I honestly never thought about my post baby body until I learned of this project and committed to doing it. I have thought about my body in general. Unfortunately, as women, we are forced to think of our bodies one way or another. I have always been a chubby kid but growing up in Ethiopia, my weight was never an issue. I did not start thinking about wanting something different for my body, and specifically, wanting to be skinny, until I came to America at 12 years of age. There were many moments where I felt I had to conform to what society told me my body should look like, I became overly critical of myself and thought of ways to make myself skinny.
The thing about having children, especially daughters, is that it makes you think of the thoughts and images you are relaying to them by your actions. As my daughters got older, now 12 and 9 years old, I would have to catch myself from referring to my body as being fat or talking to friends about needing to lose weight. Girls start to have body image issues as early as 8 years old and I did not want that to be part of my girls’ struggle. The only way I could raise confident girls is by being a confident mother. I had to walk the walk. I started to appreciate the fact that I am a healthy woman who is able to do anything I put my mind to. I began to re-train my way of thinking and my actions. I made healthy food decisions because I wanted to get healthier and stronger rather than wanting to be skinny. I used to go to the gym with the focus of losing weight, now I go because it is my happy place, a place I am able to relieve stress and get stronger. I no longer sought to be skinny but strive to be strong. I pay less attention to the scale and more on muscle gain. This change has made me a happier person.
Now, I can say that I love my body with full confidence. I see my stretch marks and know that I carried and nurtured two children into this world. My body has been through a lot but remains strong and resilient. The joy I have when my girls speak positively about their bodies and wanting to be stronger lets me know that I made the best decision of my life by accepting my body for what it is.
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