Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Learning to love myself

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with (low) self esteem and (very bad) body image which has impacted negatively on the rest of my life. In my teens it manifested itself as an eating disorder which, unfortunately, never became physically apparent to others. I say unfortunately, not because I WISH I had reached bone-thin anorexic proportions, but because if it had become obvious to other people, I may have received help sooner and it wouldn't have gone on so long!

Throughout my twenties the internal struggle has continued and it is only now, when I am closer to 30 than 25 (Oh gods that is a scary thought!) that I have been able to even begin to accept and truly LOVE my body. Ironically, this is probably the worst condition I have ever been in, physically. Two babies in as many years have taken their toll and left a ladder of stretchmarks marching across my softened belly. My previously substantial chest has expanded even further, in the process adding its own silvery lines to the artwork that these children have painted on my skin. And yet THAT is why I love it now more than ever. Because these days when I feel the softness of my belly, I remember how it felt only 2 months ago as my son wiggled and squirmed as he prepared to meet us. I trace the stretchmarks and remember the very first time I felt my firstborn move inside me - that tiny flutter of life which is now a whirlwind of 20-month-old energy, squealing delightedly at the bubbles I blow for her. When I see how my breasts have lost their perkiness, I recall the sadness I felt when my daughter weaned herself, and the love and satisfaction I get every time my son latches on to feed and the milk-drunk smiles I get to enjoy again. Yes, my body is softer, saggier (and somewhat bigger) than I would like it to be, but when I look at my two precious children, the products of this body, how can I do anything but love it?

I still wish I was thinner and more fit, but now it isn't just so I can look good (though rocking a bikini sure would be awesome). I want to be able to chase my children, play with them, live a long healthy life so that one day I can chase my grandchildren around and play games with them too! These days I want to nurture my body with healthy whole foods instead of punishing it and forcing it to endure crazy amounts of exercise to work off the KFC diner for two I inhaled as punishment for.. I don't know? wanting to eat? This body deserves so much more than that. I deserve so much more than that. And most of all, my children deserve more than that. How can I raise children who appreciate health and have good self esteem and a positive body image if they grow up with a mother who uses food as punishment or comfort and isn't willing to spend time and money (for real food) in order to look after herself?

I struggle each week to justify spending money on fresh meat and produce for my meals, but eating Primal is an essential part of loving and looking after my body, plus Evie is eating mostly primal now too which is fantastic. Now to get Troy off the soft drink, pasta and bread!!! Hopefully the summer garden this year will flourish and give us lots of organic fresh produce to eat so I don't have to spend as much at the shops!


Alison said...

It's amazing what having kids will do to make you change yourself. People will do far more to make sure their kids get: good self esteem, good eating habits, feel loved; than they would ever do for themselves. Maybe that's why we have kids, so we can be more the person we could be.

But I have to say that altho interesting, I don't think anyone is ever going to part me from my carbs! :)

Em said...

Perhaps :) Everyone always says that becoming a parents changes you, and I am so glad it did! I have definitely changed for the better.

If you are still wanting to lose weight, you should try going primal for at least a month or two just to see how you feel. I have been eating more than enough - I often make a bit too much and feel that I have OVER eaten, and yet I have still lost 2 kg in a month. Granted, breastfeeding might be helping with that but still, I feel great, not hungry AT ALL and after the first week, don't feel like I am missing out at all. I can sit in front of a plate of jatz and dip and not even want to touch it. Well, the jatz anyway. Thank goodness for carrot sticks haha.