I actually am wearing a beach cover-up today. It's the green, long one I wore over my bikini the last time my hubby and I jetted off to the Dominican Republic. (Yes, those pre-baby days feel like a life-time ago!) It's snowing out. Late-March and the flakes are spiraling down. And I'm prancing around the house in our kitchen, In a BEACH. COVER-UP.
My girls came home from school this afternoon, looked me up and down and then started jumping around asking if we were headed to the indoor pool tonight. I scrunched my nose and said no.
"Oh OK," said the 6-year-old, a little confused. "Well you look really pretty anyway," she added, as she climbed on my lap and pulled my top to the side, peering down to sneak a peek below. "Mama, is your bathing suit under there too?"
I shrugged again. "Then why are you wearing it?"
"It's just really COMFORTABLE," I stammered back.
And because I'm on a let's "get-this-right-out-in-the-open-writing-moment" right now, I also have to secretly confess what I was wearing around THIS morning as I ran errands around our Island (praying I wouldn't run into anybody that I know which is impossible who you are in charge of running a large women's bible study!)
Drum roll please - today's fashion feature was my hubby's XXL blue basketball sweat pants and (I kid you not) my HIGH SCHOOL basketball warm-up sweat shirt. Yes, I still have it. Stained from senior-year pizza parties and covered in baby spit-up. And yes, I still (often) wear it.
It gets even better...I would have worn my (matching) HIGH SCHOOL basketball warm-up sweat pants (instead of my hubby's) but I slipped them on so often during this last pregnancy that the draw string broke and they are no longer functional (however, they still have a special place in my dresser because how could I ever throw THOSE babies out?)
Why all these budding fashion trends?
BECAUSE. I. SIMPLY. CAN'T. FIT. INTO. ANYTHING. ELSE!
Wow, who knew that would feel so good to admit!
I'm 11 weeks postpartum today and girls, the weight is just sticking around. The truth (and yes, this next sentence will probably make you detest me because I actually can no longer stand myself once I typed it) is that after my delivering my first two babies I was back zipping up my skinny jeans by the time those munchkins were sleeping through the night. After delivering baby number three, I thought I understood what the wonderful "muffin-top" meant cause I actually bought a bigger size pair of jeans, which I only wore for a few months until my tummy slimmed down. I had no idea.
But girls, this fourth time around? I've chosen cheesecake over carrot sticks. Comfort over effort. During my pregnancy, my nausea was so yucky that I only felt half-way ok when I was filling up my tummy with food. Greasy food. And so I ate. And ate. I ate Sonic cheeseburgers for breakfast and a block of cheddar cheese for a mid-night snack. I LOVED every bite. And girls, I have to admit, I've never understood other friends who have struggled with an addiction to food. But now? I get it! Post-partum the highlight of my day has revolved around what (and often where) I am eating next. I've felt somewhat entitled to continue in my over-eating. After all, I DESERVE this hand-full of chocolate chips mid-afternoon just to get through the rest of this crazy day.
Enter the problem....The baby has been out and the nausea gone for months now, but I have been STILL eating the same way! (It's sad when the lady at the dessert counter, where I circle the peanut-butter cheesecake, knows me by name). The latest me is a 20 pound plus version of myself, (the weight of the sweats NOT included). And regardless of what the scale says, I'm more upset about just how terrible my body feels. I'm sluggish. And bone-tired. I feel frumpy. There, I said it!
So I'm starting today. Starting to care again.
Not because it matters what my jean size is or how flat my abs are (who are we kidding...I'll be shocked if even one ab muscle exists anymore!) I'm not setting some goal of getting back to my college weight. I'm starting to care again because GOD CARES. He cares that I do the best with what's He's gifted me. He cares that I am a good steward of this body. This one body. The one I will offer Him when I meet him.
The stretch marks and the sags and the extra C-section skin and the pelvic surgery scars are all evidence of the four beautiful that have grown in my womb and have labored out of my body. My heart has been forever changed by each life, how could I ever expect my body to remain the same too?
And so I begin caring again, not to pursue perfection or a specific weight or to look like an old picture of myself from my string bikini days. I start again to offer, as an act of worship, the gift of my body to my Heavenly King. He has given me so much. And gratitude requires action.
Though they have slowed, I am thankful for the legs He has gifted me to stand on while I mother my four. Though they are stretched and have sagged, I am grateful for the bosom that is now nursing my fourth and is the tender place my babies lay their heads. Though my waist line has rounded, I am so very thankful that it has felt the kick of new life and now is the stoop for little bodies that curl around mine every day.
I'm starting cause I want to feel strong again. Strong to better love my husband and allow him to love on me. Strong to mother my four littles. Strong to serve my God.
I'll keep you posted on how it goes....