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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Letting Go of the Pre-Baby Body Image

We women can be hard on ourselves, can't we? Trying for perfection.

But, none of us will ever get there. We'll just make ourselves crazy trying.

That notion of perfection is what was behind my poor body image. When I looked in the mirror, I didn't see what was really there: I just saw a body that is not the same as what it was pre-baby.

That image of what I used to look like kept haunting and taunting me, making it impossible to be able to see what I truly look like now. And it's time to let that go.

I need to let go of the idea that my body, after being through three pregnancies and breastfeeding three baby boys...not to mention aging over 7 years since I first got pregnant....will ever go back to exactly how it once was.

It's okay to workout, to eat right, and to try to get myself in better shape. In fact, that is a healthy thing.

But, to constantly compare my real mama body to that of twenty-something pre-kids me isn't healthy. 

So, I'm letting go of that pre-baby body image and embracing my new curves and softness.

Perfect? Nah, who needs that? But, I can be okay with who I am, mom curves and all.

For Women
The fabulous SITS Girls are doing a series on Letting Go. On Tuesday, you can click over there to see more details on their Women on the Move Channel. On Thursday, they will have a linky so that you can link up your own post about what you are letting go of. You can also follow along on twitter with #SITSLettingGo.  I hope that you will join in this wonderful community of women.

P.S. You don't really think I'm outside completely naked for this pic, do you? ;)

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Blogger Life Without Pink said...

Shell I love this!

April 5, 2011 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger Rebecca Dot Com said...

This is a good post! You are making me worry. I'm starting to get scared I wont look the same now after kids... it's okay i figured that would happen sometime!! :)

enjoy your day - and thanks for sharing!

April 5, 2011 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger Di said...

It's like you were reading my mind! I am coming to terms with the fact that since they sliced through my gorgeous previous 6 pack muscles to get Jellybean out I will never have those flat abs again unless I can afford a tummy tuck. The reward is so worth the new, more jiggly body though!

April 5, 2011 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger Kir said...

love , love , love it. Mostly because you are MORE beautiful than you know..and your inside is just as stunning as your outside. :)

April 5, 2011 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger McKenna said...

Love this more than I can express. I have been working really, really hard on this because in my head I was still trying to get back to that pre-kids me and that is never going to happen. It is so worth it to work on loving ourselves right where we are.

April 5, 2011 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Steph @ Professors_Wife said...

This is really encouraging, even for someone like me who isn't a mom yet - I know that when that time comes, the pressure will be on to be a fantastic mom and it will be "ok" to chill out about my body :) Great post and a great thing to let go of, hun! :)

Glad I could be featured with you today!

April 5, 2011 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Woohooo!!! {insert standing ovation here} I think you are 100% right on. We all need to be proud of our "battle scars". We earned them and without our momma bodies we wouldn't be mommas, and I don't think any of us would prefer that.

April 5, 2011 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger Vanessa Jackeline said...

I am your new follower, your blog is great! please visit me at www.vanessajackeline.blogspot.com

April 5, 2011 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Stopping by from SITS. I love this post. I was like that myself, and had to finally let go of the pre-baby body. I found once I finally did I was much happier with myself.

April 5, 2011 at 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Megan (Best of Fates) said...

Whatever you say I'm going to still believe you're standing in your yard naked.

Because that makes me happy, just thinking of your neighbors.

April 5, 2011 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger KLZ said...

I have seen that post-baby body and it is SMOKING. You've done a lot right with it - glad you're embracing it.

April 5, 2011 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Tuna said...

I'm less focused on the shape then the wrinkles. In my head, my neck is smoooooth and unlined, Akkk, who is that person in the mirror? Oh, right, Me.

Thanks for following and commenting today.

April 5, 2011 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Well said!! Thanks for posting about something so personal...

April 5, 2011 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Evonne said...

I love this! Good for you!

And no I didn't think you were naked. I bet you're wearing summer clothes, and for that I'm jealous.

April 5, 2011 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Ash said...


