If you've been a long-time reader of this blog, you'll probably remember when I wrote a guest post on Espresso and Cream about my body-image journey. If you missed it, you can read it here and find my intro and background thoughts here. Like most (all?) women, my body image has been more central to my life than I would like to admit. It's pretty much a daily battle, one that I have made progress in over the years, but I also know that I may never win the war for good and therefore I must always be armed for battle.
Now that I'm tackling a post-partum body, much of my thoughts have turned to the way my body has literally been rearranged: more weight here, less muscle there, extra skin everywhere. It's only been 2.5 weeks, but already I've found myself thinking about how I could tighten up this, or lose that.
These thoughts are why I love the Dove commercial. It's a reminder that my negative analysis of my body is not what other people see. I am my own worst critic. I sell myself short. I do not honor myself or my Creator by picking apart my self-determined flaws.
I cried as I watched this commercial.
When it was finished, I looked down at Eli, sleeping soundly in my arms and I vowed that I would not sell myself short as his mommy. I want him to grow up with a mommy that is confident in who she is. Stay-at-home or not. Sweatpants or not. Post-partum body or not. I want him to grow up with a confident mommy that accepts herself and believes she is smart, capable and beautiful.
That all of her is beautiful.
As Eli grows up, I want to teach him the meaning of true physical beauty. Of course, I want to teach him about inner-beauty too, but sometimes we focus so much on learning about looking at the heart's beauty, that we still can't recognize physical beauty beyond a supermodel's.
I want him to see the scar on my right hand and know it's how mommy learned how to bake all his delicious meals. I want him to see my soft belly and know that it's from growing the miracle that now sleeps in front of me. I want him to see my wrinkles, freckles and imperfections and know they are from a life well lived -- and are what makes mommy, mommy.
I want him to see what I would call my "flaws" as beautiful, and he'll only believe that if I believe my flaws are not flaws at all, but instead marks of my beauty.
The need to accept my body seems even more important now with Eli in the picture. I know Eli will learn much from his Dad and me in seeing a woman's true beauty, but I hope someday he will look back and say that he saw true beauty firsthand in his mom -- that his mom was beautiful -- and she knew it.