“Mommy has an owie?”
In the early morning cuddling with my kids to Doc McStuffins, my 3 year old twin boys inspected my haggard less-than airbrushed face pointing out the red pock marks I had been poking at the night before. Post pregnancy acne had my face worse than it had ever been before.
In a split second, I hear a degrading voice screaming in my head:
Ugly. Unloved. Unarguably gross.
I shake it off trying to fight away the thoughts.
Later that morning I’m sitting on the couch reading stories to my kids the Belly Button Book. My 2 year old daughter pulls up her shirt and excitedly points to hers saying, “belly button!”
“Yes good job baby girl!”
She then starts tackling me and grabbing at the hem of my shirt yanking it upward. “Mommy! Mommy! See mommy belly button!”
Protruding her sausage fingers into my distorted hole of a belly button, a statement more than a question comes from her mouth, “Squishy.” She smashes the folds of my stretch marked belly skin into the palms of her hands with a giggle. I smile, yet secretly feel my insides squirm with disgust.
The attack comes again:
Disgusting. Undesirable. Distorted beyond repair.
The rest of the day I find myself again and again facing situations where the enemy sneaks his way in.
Walking by the mirror: Ugh, you need to work out more… or wait… you just need to work out.
Bending over with my love handles protruding out: These hips are too huge.
Taking a shower: You still can’t see your feet when you look down, ugh, fatty.
Putting on my clothes before bed I notice my C-section scar and stretch marks that scream at me: Damaged. No good. Imperfect and will never be sexy again.
Bombarded by these thoughts all day, I roll over when my husband hand goes up my shirt towards my breasts trying to engage with me before the next day begins again. Intimacy is far from my mind as I’ve warred in my head all day with negative thoughts of how less-than-sexy my body is. I took the lies—hook, line, sinker—lies that feel like truth boiling it all down to: I am not beautiful anymore.
Embarrassed by my lack of beauty, especially during this season of my life post birth to three children (one pregnancy which was twins) I hide my battle scarred body away from my spouse—away from his loving hands. I know I shouldn’t yet I can’t help it at times.
Sweet momma, let me take your face into my cupped hands and tell you something that I’ve been told a time or two as well, “you are not alone in this battle.”
Now let me tell you something that is TRUE, that I remind myself of daily in the battle that rages against me every time I see that skinny girl in the perfect bathing suit body after having six kids and drinking a Ruby’s diner 3000 calorie shake. TRUTH that comes from the Maker of Truth Himself, to recite to yourself when those raging beauty-sucking beasts from within taking you out:
You are altogether beautiful my daughter, my bride. I already see you squirming there as I tell you this. You’ve believed the lie for far too long. You look at magazine images that lies to your heart and set a standard of beauty that is exhausting and nearly impossible to attain. You scroll Facebook and Instagram, pin cute bathing suits on your Pinterest boards with diet fads you want to try, all the while internally depressed and crying tears of sorrow so deep because you believe you will never be as beautiful as them. While exercise can be a good thing, or a trip to the dermatologist isn’t a sin, where is your heart at? Where is your heart beautiful? I hear you saying, “but if I could just lose the last 10 pounds I’d be happy,” or “if I could just get rid of the extra saggy skin I would feel sexy again.” Our bodies are meant for toil and work. It’s meant to stretch for new life and sag from milking babies. What if I said you may never get your body back, or never get the body you feel you’d be happy with, then what? Will you continue to believe you are unlovely? Even with plastic surgery, which often doesn’t go the way it’s expected or turns to dust as we continue to age, will you get another fix, or two or three until you think you’ve recreated yourself just right? What are you investing your worth into? This body you have post twenties is now in a constant state of decay, did you know that? There is no elixir of immortality preventing those wrinkles from making their mark on you or something to prevent the gravity pulling down the flabby parts of you. You need to know, these things about you are not ugly. YOU are not ugly. Redefine your definition of ugly. You need to believe in this truth: you are still sexy with saggy breasts and pock-marked skin and wrinkles and stretch marks and scarring and the works, no matter what the world tells you otherwise. It is a perception of the mind that encompasses sexy. A perception of the mind that redefines beauty. Our culture is backwards with perception of what is considered beautiful and how we need to look in order to be sexy again. Sexiness is confidence that comes from within the body and a choice to believe in your outer beauty regardless of its current state. You may get the feeling of confidence initially through a workout class or eating cleanse or getting an appointment with the dermatologist. But when those things fade, when zits pop up again, or when the surgery doesn’t pan out like you had hoped, what then? No, seek confidence in yourself through Me, your Father in Heaven, who believes you are beautiful and crafted to perfection no matter how damaged you believe your body is or how squishy you are or how little muscle you now have. You are still beautiful. You are still altogether lovely. Don’t hide yourself from your spouse. Don’t hide yourself from Me. You are so loved. You are SO beautiful. Believe it. You already have it. Let your sexiness soar!
Go to your mirror, the full length one if you have it. Say the above paragraph out-loud to yourself. Seriously. Try it. It might be painfully uncomfortable at first. You don’t have to believe it yet either. But I challenge you to say this over and over again to yourself until you believe in its deeper message.
There is a Truth out there you’re missing. A truth you’ve lacked believing about yourself when it comes to beauty because it’s about a beauty that comes from within—which is a deeper security you can hold onto.
But the other truth is, you really are beautiful, you know. Your body may be different post baby… yes, but who’s to say different isn’t beautiful? And in reality, most of us momma’s really look the same post baby, you and me. So embrace it, and believe there’s still sexiness in you regardless of the number on the scale.
Because the truth is,
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Prov. 31:30)
And after the kids go to bed tonight, get one of those silky gowns on again (or go buy a new one before he gets home) and maybe dust off those heels and strap them on. I bet when your man see’s you, his face will say it all–you are incredibly beautiful.
Because girl, you are NOT less-than-sexy. You are nothing BUT sexy.