*Please realize this is not an attention-seeking post or an attempt at reassurance. I simply want to share my personal story!
I have always been small. Growing up I was pretty much all knees and elbows. I’ve always had a high metabolism, and no matter how much I ate, I didn’t gain weight.
My entire life I have heard comments like “You must be 90 pounds soaking wet!” or “You need to put some meat on those bones!” or “There’s not an ounce of fat on your body!”
I think most of the time these types of comments were meant as compliments, and I would usually smile and nod, but I felt differently inside. Every time a comment like this was made, I thought “90 pounds? Well, I’m a lot more than that. Am I supposed to be 90 pounds? I better suck by stomach in,” or “Am I not good enough the way I am?” or “Yes, there is, but I better hide it so you don’t see me differently.”
I felt such pressure to be as small as everyone thought I was, yet pressure to gain weight at the same time. I hated it. I hated my body no matter what. I wasn’t small enough. I wasn’t big enough. I wasn’t good enough. I was so insecure.
A few weeks before I found out I was pregnant I remember telling my husband that I wasn’t scared of what my body would be like when I was pregnant someday, but I was scared of what it would be like after. I knew that it was going to be different and probably never go back to the way it was before.
Sure enough, I loved my body when I was pregnant. Actually, I was the most self-confident that I’ve ever been. Yet there were still things that were said that hurt. I heard from many people that I “looked good with some weight on me.” I happened to agree, but I was a bit hurt at the same time. I knew it was a compliment or perhaps a reassurance, but what it felt like was “you weren’t good enough before.” I tried not to dwell on it because I knew it wasn’t meant that way.
Fast-forward and the day has arrived. The moment of truth. I’m no longer pregnant. How am I going to feel?
Honestly? Just fine.
At some point something changed. I wasn’t scared anymore. My body had just spent months growing a person. Of course it would look different! My body did something amazing; who cares if it doesn’t look the same as before?
And that’s the truth. I decided that the only one who can make me feel insecure about myself is, well, me. Yes, the things that were said to me over the years were hurtful, but ultimately I chose to let it get to me. And honestly, I’ve got too much going on to be worried about some extra weight and stretch marks.
At the end of the day, I don’t want to be known as “the thin one” or “the pretty one.” I’ve got more important things going on. I’d rather be known for how I walked with Christ. What kind of wife and mother I was. What kind of friend I was. Not my pant size.
All this to say, friends, be careful with your words. They hurt and have long lasting effects. But also, don’t let what other people say define how you see yourself.