There’s not a woman out there who hasn’t felt dogged by body issues at one point or another in her life — especially once she crosses the threshold into motherhood. We’re forever trying to lose the baby weight, battle those stretch marks, figure out what on earth gravity did to our boobs, and … well, you can just forget about swimsuit season. (Let’s just say there are whole parts of me that haven’t seen the sun since I was 23.) But on Sunday, a body-positive Facebook post hit my feed that has me seeing my “flaws” in a whole new way.
“When I was in my early twenties I was super critical of my body,” the now-viral post begins. “I was never satisfied with my looks. I wanted to be thinner, tighter, and I wanted breast implants. Now that I’m 36, I have to laugh. I wasn’t able to appreciate my body back then. I think part of that was because I didn’t really know who I was. I was insecure and lacked confidence.”
The poignant post, which was penned by Meredith Masony, the writer and comedic genius behind the blog That’s Inappropriate, has since been shared nearly 900 times and has racked up over 10K likes. And it’s easy to see why: Masony details some pretty common insecurities that women live with every single day, but does so in a way that hits a nerve with other moms who are still struggling to come to terms with their postpartum selves.
“I use[d] to hate when my husband would squeeze my waist or thighs while we were in bed together,” Masony writes. “I would cringe if he wanted to leave the lights on. I was so afraid of my imperfections being seen.”
As I read her words, all I could keep thinking was, Me too, sister. Me too.
But Masony doesn’t just commiserate about the many insecurities that unite us as women — in getting them out into the open, she encourages us all to confront each and every one of them. To stare them in the face, and refuse to let them dictate how we feel about our bodies.
“While I was getting ready for church this morning I looked in the mirror and saw a sea of gray in my hair,” she continues. “I thought, ‘I’ve earned this. I’m OK with this.’ I am so happy that I am now able to embrace those imperfections and welcome these changes.”
“As women, I think it’s important e need to own our personalities,” Masony urges. “We need to own our choices. I have learned to love myself. As a result of loving myself, my relationship with my husband is stronger.”
The truth of the matter is, for better or worse, motherhood changes us in innumerable ways. It changes our lives, our perspectives, and perhaps most obvious of all, our bodies.
“My body has shifted and changed so much over the past 12 years,” Masony tells Babble. “It took me a while to realize that I needed to figure out who I was in order to love what I looked like and be comfortable in my skin. Getting married and having babies caused me to get lost. I had to figure out who I was outside of a mother, wife, and employee.”
I certainly know what that’s like; when I entered my thirties and was facing the daily realities of marriage and motherhood, I too found it hard not get lost in pressure to get it right and with grace. Lots of moms go through this, which is why Masony’s message is so important for women to read.
“You can learn to love yourself,” she shares. “You can learn to find happiness. If you are struggling please know that you are not alone. Your insecurities do not need to rule your life. You are enough. You are beautiful. Your imperfections make you amazing. They make you strong. They make you courageous and unstoppable.”
Masony hits the nail right on the head with that one. Like it or not, the urge to be perfect — and raise perfect children, while keeping a perfect house, and totally killing it at work — is one that plagues so many moms. And according to Masony, she thinks most of it can be blamed on one thing: social media. That’s precisely why she’s now using the same medium to combat the noise telling women that being thin and pretty and perfect equals being happy.
“Social media has a tendency to show us their idea of perfection,” Masony shares. “I started this community to highlight my imperfections as a woman, wife, and mother. I think that if we are honest about who we are, we can help so many parents and women feel less alone.”
Her salient point, though, is that each woman should feel empowered to realize her full self and to be proud of that — imperfections and all.
“I [eventually] realized that I could be mom, wife, sister, employee, and Meredith,” she tells Babble. “It was a tough journey, and I am still questing, but it is so important to know that we are more than mothers and wives.”
“We can have goals and aspirations outside of potty training and diaper changing,” she continues. “We can do all of these things and take our families with us. It is not all or nothing. It is a constant compromise, but it is totally worth it.”
Of course, embracing yourself — stretch marks, cellulite, and all — is easier said than done. But Masony says it’s a all a process; a process
“You can learn to love yourself,” she writes. “You can learn to find happiness. If you are struggling please know that you are not alone. Your insecurities do not need to rule your life. You are enough. You are beautiful. Your imperfections make you amazing. They make you strong. They make you courageous and unstoppable.”
Women truly are remarkable in every shape and way. In my own life, having the courage to be cool with the scars of childbirth and a muffin-top to go with my graying hair has made me feel unstoppable. We need more strong women like Masony speaking up about how beautiful we all truly are.