That is all. (oh, and you're a smokin' hot mama. Embrace it baby.)

April 5, 2011 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger John said...

Well said. While I've seen no evidence that you are anything less than the hottest of the hott, there is nothing better than knowing that somebody is comfortable with themselves.

April 5, 2011 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger S Club Mama said...

great post, Shell! I love this. Shoot, I didn't even get to enjoy a pre-baby body in my 20s for long (that's what you get for being 20 and getting pregnant). :) But I definitely need to lose that ideal - my stomach isn't going back to that taut pre-pregnancy belly.

April 5, 2011 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Macey said...

Real mama figures are beautiful.

April 5, 2011 at 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Classic NYer said...

P.S. You don't really think I'm outside completely naked for this pic, do you? ;)

Well no, but it's an awfully nice fantasy. ;-)

And kudos for embracing your mama body!

April 5, 2011 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger The Random Blogette said...

I love this! You are beautiful Shell!

April 5, 2011 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Andi said...

Although I have never had a baby my body has had two significant changes that I had to get used to and embrace. It is not easy, I always picture myself a certain way and then look in the mirror or try to put on clothes and I remember, "oh yeah" that's not me anymore. I have embraced my body changes even if I forget sometimes and can tell you that it has made me a lot happier!

Thanks for stopping by my blog it lead me to you and now I have a new blog read, love discovering new blogs!

April 5, 2011 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Great post! I love it. We should all stop trying to chase our pre-kid image and learn to love who we are now.

April 5, 2011 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Joann Mannix said...

I saw this on Twitter and I couldn't believe it. I'm not kidding you, I was just sliding on my sweat pants for the gym and I caught a flash of myself in the mirror and I thought, I like this body, so different from the one I used to have.

I used to be all angles with barely a curve, a tiny little thing. Children and age have given me curves and for so long, I hid my curves.But not anymore, I've learned to love the after children me. Maybe not so tiny anymore, with wider hips and a curvier tush, but this body has done wondrous things and I'm proud of it. I swear, just this morning I was thinking this!

April 5, 2011 at 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow I could have written this post my self. My oldest just turned 7, and after 3 pregnancys I look like a MOM. Somedays I wish I didn't though. Great post thanks for sharing.

Thanks for stopping by my blog too. ;)

April 5, 2011 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger The Mommyologist said...

Very cool...this is pretty much the whole Mom Sexy concept! You can't put a price on being happy and comfortable in your own skin.

April 5, 2011 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger Sonora said...

This is such a great message. I think every mom has had to make peace with the fact that she will never be exactly the same, inside or out.

April 5, 2011 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

You look fabulous! We earned these post-baby bodies and should embrace them.

April 5, 2011 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger Gigi said...

You're an inspiration! i wish I could be easier on myself!!!!

April 5, 2011 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

It's so interesting, Shell, the whole body image thing.

You are absolutely right. Our bodies will never be exactly the same. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't take care of them.

It's important for me to have a strong, fit body. And even though I'm not quite there, in some ways I'm in better shape than I was before I had kids. Because now I'm not doing it for me - I'm doing it for my children.

April 5, 2011 at 1:01 PM  
Anonymous tracy said...

This is wonderful. You are hot. I love what the SITS girls are doing.

April 5, 2011 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Great post, thanks for the boost!

I have struggled with the same thing. I only recently, finally, gave away all my pre-baby clothes. My oldest is 5.


I have kept one thing, my favourite pair of boots. Maybe I can keep the dream alive for my feet?

April 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Mmm...I am right there with you. Being beautiful/healthy/attractive takes on a whole new meaning after kids. And, if I want my girls to embrace the bodies God has given them, then I need to model it for them. Thanks for this!

April 5, 2011 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh you got right to the heart of it! We all have body issues at any age, but after having children-- well, it's quite a transition. Way to embrace your look and letting go of pre-baby-ness!

April 5, 2011 at 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Jamee @ A New Kind of Normal said...

