I love Summer.

I love the long days, the top-down drives, and the sweet melody of the ice-cream truck making its way down my street.

But you know what also comes with Summer?

Crop tops, shorts, and bikinis. Lots of bikinis. Oh, and also? Summer body inspo posts on Instagram.

Each day, as I scroll past countless picture-perfect images in my feed, I resist the urge to compare my saggy, post-pregnancy tummy with the flawless bodies I see on social media. For me, staying body-positive can sometimes be challenging, because while pregnant I had a condition known as Polyhydromnios (excessive accumulation of amniotic fluid), which basically just means that I was a walking aquarium for a while. And while my babies had plenty of room to swim laps while in utero, what I’m left with now is a deflated, wrinkly belly; so much excess skin that I could lay my stomach on the kitchen island and roll it out like pizza dough.

After my first pregnancy, I remember looking in the mirror and feeling horrified. I couldn’t recognize the person staring back. I missed my old body, and, feeling embarrassed, I dodged as many mirrors as I possibly could. One brave night though, I decided to finally face my reflection. No more hiding. I stood in front of the full-length in my bathroom and took stock:

My stretch marks? They’re tiger stripes.

Those fine lines that appear when I laugh? They’re joy lines.

Sun spots? They remind me of all the wonderful outdoor adventures I’ve taken.

And my C-section scar? Well, as my toddler puts it, it’s the “smile” of my tummy.

Looking at myself – and finally seeing clearly – I suddenly felt extremely grateful. My body had been so good to me: regenerating and healing after every scrape, bruise, and illness. Here I was, all five senses intact, living life fully and pleasurably. My body was strong and capable – two gorgeous qualities.  

Was I going to beat myself up just because I didn’t look like the conventional beauty standard? Just because I wasn’t as toned as I once was?

No. I didn’t need to “chase” beauty when I could own it from within.

Now, at 31, I finally realize that life is not about HAVING. It’s not about having the best skin or the fittest body or the most glorious hair. It’s really just about BEING.

Being able to do the things that give me purpose. Being kind. Being patient. Being grateful. Being with the people I love most. Being able to live in the moment. Being able to just be me.

Instead of focusing on dark circles or fine lines, I see eyes that seek beauty in others. Instead of obsessing about discolored teeth, I see lips that speak words of encouragement. We are more than just our skin and bones. We are more than lines, lumps, and bumps. We are more than a clothing size or a number on a scale. Beauty cannot be measured.

I don’t need to give myself a reason to love myself. Neither do you.

Let’s just do it because we should.

Love,

Your friend Bubz xo

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