Inner Struggle with Outer Appearance

Let’s talk body image – mom edition.

More specifically and in my case? Stay-at-home-mom edition.

I struggle on a daily basis with my appearance. Not only has being a mom changed my body, the way I carry weight, added stretch marks, and dark circles under my eyes, but it’s changed the way I take care of myself.

I eat what’s easiest, whatever is in front of me, and I eat it quickly.

When my husband if offshore for 2-3 weeks, I wash my hair when my kids’ naps miraculously, sporadically happen at the same time.

I can’t remember the last time I wore makeup, and I can’t blame COVID for it.

I changed my clothes at 3 PM today. Finally out of my favorite size XXXL Goodwill t-shirt and into “athleisure” for the remainder of the afternoon.

I barely recognize myself when I look in the mirror. There are so many details about myself that I pick apart, study, or stare at with disappointed (tired) eyes.

Some days, I find confidence. I want to go to the gym with my husband. It’s our time. It’s an hour or two closer to who I want to be – an hour or two closer to the body that I once had. I am confident that I can build myself into a stronger, more toned, athletic wife/mom/woman.

Some days, I don’t find confidence. I don’t understand what needs to be “fixed” about myself. I refuse to lift a weight because I should be content with who I am, how I am right now. But truthfully, it’s because I don’t think there’s any way to get back to what I was before.

Pass a buttered roll, please.

Before I gained 55lbs with my first pregnancy, I had only 12% body fat.

Before I knew the meaning of having a “spare tire,” I had abs.

Before I was continuously tired, I literally glowed.

Before I wore nothing but XXXL Goodwill shirts, I wore the latest trends from boutiques.

Before my inner struggle with my outer appearance, I wasn’t full.

(Literally – I was probably hungry.) And my heart wasn’t quite full yet. I loved my husband, I loved our marriage, but I yearned to be a mom.

As a woman, some days I’ll find my confidence and sometimes I won’t. Is it strange that I have a peace about having an ongoing inner struggle with my outer appearance?

If you ask me about my babies, watch me light up.

If you ask me about something funny they’ve done, watch how genuine my smile becomes.

If you ask me what they’ve recently learned, watch my posture shift with pride.

If you ask me how much I love them – how full they’ve made my heart – watch my dull, tired eyes soften with love.

If I have or haven’t found my confidence that day, tell me how beautiful it is to see a mother’s love. There’s no struggle to see it – for you or for me.

“Spare tire” or abs, my belly carried two beautiful babies that fulfilled my life. My stretch marks shine because my skin grew to hold them so perfectly. The circles under my eyes are from being called by my little boy and girl throughout the days and nights, because they know I’m here – day or night.

I am more proud of carrying them than I am of any “PR” in the gym. I am more fulfilled by them than I could ever be by muscle tone, body fat percentage, or weight on a scale.

Before my postpartum inner struggle with my outer appearance, I was lost.

During my inner struggle with my outer appearance, I am found. I am full (literally and figuratively).

I don’t know that there will ever be an “after”, but I’m at peace, in love, and fulfilled. I am a mom – the greatest “PR” my body has ever accomplished.

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Lauren, a Shreveport, Louisiana native, moved south in the summer of 2010 to attend University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In the fall of 2011, she laid eyes on Ross Curet, her now husband of 4 years. It was the closest possible scenario of "love at first sight". Lauren is a stay-at-home mom of their two children - Maddox, 2 years old, and Regan Evangeline, born in May of 2019. Building a family and home with her husband is her greatest joy and accomplishment! When she isn’t changing diapers, you can find Lauren shopping BST pages, traveling all over Louisiana to visit family, out and about in the stores of Lafayette (carrying a toddler on her hip and an infant in her arms), or in the CC's Coffee drive-thru. Extra shots of espresso, please!

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