Monday, January 13, 2014

Body Image

Hi, I'm Ashleigh, and I used to be skinny.

Now before you go thinking this is a sad, self-pitying post, hear me out.  

From the time I was a tiny child, I was skinny.  Lurpy skinny.  In high school I was itsy bitsy.  Honestly, look at my senior picture:

I quite literally almost don't recognize myself in that photo.  Holy skinny, Batman!!!

When I was about 20, I started filling out a little.  And by "filling out,"  I mean at 5'7" I weighed maybe 125 pounds?  When I got engaged, I looked like this:

I was tipping the scales at probably 130 pounds.  In the 2 years that I was unsuccessfully trying to have a baby, I gained quite a bit of weight.  I think I was around 155 at my heaviest, and got down to about 145 before I got pregnant with Lexsi.  After she was born, I lost a good amount of weight, gained some back, lost some more again... you know the drill.  After having Lexsi, I mourned the loss of my skinny self.  I really did.  I certainly didn't regret having a baby, but I did wish I could be skinny again. When I got pregnant with Mia, I weighed around 150, and I was really concerned that I'd just get HUGE while pregnant, and never be skinny ever again.  After she was born I quickly dropped back down to the weight I was before getting pregnant with her, and made a goal to lose 10-15 more pounds.

Do you see all the numbers in that paragraph?  Over Thanksgiving break this past fall, something finally clicked.  I didn't want to focus any more on a number.  I didn't want to feel uncomfortable in my own skin.  I won't say it was an overnight change, but I can tell you, I'm MUCH happier now!  

I've been going to the gym for a few weeks, but not with the ultimate goal of being skinny.  Honestly.  I realize that working out will likely yield the result of weight lost, but that's a bonus for me.  My main goal is to be healthy.  Being healthy is much more important to me than being skinny.  Let's get real... I've had 2 babies 20 months apart.  That's a lot to put your body through!  It's going to take a while to bounce back from that, if I ever really do.  I will probably never be as skinny as I was when I first got married.  And honestly, I'm okay with that!  I prayed for and cried over and stressed about having a baby for nearly 2 years.  Now I have two beautiful baby girls!  I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world, especially something silly like a skinny body.  

I can honestly say that I have more self-confidence in my body now than I ever have before in my life.  My body literally created, formed, and sustained human life inside of it twice!  For the past 3 months since Mia's birth, I have continued to sustain her life by nursing her.  Seriously, aren't bodies the coolest?  How miraculous is it that she hasn't needed ANY nourishment apart from what my body has naturally produced for her?  How could I not be proud of a body that has accomplished that?

Do I have days where I wished I could fit into a pair of pants that I have from before I had babies?  Yes, yes I do.  And yes, I actually still have those pants tucked away in the closet, in hopes I *might* someday be able to wear them again.  But I can be completely genuine when I say that if I don't ever wear them again, I won't be heartbroken.  Heavenly Father gave me this incredible body.  Despite things that our world views as "flaws," I love it.  I'm not focused on my soft, baby-pooched stomach.  I don't care that I have stretch marks.  I'm not bothered by the increase in my pants size.  What I care about is that my body has allowed me to live my dream of being a mom.  

From reading the scriptures, I know that I fought for the ability to come to this earth and receive a body.  No where does it say that the body I was fighting for would be perfect.  No where does it say that the body I was fighting for would be a size 2.  I truly believe that bodies are beautiful in all shapes and sizes.  They really are gifts from our Heavenly Father.  

Looking at this picture, I don't see a chubby mom.  I don't see someone who cares that they weigh more than they did 2 years ago.  I see a happy, happy woman who is crazy in love with her husband and overjoyed with being a mom to her 2 gorgeous baby girls.  I'm quite literally living my dream, and I'm not going to let insecurities about my body stand in the way of my happiness!


  1. I can't tell you how much I LOVE this!! It quite literally brought tears to my eyes! I get it, oh how I get it. I remember a couple years ago looking at photos of Adam and I as newlyweds and crying because of how good I looked compared to how I looked then. And for me, it's more than just weight. Having babies absolutely ruined my skin. I have acne now as an adult far worse than I ever did as an adolescent. And don't get me started about what having 3 kids in 5 years did to my abs! Ay!
    And yet. If I had it all to do over again, would I change a thing? Absolutely and unequivocally NO!! Those stretch marks are battle scars. The extra weight and floppy skin is a testament to the babies who have set up residence inside my wonderful body. What a privilege it is to feel them move and grow within you! And things are just different now. There are times that I still struggle with that, but I feel like I am doing my best to live a healthy lifestyle. I excercise 5-6x's a week, try to eat healthful foods, and get enough sleep. And you know what? It's enough. I have a beautiful, luxurious pair of red silk pajamas that are a size small that I can't seem to take to Goodwill, either. But, like you, if I never wear them again, I will be ok. It's a blessing beyound words to be a mother, and to take ALL that that means.

  2. Great post and reminder!! You look beautiful and happy and healthy, and that really is what matters -- not what size pants you wear! Love those family pics!