Now, I know some of you can relate.  You’re in pretty decent shape, but not where you want to be.  You get pregnant, have a kid, struggle to “get yourself back”, trying really hard off and on.  Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don’t, sometimes it’s somewhere in the middle, and sometimes you just have a new normal and a new version of healthy because gravity or science won’t allow things to ever return to the way they were before.  Right?  So many of us have been there.  Well, me too.

I’m a little over a year postpartum and I generally look and feel pretty good . . . with clothes on and only if I’m wearing the right clothing for my body.  Or if I’m sucking it all in juuuuust right. 🙂  I’m back to my pre-baby weight, even a few pounds less but everything is still a little different.  So now even finding the right clothes for my body is a bit different than it was 2 years ago.  A few weeks back I finally went through all of my boxed up pre-baby wardrobe becauseI was working to pack for a trip with my girlfriends to Key West.  I had absolutely NOTHING spring/summery in my closet that I felt confident wearing and so I thought – OK, it’s time to face those freaking boxes.

And you guys. It was so bittersweet. SO many things fit (and looked good) that I didn’t expect to, and so many things that I was really counting on still working for me just didn’t.  At all.  My boobs are finally manageable (YES!!!) but my hips/stomach must just be a bit rounder or wider or different-shaped than before.  It was a strange realization, honestly.  But it’s OK.   It really is OK.  And so I’ve begun slowly collecting new warm weather wardrobe staples, focusing on things that make me feel confident and proud of my body, like the dress I wore today, linked below.

My point in writing all of this is that the journey to motherhood is hard, not only on your body but on your mind and your soul.  Many girls struggle with body image, especially when they are younger – myself included – but this was a whole new kind of struggle.  An internal battle of self-worth, the need to be desired and the need to have control over something when your body is not your own.  I still struggle sometimes, but one of the things I’m most proud of is how I’ve finally learned to embrace my body and my strengths for what they are.  I’m not perfect and I’m definitely still self-conscious about plenty of things, but I love myself more today than I ever did when I was teenager-thin with nice abs and perfect muscle definition.  I think this is the first time in my almost-35 years of life I’ve had a genuinely healthy body-image.   Sure, I’d still love to lose 10-15 pounds and tone up some more, and I’m working on it, BUT I’m still going to be happy even if I don’t.  My self-worth is not entangled with that number on the scale or the size of the tag in my pants, but in how I feel.  It’s quite liberating and empowering, and I am really loving all of the Love Yourself sort of campaigns right now like Target’s #NOFOMO.

It’s easier said than done, and requires a lot of self-reinforcement and support from other women… BUT – EMBRACE YOU.  Embrace your curves.  Your thin frame. Your extra junk-in-the-trunk.  Your mosquito-bite boobs.  Your giant, voluptuous boobs.  Your stretch marks. Your sun spots.  Your uneven skin tone. Your bird legs or not-so-toned upper arms.  Whatever your perceived “flaws” are – embrace them – they are you and you are BEAUTIFUL!  Love you for you, and embrace all of it, and dress for your body type.  I’m doing my best to take my own advice and to wear things that make me feel good and feel happy.

On that note, this is one of my absolute favorite spring finds – and it’s currently on sale for just $21.99 at Belk!!  The babydoll/swing style is just perfect for me right now.  It’s a bit more fitted up top, flares in just the right place so it doesn’t look like I’m wearing a big sheet, and the hem is a bit short, so it shows off some leg… but not too much (as long as I don’t bend over).   It’s not form-fitting over the mid-section, but it’s also cut very well to accentuate the curves a little bit.   Check it out – they have lots of prints and a few similar styles.