I spent years loathing my body, being told by everyone that I was crazy for having such thoughts. I would hear comments such as “What the heck do you have to be concerned about? You fit society’s standards.” And I would endure looks that would speak volumes.
Yes, I may be considered one of the lucky ones but my thoughts about my body and the hatred I felt toward it were very real. So real in fact, that I ended up with an eating disorder and had to drop out of college. I sabotaged relationships, turned down opportunities and would punish myself on a regular basis all because I was “less than perfect.”
Of course, now looking back I wouldn’t change a thing. It is because of that experience that I get to do what I love every day which is to help women overcome their body and self-esteem issues. I teach them that there is more to them than a number on the scale or having thin thighs.
When I got pregnant with my son, I must admit a pang of fear rolled over me. Am I ready for this transformation? What will this do to my body? How will I handle it? Will I digress? Will all those body hang-ups come back?
If I am honest with you, I didn’t love being pregnant, especially toward the end. I felt like I was carrying around a 6-9 pound watermelon. There was nothing fun about that.
And then after I delivered my little bundle of joy, I walked around with an ice-packed diaper on and couldn’t even pee by myself the first few times. And let’s not forget about those beautiful mesh panties. And if you breastfeed, well, you know what happens. Your boobs no longer belong to you and the pain they feel as your child latches on is excruciating (at least it was for me). I know my breasts were screaming, “What the heck did I do to you?”
Yes, our bodies CHANGE after giving birth. And trying to get our body back to some semblance of normalcy is not as easy as some women make it seem.
But I wouldn't have traded it for the world because whatever leftover body image hang-ups I had (and I had a few), they were absolutely gone after giving birth. (If you want to read my very personal story, you can find it here.)
I honestly felt like superwoman. I was in complete awe that my body could be so magnificent that it could create and house another human being.
I will never forget standing in front of the mirror naked and smiling at my post-baby body (flabby tummy and all), holding a new appreciation and love for how amazing it was. I vowed, from that point on, that I would never take my body for granted again and I would give my body the respect and love that it deserved. No questions asked!
In addition to making this commitment to myself, I also made it a priority to consciously take good care of myself. I eat clean, indulge daily (what can I say…I will never give up chocolate), move my body on a regular basis and take myself out on “Me Dates.”
I know some of you may read that and think, “Where do you find the time?” The truth is, you don’t find the time, you make the time. Because you are worth it and you deserve it.
Remember, if “Momma isn’t happy, no one is happy.”
And being happy isn’t determined by your size, your shape, the color of your hair, or how tight your butt is. It’s determined by what you make of your life, the moments you share with your loved ones, who you are and what you represent.
There is only one YOU in the world. No one can replicate you.
So the next time you walk past a mirror and start belittling yourself for not being “perfect,” remind yourself that you already are. You are perfectly YOU!
About Kimberly Riggins
Kimberly Riggins is the CEO of Kimberly Riggins International, the author of the highly acclaimed inspirational book, Love Your Naked Ass, and host of the transformational program, The Ravishing Renegade.
About Love Mum-Body
On story of mum, we’re sharing photos of how our bodies have changed since we became mums and grandmums. You can photograph your actual body, or you can shape your body in plasticine. We don’t mind how you share it, as long as you do your very best to love it.
For some more inspiration, check out the guest posts we’ve had so far: