My Self Esteem Journey




I'll let you in on a little secret: I felt extremely beautiful when I was pregnant. I didn't really go through a lot of the "I'm so fat, I can't wait to get my body back" emotions I hear many pregnant women talking about. During pregnancy, anyway. Now, before I was pregnant--that's a different story. During junior high, high school, and college I was especially unhappy with my shape and size, and it consumed much of my energy and thinking. I tried to hide it, to pretend I was comfortable in my skin, but one unflattering photo of me sent me into a spiral of very unhealthy self shaming and disgust. I had fallen into the comparison trap (which is unfortunately even easier for girls today than it was for me in middle school--with the insane weight of social media) and somewhere along the way I picked up the idea that if I were a size BLANK and weighed less than BLANK, my life would be much better. 

If I'm being honest, I probably adopted a few unhealthy eating habits in the weeks leading up to our wedding, too. I was a little obsessed with wanting to be able to look back at the photos and NOT cringe. I was still in the early stages of pinning down what foods my body did best with (I have some pretty major intolerances and have since become really disciplined diet-wise) and I was nervous I'd eat something that made me feel sick or, worse, bloated. So (my bridesmaids can attest to this), I didn't eat in the three days before the wedding. That's a little embarrassing to admit, but I was a silly girl.

Fast forward a couple of months to pregnancy and my unexpected feelings of awe at what my body could do. I was growing and housing a tiny human! I suddenly went from thinking I am gross, please delete that picture to I am woman, hear me roar! My perspective on my body and the purpose it served (hint: it's for more than photos on Facebook and Instagram) completely changed, and after I endured labor and birth, my self-esteem only grew.

And then this year I lost a lot of weight--on accident (before you hate me--I can probably attribute my weight loss to several not-so-awesome things: major stress, cutting food I love that made me/Edie sick because breastfeeding, etc. I don't want you to think I've just been sitting here eating a dozen donuts a day and losing weight). And I'm laughing because I am now THE SIZE and THE WEIGHT I thought I wanted to be for the better part of my life, and guess what? The sun doesn't come up out of my butt in the morning. All of life's problems haven't miraculously disappeared. I haven't caught my big break or gotten rich or discovered the secret to world peace. I am still me, here in my skin, human as can be. I am still facing a lot of really hard, really stressful things every day, because isn't that what life is? I am still chasing confidence in myself, but now the questions have become am I a good wife and mother? instead of am I tiny/pretty enough? The only thing that really changed is my wardrobe, which was kind of just an inconvenience because all of my pants started falling down and who has time to go try on a bunch of clothes with a baby (and postpartum hormones--does anyone else break a sweat trying on pants?)?

All of that to say--girls, ladies, mamas, love yourself. Don't be a Jordan. Your body gets up in the morning and moves and takes you places and makes and carries babies and hugs good people. Your body is awesome! Take care of it, yes, but obsessing over how it looks compared to any other body is a waste of time. Because those bodies just house other stressed out human hearts, too.