I am 5 weeks out from a rather horrific experience, giving birth to Tobias, and I am thinking about body image a lot lately. I will catch y'all up on why my experience was so awful soon enough. You can look forward to the post as it is connected to an article contribution I have in the works about choosing a quality midwife. I digress.
Body Image. As a child I was abused and my body image took a hit. In my high school years the abuse manifested itself in the form of an eating disorder and anxiety. I was bulimic and hid it well. All symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from trauma. I've done a lot of work with my soul and my therapists to confront my body image issues. I've learned to love myself at the size I am. I have come a long way. I used to feel intense guilt about buying shampoo for my curly hair- because there was something deep inside me that believe and echoed to me, "you don't deserve this..." Voices of caretakers who failed me, who abused me, or abandoned me as a child. It seems ludicrous that as an adult, a mother of three, I might still hear the voices of my childhood- the reality is MOST of us still hear those echoes.
I have three pregnancies worth of baby weight to take off. I have years of compulsive/emotional eating weight to take off. I don't even *WANT* to be a size 6, I just want to be healthy... but how does a past bulimic attack the issue of weight loss or changing body shape without re-igniting the prior issues with binging and purging. How do I not get manic about over exercise. I used to have my sister run miles and miles at time with me. Journal calories obsessively. Diet after diet after diet after diet. Pinch belly fat to determine if I felt smaller. Just crazy stuff.
So in the next few weeks I am going to slowly transition myself back into my work out regimen. I am going to have family and friends hold me accountable to not get out of control and I am going to be kind to myself. Reminding the 'inner Jasmine' at every inch of the way that I want to be healthy, not skinny, not punishing my body, not ...all the other things that this could become. I want to be healthy whatever size I am and so this isn't a post about fitting into jeans. I have been in recovery for awhile now, and I must admit- I am afraid to focus on my body in this way. My body means so many bad things to me.
But it is time. I'll ask you to join me on this journey. See where it goes. Speak up when you feel the same way I do. Someone else out there struggles like I do, I know I am not alone. I have met some of you.