Amy Weatherly is a mom who has let herself go, but don’t worry — she isn’t upset about it. In fact, not only is she pretty darn proud of the fact that she’s let herself go, but she is on a mission to encourage other moms to do the same.
In a post on her Facebook page, the 34-year-old Texan writer, blogger, and mom of three explained that she came to her realization after meeting with an old friend who was shocked at her new appearance. Her friend knew Weatherly from her past life before kids, when she had been voted “girliest girl” and “most likely to wear heels.” Back then, she was never seen in public without a full face of makeup, an accessorized, stylish outfit, and every hair perfectly in place.
The woman who met Weatherly that day, however, saw someone completely different —someone without makeup on who was wearing a comfortable pair of tennis shoes. Her friend couldn’t help but tease, “Who even are you anymore?”
In response, Weatherly uttered the phrase that has been said about almost every mother at some point: That somewhere around baby number three, she had “let herself go.”
Although Weatherly noted in her post that she had uttered those words simply as an “automatic defense mechanism,” they stuck with her the rest of the day because she realized that she was “feeling like crap” over them.
“I knew I didn’t look the same as I did before, but had I actually let myself go?” she questioned in the post. “Ten extra [pounds] and a messy bun would point to yes, but my heart screamed, ‘HECK TO THE NO YOU HAVE NOT, GIRLFRIEND.’”
Weatherly went on to describe all of the ways she eventually decided that she definitely had not let herself go after becoming a mom — such as the fact that she is more confident now, less insecure, and more free to live her life without worrying about what others think.
“Truth is, I kind of like myself now, definitely more than I did before,” Weatherly concluded. “I wouldn’t go back to that girl with the good hair for all the skinny jeans and skinny lattes in the world.”
Instead of the phrase “let yourself go,” Weatherly tells Babble that she hopes her message will help women to think of the transition that can come with motherhood as more like, “let yourself grow.” In fact, if Weatherly had her way, the phrase “let herself go” would be banished completely from all mothers’ vocabularies.
“It’s an awfully mean phrase in my opinion,” she notes. “Things change. Bodies change. Size changes. Skin changes. Priorities change more than anything else. It’s so natural to change when you become a mom, to morph and to grow into someone new.”
Weatherly sees part of the commentary on mothers “letting themselves go” as a larger reflection of our society’s intense scrutiny on how women look.
“We grow up seeing magazines, idolizing pop stars and actresses, models,” she explains. “Either we are praised for being pretty ourselves, or we see other girls constantly being praised for being pretty above all else, and our appearances get intertwined in with our identity.”
It was that struggle with seeing her self-worth through her own appearance that Weatherly explains led her to feel overly insecure as a teenager. She says this struggle continued all the way through her early thirties before she finally made the decision to learn to love herself.
“I set out to know myself, and to appreciate myself, so I could be more free to know and appreciate the people around me,” she adds. “When I did that, doors began to open up in so many other areas.”
Other mothers have clearly related to Weatherly’s message. Her post has now been shared close to 300 times, with many women sharing how they, too, have struggled with valuing themselves through motherhood.
Weatherly says she hopes her post will help other mothers let go of any negative beliefs they may be holding onto.
“I hope it makes them feel free,” she explains. “I hope it makes them feel like they can breathe. I hope it reminds them they are absolutely beautiful whether they get back into those pre-baby jeans or not. Beauty isn’t in appearances. Beauty is in what you do, and what you put into the world.”
So, the next time that you (yes, you, reading this right now!) are tempted to put yourself down for not fitting into those jeans you used to wear, or never really doing your hair anymore, or rocking that same old ratty sweatshirt to school pick-up for the third day in a row, Weatherly has one message for you, as she states in her post:
“You haven’t let yourself go, you have simply let go of the need to look perfect all of the time.
You have simply let go of stuff that isn’t important and traded it in for stuff that will leave a lasting legacy. You have simply let go of stuff that will last a little while, for stuff that will last for generations and generations and generations.”