I used to hate my body, but all that changed once I became a mom — in a way that was totally unexpected. For most of my life, I have struggled with body images issues, dysmorphic and disordered eating. I used to imprison my mind in a constant stream of self-criticism, and was constantly mean to my body. I would punish it by overexercising for every small indulgence, and by starving myself on a regular basis to look a certain way.
Now that I'm a mom, I am so much more in touch with gratitude, acceptance, love (and more!) — for my kids, and for my myself. Caring for my sons has invited me to step outside of this vicious cycle of self-loathing. I've learned to celebrate my body for everything it has given me in this chapter of my life, and going forward throughout the rest of my journey as a mother.
Here are just 10 reasons why I love my body more than ever, now that I'm a mom:
1. I carried two against-all-odds pregnancies to term despite serious medical problems.
I will never be mean to this body again, in fact, I bow to its (my) lotus feet.
2. My body has inevitably shape-shifted during motherhood (and will continue to shape-shift).
And I'm OK with that. I have both “curvy” and skinny jeans in my closet — they exist side-by-side peacefully. I think the might even be friends by now, they have been together for so long.
3. It doesn't pass judgments on my choices, and lets me be the multifaceted woman that I am.
I am a mother of two boys. But I also love yoga and fashion and NYC. So what do you do if your identities seem to range far and wide, like mine?
You put on a pair of six-inch heels and you stick a standing mermaid in the middle of Times Square for Robert Sturman. What I have learned: Motherhood and sticking standing mermaids on 6-inch heels are not mutually exclusive.
4. I know and understand this body more and more each day.
For instance, I know it needs Bulletproof coffee to get through 4th grade long division.
5. My body encourages me to embrace my femininity (and the importance of fun).
I love to wear dresses, and bangles and paint my fingernails the color of poppies. Motherhood has opened my eyes to the importance of fun. I can do all of these things, and get in touch with my youthful energy, while still caring for my kids.
6. I can move this body, and laugh at myself in the process.
I teach and practice yoga. Due to other athletic endeavors, my hamstrings are always tight. In yoga, my Bird of Paradise remains in Purgatory. Sometimes my Hanumanasana becomes Hanumanasshole. My backbends are sick, though, Moms need to focus on the positive. And so I've learned not to take any of this too seriously.
7. I am more present with what I like to do (and eat).
I'll keep this simple: I am fine with never having a six-pack. The reason being is that I am a phenomenal cook. No joke. I love food and fine wine and I don’t deprive myself. Especially given the challenges of motherhood, I think it's essential to honor yourself and the thing that give you pleasure! (See #1 about bowing to my lotus feet.)
8. My body does not believe in age … only energy.
I learned this concept from my teacher, Master Tao-Porchon Lynch who turns 97 in August. Your body doesn't know your age, it just knows how you feel. The next time someone asks you your age, tell them you no longer believe in age, only energy.
I think this realization was bolstered by the fact that my kids keep me spiritually "young": think about it, being with kids means you get to play hopscotch and swing on swings, and have lots of dance parties.
9. My body and mind are always learning new stuff.
In my youth, I was drawn to dancer-ly types of movement, but now I am playing soccer, basketball, and I am learning to pitch with a bunch of 7-year-olds.
10. I love this body because it gets to hug and kiss my kids.
I love this body because it took me this long to learn the best exercise (for body and mind) includes laughing so hard with your kids your stomach hurts.
In summary, I love my body because I am present with it, I am IN it, and I take good care of it, and it takes good care of me. I can’t wait to get out of bed each morning and see my children. I love this body because it is strong, so strong it can carry a Mother’s heart. Happy Mother’s Day, Love your body, and love your life.
Photo courtesy of Robert Sturman Studio