Body Image and Loving Your Body

Oh boy I am so excited guys.  You may not know this but I love Sue sooooooo much!!! I am so happy she's decided to guest post for me.  I forget exactly how and when we started talking, but it turned into a slew of therapy emails (I was the one needing the therapy, then again, I always am.) and then I found out just what a wonderful soul she is!! We also share a mutual home of Utah so she totally gets it when I am homesick for the desert and rocky mountains.  I dream of one day meeting Sue IRL and completing our fantastic online friendship.  Also I plan on abducting her daughter because I fell in love with her about ten seconds after seeing pics.  Without further ado, Sue!! 

Hello friends of Alex! I'm Sue and I write and ramble over at As It Seems. I'm a reader, dancer, dreamer, nerd. I'm a wife and a (new) mom and I absolutely love life. I find every reason I can to be happy and celebrate the beauty in the everyday moments.

I've loved following Alex through her posts about self love this year because it's made me reflect on my own self love. My biggest challenge when it comes to "me" has always been loving my body. I grew up in a family where body image was not an issue. We played outside and were constantly active. I was always on the skinny side but never really thought of it.

When I was in 9th grade that changed. I was friends with some girls who were OBSESSED with their weight. Never mind that they were all a size 0 or 2 (as was I). They thought they were fat. They were constantly on a diet. They would eat candy and throw it up. They would eat burgers and throw them up. They would sit there at lunch watching everyone around them eat and refuse to take a bite. And slowly I started to wonder, if they were fat did that mean I was too? I still didn't dwell on it the way they did but that began my thoughts about body image and "fatness."

When I graduated high school I lost my crazy-active lifestyle and with that added a few pounds. No big deal. And over the years I would add a few more at a time. Never a ton all at once, just a few here and there. I hated my body but I didn't do anything about it. Story of the world, right?

A year ago in June I found out I was pregnant. I was also at the heaviest I've ever weighed. Now granted it wasn't *huge* but it was a lot to me and I was definitely not comfortable in my skin. This picture on the left was taken the day I found out I was pregnant (6 weeks along) and long before you could see a baby bump. I've always gained weight in my face first and you can definitely see some there. I honestly hate how I look in that picture but I'm slowly coming to terms with it. I knew that day my body was going to be changing in a big way over the next 9 months and I really needed to find a way to be okay with that.

As it turns out my pregnancy was very rough. I dealt with a condition called HG (hyperemesis gravidarum) and was sick until the day my Everly was born. I lost a lot of weight. Normally that would be something to get excited over but I worried constantly that my baby wasn't growing properly, that she wasn't getting all the nutrients she needed, and that my body was doing something horribly wrong. They were completely rational and natural fears, especially with HG, but we were lucky and she was healthy. Pregnancy was not fun for me but I can honestly say I loved my pregnant body. I loved watching my tummy grow and see my baby kicking around inside me. It was the miracle of life. The middle picture is me at 40 weeks & 3 days, my water had broke hours before, my contractions had started, and we were at the hospital ready to welcome our little lady to the world.

And this leads us to today. The picture on the right is me today (yay for procrastinating a picture!). I've lost 25ish pounds since the first picture and my body is slowly returning to where I want it to be. It's a process. It probably always will be. But I know I feel much better about myself (regardless of how I look) when I eat better and exercise more. Don't we all? I look at my stomach and yes, it's different now that I've had a baby. My whole body is. But if there's one thing this whole experience has taught me its to love my body no matter what form it takes. My body is mine. My body is strong and powerful (seriously, I felt like superwoman after giving birth!) and it's the only one I have. Instead of hating it I'm learning to love it. Hooray for self love! xo Sue

PS I love to make new blog friends. Come visit me over at As It Seems and say hello! Also, this is my sweet daughter, Everly Eden. Isn't she adorbs? She's almost 5 months old, and 15 pounds of the most amazing chubbiness ever. I love how well she's growing and I thank my body every day for feeding this little lady. Just another reason to love myself!

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