leggings, pulling the high-waist elastic over my belly, and reached for my shoes.

“So that’s what they call it these days?”

“Look. The pamphlet says it isn’t a gym or a diet. It’s different—new. Everyone is talking about it. I’m just getting a tour. Is that so bad?”

Jack pulled the covers up over his head. “Okay, go. But I’m staying in bed.”

It took me longer than expected to find my keys (they were in my jacket pocket) so I grabbed a muffin and stuffed it into my mouth on my way out the door. If Jack didn’t want to come, then whatever. I’d go by myself.

It was a short drive to the massive new building on the north corner of State street. It was five stories high, covered in large gray reflective windows that reminded me of the interrogation room mirrors in police TV shows. A little intimidating.

“Welcome, welcome to HEALTHY™. You must be Julia. I’ve been expecting you.”

“Uh, yeah.” I was taken aback by the beautiful woman with a clipboard accosting me at the door.  Continue reading “HEALTHY™”

When “Healthy” Is Not Healthy

When I was growing up, there was a lot of pressure on girls to be skinny. The women on the covers of the magazines were very thin, sometimes emaciated.

So, not surprisingly, I knew a lot of girls who struggled with eating disorders. Anorexia was common in my junior high and high school.

When I was 15, I too had anorexic tendencies. I obsessed about calories, analyzed what was on my plate, skipped meals, and perused pro-ana sites (websites that actively encourage anorexia).  When I looked in the mirror, I saw a body that was completely different from reality.

Thankfully, my parents were wise enough to put me into counseling to get me some help. It was their care that brought me healing.

Continue reading “When “Healthy” Is Not Healthy”