I have always struggled with body image. I grew up surrounded by adults participating in diet culture, constantly talking about the next best fad, herb or pill to lose weight. I remember feeling fat at age 9, even though I was just healthy.
For more than 25 years, I have struggled to feel comfortable in my body. Even when I was thin, it was never enough. I always had a goal of it being less than the current weight or pant size.
In middle school, it was kids teasing me. In high school, it was all of my friends who were thinner than me. As a young adult, it was how to look good in the smaller pair of jeans. As a parent, it was bounce-back culture after the babies.
A continual comparison of the better version I could become if I just lost the extra weight.
It never mattered what the number on the scale was or what size of jeans I fit into, I was never comfortable in my skin. There was a deep sense of discomfort in my own body.
I hated her for what she stood for; a constant reminder of never feeling up to par through the lens of societal standards that get placed on people, especially women. This body, that carried me through life, that had done so much for me, I resented.
Pregnant with my third babe, I decided to work on loving myself fully and completely. I stood naked in front of a mirror telling myself about the bits I liked the most daily.
Slowly, it turned into the pieces of me I loved the most. Each time I stepped in front of that mirror to show up for this body, I found myself loving a new stretch mark or a groove I couldn't bear to look at before.
I realized I didn't have to love every bit all the time, but if I could respect each piece for carrying me in its own respect, I could learn to love myself fully. I could honour the parts I felt ashamed of. I could come and feel safe in this body.
It isn't always easy and I try to catch myself before the insecurities creep in, but I don't always. I accept that part of me too.
Today, I am beautiful and I honour my body. She is my home and I am thankful for being carried in this vessel.