As I’ve said before, having the opportunity to be a mother is the greatest of gifts. My two wonderful munchkins bring me great joy and laughter. Even though they test my patience and steal my sleep, they offer kisses and cuddles and constantly amaze me with the ways they interact with the world. T says the most insightful and creative things, explores the world and reveals her findings so honestly, and D is fascinated by everything and reminds me how fleeting the baby time is. I soak up the joy of this time as best I can.
But I have a confession, and it’s a very shallow one. I was changing into my pajamas one night and finally admitted aloud the truth of my feelings toward my post-baby belly. It doesn’t make me happy.
I know that this body of mine is strong and beautiful. It has served me well so far—through dance classes and martial arts, through writing and learning and worldwide travels—and through two healthy pregnancies that have gifted me two children I would not trade for anything, least of all my vanity.
But I look in the mirror and see a belly that is flabby and wrinkly, and, in the right (wrong) clothes, I look several months pregnant. I’ve learned to dress to hide my insecurities about my belly, and I’ve been taking steps to eat better and work out more, but I know the illusion for what it is.
The workout regimen will improve my fitness and silhouette if I can just stick to it. As we all know, life gets in the way. I’ve started the program for the third time. It’s discouraging to see that in print. Three times, without reaching the end. The first time I realized I got on the wrong schedule after a couple weeks, when the regimen became too difficult too quickly. The second time was interrupted by a family emergency for which I dropped EVERYTHING. I have no regrets about doing so, and I would drop everything once again if I had a do-over.
But once things settled down I climbed back on the wagon to try again. I’m trying the even easier schedule this time, so that I have an extra opportunity to stay on track. I don’t know if the plan will be interrupted again, and, if it is, I’ll start again and keep moving forward.
One of the black belts I’ve earned has a saying in Korean that roughly translates to “I will fall a thousand times and get up a thousand times.” That indomitable spirit, that perseverance to keep going in spite of setbacks, will see me through.
It permeates my very being. I do not give up. I may have to work harder, and things may not work out as planned. Plans and priorities change, but some things remain constant. And giving up is not an option. So I look in the mirror and accept that the droopy tummy is temporary, that this fleeting stage of motherhood to small children will pass all too soon, and that I’m doing the right things to change both my body and my perspective, and I recognize that we sacrifice certain things to get worthwhile outcomes.
Is a flabby belly and long road of exercise to recover my fitness worth the experience of raising T and D? You bet it is.
Happy Mother’s Day to my sisters in motherhood. May you be blessed with your children’s love and laughter, and may you be blessed to love yourself as you are now.
Here’s a sample from my drawing exercises, per my resolutions.
Previous Mother’s Day posts: First Mother’s Day