How Kids Boost Body Confidence

Appreciating My New Mommy Shape

Strangely, this lack of shame, this policy of zero privacy, is liberating. I no longer waste time fretting about a pimple or a few extra pounds. Now I'm the pack leader, the protector, the endless source of wisdom, comfort, and Cheerios. Words like natural and graceful have replaced ugly and awkward in terms of my body. I now know that it isn't something to hide. In fact, it's a pretty amazing machine. It can run on four hours of sleep, fueled solely by caffeine and Goldfish, and manhandle 50 pounds of squirming kids. So what if I have short legs? I consider it an accomplishment if I even shave them. Who cares if I have a bit of a tummy? I've had three children and still look relatively decent in a two-piece. Besides, I'm too busy trying to keep my daughter from eating floating bug carcasses to care if anyone snickers at my poolside jiggle.

So now when I'm in the shower, I study my body and no longer fantasize about the day when I can get a little nip here, a bit of a tuck there. I have come to appreciate my new mommy shape. Where I used to have pimples, I now have laugh lines. My once perky B-cups have become stretch-marked reminders of the children I've nourished. And when my son peeps in and tells me my not-penis is furry, well I just laugh and think, "Some day I will recount this story to you in front of your future wife, and you will be mortified, and it will be hil-ar-ious." But for now, I'm just happy for the reminder to schedule a bikini wax.

Originally published in the January 2012 issue of Parents magazine.

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