|Skirt: Eloquii (Available here)|
I’ve mentioned on the blog a few times before that my tummy is my least favorite body part. Even at my smallest weight of 97 pounds, I never had a completely flat stomach, and it always had a touch of cellulite.
For those reasons, it’s never really been a favorite part of my body, but my confidence in my belly definitely took a nosedive after the birth of my daughter.
|Top: ASOS Curve (Available here)|
In 2004, I had my first C-section with my son. My stomach was affected, but I was 26 and I bounced back relatively quickly. I now had a scar right above the bikini line, and I saw that as a badge of honor rather than something negative.
In 2008, I had an emergency C-section with my daughter. The cut wasn’t quite as neat as the first go-round and added to the existing scar. While the scar itself continued to be viewed positively (or at least neutrally) by me, it did affect how skin and fat developed around it.
|Jacket: Torrid (Available here)|
|Clutch: The Limited|
|Bracelet: The Limited|
I wasn’t exercising, and the effects of abdominal surgery became more problematic. After losing a lot of weight post-baby, I quickly gained the weight back until I was back up to my highest pregnancy weight. I never lost this weight, and it seems the majority of it settled in my abdomen.
My belly became shameful and hideous to me. My side profile showing my belly bulge was hidden at all costs through looser and longer tops, and even to this day, I still prefer to disguise it through strategic dressing.
A couple of years ago, my body confidence started to grow. Some of this confidence was built through deliberate efforts to love myself more. Some of it came from the love and affection and total acceptance of my body from my S.O. A lot of it came from blogging. Seeing photos of myself on the regular sort of desensitized me to my flaws, real or perceived.
Back in June 2013, I posted a swimsuit photo.
|Adventures in Traveling: Cape Cod|
I wore a one-piece, and it was one photo in a series of other more-clothed pictures, but posting that swimsuit photo was a big deal to me. I was nervous about showing my thigh cellulite but more anxiety-inducing than that was that my belly bulge showed.
In July of that same year, I posted my first crop top photo.
|The Dark Side of the Sun|
I had been super nervous about posting this photo. Then, my fiance had a major motorcycle accident that nearly took his life. Being scared to wear a crop top in front of other people now seemed much more trivial, so I went for it.
Since then, I’ve posted the occasional crop top look, but in general, I’ve preferred not to show my belly. I’m still not 100% comfortable with it, and I don’t feel the need to always show off my belly just because it may be the trend to do so.
At the same time, I am learning to embrace the soft belly more. I purchased my first two piece swimsuit since childhood recently, and I plan to rock it both on the blog and out in public as soon as possible.
I’ve had a recent weight gain which made my stomach a bit bigger. I’m not happy about the changes (for various reasons), and I plan to lose a little weight this summer. That said, I’m learning to separate the love I have for myself and my body from the desire to change my body in some way. I am learning to not base my self-worth on the size of my stomach. I am better than that. No matter my weight ups and downs, I’m learning more and more to see my body and myself as beautiful and as worthy of love.
Besides, there are lots of reasons to love my belly just the way it is! And when I forget to love my belly, when I think I’m alone in this struggle for self-acceptance, I will re-read this piece.
Do you have a good relationship with your belly?
Don’t forget to check out this month’s
segments by the other amazing bloggers participating in the
Unconditional Body Beautiful series:
Zadry Ferrer-Geddes, Curves a la Mode
Katherine Hayward, My Life With Cerebral Palsy
Beca: Under Construction!