Still on vacation in the Rockies. Been hanging out with the family. Riding around the camp in a golf cart. Enjoying the weather, the mountains, the food, the lightness of our days. One afternoon, I did a little back-to-school shopping with my sister-in-law who started eighth grade this week. We went to the outlet mall that I like to wander around when we're in town. I must say the shopping was bittersweet- bought a great pair of carpi's at the GAP outlet (the upside). It was the largest pair of pants I've ever bought (downside).
I was still smarting a little from this reality when, on the following day, a relative commented, "Wow, Becky, you've gained some weight!"
I replied, "Three kids in five years will do that." Actually I didn't think of that, though that is the best explanation, is it not?
Instead I dumped a can of Dr. Pepper on his head and ran from the room crying. Just kidding...I didn't do that either.
In reality I was taken aback, did the old self talk ,"Just roll with it, Becks", and said aloud, "I just had a baby."
"Oh...I guess you did," was the conclusion.
Honestly, I was embarrassed, not only because he said it but because I know it is true. It's a reality that I think of so often, it almost feels obsessive, and yet I know that it is eternally inconsequential and irrelevant to my everyday happiness. I know my kids couldn't care less. I know my husband thinks I'm beautiful and loves me no matter what. Still, there is this nagging feeling that the weight will stay...and increase...and that I'll never really like how I look.
It's funny, because I know exactly what I would tell a friend in this situation (though do we women really tell each other stuff like this? not often...) I would encourage her to think on truth, to recognize her inner worth and esteem found in Christ, to focus on being healthy and not skinny.
Isn't skinny a funny concept? It's so relative.
After the birth of my boys, I did the South Beach diet for about 8 weeks and lost all the weight. (I waited until the baby was at least 8 months because rapid weight loss can affect your production of milk, which would be more critical when the baby is just nursing.) So it seems like I've been here before and should just chill out, right? Though there is quite a bit more weight hanging around from Ella than the boys.
So I guess that's it. In some ways, weight gain and self-esteem issues are almost a rite of passage as a woman, is it not? Yet I know there has to be more than life than how I look, or how I think about how I look. And as I think about my own little lady that I've been entrusted to raise, I don't want to subtly pass on this idea that her joy is somehow proportionate to her appearance.