Great post! Thank you for sharing your heart with us! I think these days it can be so hard to accept our bodies when the media enforces the skinnier the better! Way to go for letting go & enjoying your mama body! Rock it girl!

April 5, 2011 at 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

You should always work on your body for yourself and no one else. But that aside I can say that most men who have watched wives/friend/girlfriends have babies don't mind that your bodies are different.

Because the growth/changes that come with that body make the whole package far more interesting.

April 5, 2011 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger Michelle-Nicholle said...

This is great! I am stopping by from UBP and SITS Girls! This needed to be said and I'm glad you said it. I tackle the body image every day. I also have a blog Help! I'm Expecting! You asked how I work from home but am a SAHM.(Town and Rivers:Journal of A Working SAHM) I am a doula and only have to go to work if a baby is on the way. The rest of the time I spend with m boys and crafting.


April 5, 2011 at 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Kimberly said...

Go on with your bad nekkid self!

April 5, 2011 at 5:53 PM  
Blogger Natalie said...

TOTALLY thought you were naked ;)

Good for you for letting it all hang out (pun intended). I'm still fighting with myself to accept my new body.

April 5, 2011 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Emmy said...

I figured you weren't really naked :)

And you are right.. some things just won't ever be the same and that is okay. We have beautiful kids to show for it.

April 5, 2011 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger Mommyof2girlz/StephD said...

Awesome post and love the pic. I battle daily with my body after having 2 babes and I know I need to just let it go but it scares me to think what will happen if I do..lol

April 5, 2011 at 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I figured you probably wouldn't be outside naked! Great post, Shell. :)

April 5, 2011 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Minivan Mama said...

You know, I think back to my pre pregnancy body and wonder why I thought I needed to lose weight then! I had no idea what was coming. It's time to let go! I'm inspired.

April 5, 2011 at 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just thinking these thoughts the other day and you put them into words perfectly!

Naked? Nah... You are probably sporting some hot little bikini ;-)

April 5, 2011 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love it! We need to embrace who we are AND what we look like today! I recently gave away a handful of designer jeans that I will probably never get into again, and they haunt me! It felt good to let go of those!!

April 5, 2011 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Elena Wollborg said...

Good for you mama! Heading over to SITS to check this out!

April 5, 2011 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger Kmama said...

I don't know how I missed this today, but I did. GOOD FOR YOU! It's hard to accept that you aren't who you used to be, but that new person CAN be better than that old person.

April 5, 2011 at 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Brittany {Mommy Words} said...

I only hoped you were naked. Hehe. No, I thought probably you had something on somewhere.

What a wonderful post! I need to let go of this image too. I wish there were less focus on perfection in the media and celebrity world but if we take this on together and support each other we will see positive pictures of real women who are happy and healthy.

Wonderful post!

April 5, 2011 at 10:47 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Shell, you are truly amazing. You were one of the first bloggers I found a year or so ago when I started blogging, so you are close to my heart. I just discovered that hadn't "followed" you though, but you're in my reader. Weird!
I can't wait to link up on Thur. And read the transformative stories we women have to tell....

April 5, 2011 at 10:52 PM  
Anonymous CoffeeJitters said...

I can SO relate to this! we earned these curves.

April 6, 2011 at 12:43 AM  
Blogger Betty Manousos said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 6, 2011 at 1:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive seen you, you have a rockin bod! lol Does that sound too creepy??

And just think of how popular you would be with the neighbors if you were in your birthday suit.

April 6, 2011 at 1:17 AM  
Blogger angela said...

Love this!

I needed it today. I just saw a picture of myself from about 5-6 years ago, and I was rather shocked. Besides my cuter body, I just looked so bright, not-exhausted, and refreshed. Sleep was an amazing beauty tool, I guess!

April 6, 2011 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hot Momma! You know what they say, 40 is the new 20 & stretch marks are sexy! I don't know who "they" are, but I'll take credit for the stretch marks one.

April 6, 2011 at 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Stacey said...

