68. The Skin I’m In

68. The Skin I’m In

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

The Skin I’m In

To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.

~Oscar Wilde

The women on my mother’s side of the family have never been petite. I watched my mom struggle with her body and self-image for years. It confused me, because I thought she was beautiful. In college I was curvy, but thin — I never struggled with weight myself.

Then came marriage, and babies! I put on a whopping 60 pounds when I was pregnant with my son. Those curves got a little curvier! When my son was three I worked hard and lost weight before my thirtieth birthday, getting back down to my college size. Then came baby number two! I gained over 50 pounds with that pregnancy. I felt like a yo-yo. In my early thirties now, that weight was harder to lose.

After some health issues and discouragement over my figure I had an “aha!” moment. I realized I am not the sum total of all my parts; my dress size or my hips do not define who I am. My body is a gift. It’s how I engage with the world and it deserves respect.

My body had made space for life. It had incubated miracles. It nurtured the tiny humans I loved. I started seeing myself in a different light. My arms held babies when they were sad, or sleepy, or in need of affection. My lap had grown wider, with plenty of room for two crowding in for story time.

Until motherhood woke me up to the amazing things my body could do I had taken it for granted. Then, I underwent a rebirth. Each stretch mark and “flaw” tells a story. My body allows me to experience beauty, show emotion, feel comfort, worship, create, move, thrive, live, love. I had missed that truth in my twenties.

I’ve learned to watch how I talk about my body because I know my daughter is watching. She’ll need to know how to make peace with her own figure one day. I want her to see her body as more than an ornament, more than a fashion statement. I want her to know that her body is a miracle. That it’s made to express and receive love.

I’ve learned to watch how I talk about my body because I know my daughter is watching.

I am curvy, weighing the most I ever have. I love healthy food and taking a good long walk. My fortieth birthday is around the corner. I may lose weight before it’s here. I may not. But either way I know I will embrace it with confidence.

~Beck Gambill

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