Body After Baby | Week 23 | Confidence Revolution
During my pregnancy and post-partum, I was under the tutelage of all things Hollywood media. I felt compelled to be exceptional. I wanted to bounce back and have it all figured out, right away. I wanted my days to flow seamlessly – to be able to breastfeed, have great sex with my husband, and cook a great meal. And I felt crushing pressure, every bit self-imposed, to have a beach-ready body.
I didn’t care that I had just had a baby, or that my body was recovering not only from making a baby and carrying a baby, but also from birthing a baby. I wanted to look just like famous women do in fashion magazines.
It was my goal to not only look good in my old clothes, but to feel good too. I had set and accomplished goals before, and this was no different – except that, just between us, it was ENTIRELY different. What was I thinking?!
Eventually, I realized (that’s code for: I learned the hard way) I was an entirely new person with new circumstances and new responsibilities, so I took drastic action and unsubscribed to magazines and stopped watching junk television. I walked away from the media that was making me crazy and I flushed Hollywood’s definition of attractive down the toilet. It served NO purpose in my life, and rather quickly, I was the better for it.
Just between us, it took time to get my sexy back, and when it came back, it wasn’t in the same way: it was BETTER because it was authentic. I walked taller and held my head higher, knowing I was a force. Over the course of her first year, ease settled into my bones. I emerged after the first year of motherhood stronger, more grounded and confident in myself – and how I looked no longer mattered.
Years of trial and error culminated and I finally realized that authentic confidence and beauty are not end results, they are byproducts of a soul that is peaceful, grateful, and kind.
If a genie were to offer me a Hollywood starlet’s pre-baby body today, just between us, I’d laugh and walk away. There is no chance on God’s green earth I would trade even a smidgen of who I am now for anyone else’s esthetics. My entire being is better for the richness I’ve experienced, even my post-baby figure.
Pastor Rob Bell , God bless him, teaches on the notion of good vs. perfect. He teaches that the Hebrew language brings us the word, tov, which means good. Only that Tov is a layered version of the word we have come to understand as good. Folded into the definition of tov is a dynamic quality. Tov takes movement into consideration. Tov is of the earth, tov is seasons, tov is evolving, tov embraces light and dark. Tov welcomes grit and flaws, tov celebrates authenticity. Tov knows that life seasons run their course, it knows that we are in a constant state of creation and forward movement. Tov flows. Tov takes active participation.
After introducing us to tov, Bell enlightens us by shedding light on the ideal of perfection brought to us by the Greeks. The definition of τέλειος , better known to us as perfect has a layered definition made up of: being the ultimate, fully realized, without shortcomings, entire. Perfect brings with it a sense of static. Perfect is that which cannot be improved upon, perfect is complete.
In an interview Cameron Diaz did about her book, The Body Book , she noted how the anti-aging movement has convinced us that no matter how many candles are on our birthday cake, we should aim to look 25 in perpetuity. That women everywhere are repeatedly apologizing for not being able to defy nature. We walk around whispering nonsense to ourselves and each other like, “My skin is not taut, or I’m not able to fit into those skinny jeans anymore, or she looks perfect, why can’t I?”
At twenty-five I was peppy, fit, not a wrinkle on me, but I was also a shell of the person I am today. In the years eight years since turning twenty-five I have experienced disappointment, triumph, profound joy, marriage, child birth, more runs to the grocery store, more traffic tickets, more traveling, and more stumbles. I have experienced more excitement and more heart ache, and all these experiences have been tov. They have shaped me and pushed me to become more compassionate, more humble and more curious.
If we removed our lenses of perfection and instead used our tov lenses, how might that change our outlook? How much would our days be different if we recognized that we are part of something good, gritty, holy, and evolving? How much would our hearts sing if we settled into the notion that perfect is a great for describing delectable food and awing art, but it is almost too small, too narrow of a word to describe our hearts and spirits and bodies? Perfect wishes it could hold all of what we have to offer, but it just can’t. So instead, let’s honor the expansiveness of our journeys and let’s welcome the notion that we are, that it is all, good.