You go girl! It is SO hard to do. I know in my head that my body will never be how it was before kids, but sometimes my heart forgets. It's wonderful though when I can embrace all my body has done for our family over the last twelve years and I can appreciate all it has left to give. Wonderful post!

April 6, 2011 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I was so excited to see your picture on Facebook (via SITS) yesterday. But, reading this gives the picture that I saw evening more meaning.

And, I think I've learned something too. I often think back, "Oh I remember when I wore a size 1 and thought that I was fat." As if that's even a real goal?!

Thank you for bringing reality into my life, as well!

April 6, 2011 at 9:33 PM  
Blogger MommaKiss said...


you rock my world.

i love you.

April 6, 2011 at 9:48 PM  
Anonymous Kimberly said...

I have a friend who says that her post-baby body (she has 3 kids all adult age now) was her badge of honor. She had grown a human being in there and that kind of power leaves a body transformed.

I loved that concept and have grabbed on tight to it!

April 7, 2011 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You said it girl. I was so pleased to see you on SITS. These are the best most appropriate articles for me right now. I'm soaking it all up!

April 7, 2011 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Semper Wifey said...

Stopping by from SITS! You rock that beautiful mom-body! What a badge of honor!

April 7, 2011 at 11:08 AM  
Blogger Lindsay Rudolph said...

You are so right about this! Thank you for opening up and letting it out. You're beautiful. So glad you decided to let go and start lovin' the hot-momma body you have! : )

April 7, 2011 at 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! I did think you were "au natural" for the picture. :) And I thought, wow, she's really embracing the spirit of the letting go challenge!

I read another post too, the one with the giveaway, and then I thought, maybe she's wearing a cute little sundress like in the giveaway. And I thought it was so funny you were giving away a sundress when you're stuck in the house with three sick kids!

Like you are subconsciously thinking about freedom, being outside, taking healthy and happy kids to the beach...

Hope they feel better soon!

April 7, 2011 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Simoney said...

hahaha, yep I did!
I was like, wow, Shell is so gutsy and brave being outdoors au natural in SPRING weather!
Love this post.
Very inspirational (put a smile on my face); and now I know what you look like :)


April 7, 2011 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I need to remember this. Granted, my pre-baby and real-mama bodies aren't that far off of from one another. But I still need to remember it.

Completely off topic, I just awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award. I'm not sure if you've received one before, or if you're even familiar with it. But you can check out what I wrote about your blog and see the award over on my blog post: Someone Really Likes Me! (I hate spamming, and this kind of feels like it, but I really wanted you to know how much I enjoy your blog!)

April 7, 2011 at 6:29 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Okay, seriously? You rock.

Love the poster so. much.

And not just because blue's my favorite color.

April 7, 2011 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Maggie S. said...

We all need to hear this, I think. All mine are adopted, and I tend to think I need to be as tiny as I was when I started dating my husband. 102. Please.
Last night when I was saying goodnight to my girls, one said, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I think moms need to be soft. I am glad you are not as thin as Mrs. Blank."

April 7, 2011 at 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Mama Kat said...

Wow! Beautiful and brave. :) Well done Shell!

April 8, 2011 at 2:17 AM  
Blogger mypixieblog said...

You are one hot, sexy momma :)

(And yes. Maybe I thought you were naked under that sign!)

April 9, 2011 at 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Leslie Green said...

Thanks to you, and many of your friends, who introduced me to SITS Letting Go. I had no idea that it existed. I just discovered it today, so I have some poking around to do. I work, each and every day, with the idea of Letting Go. Through interviewing people and posting their stories, my goal is to inspire and encourage others to Let Go to what they're holding on to that may not be serving them well.

Thank you for sharing.

With love,

April 9, 2011 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I like that you're doing this. Speaks volumes.

I also like that you're standing in your yard apparently nekkid.

Yes, nekkid.

April 10, 2011 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Great post ...I miss the old body but I love the new one because the reward was worth ravaging it took =)
Fun pic BTW I love how you did that and it speaks volumes in this post

April 11, 2011 at 12:08 AM  

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