Deep Thoughts*,  Letters*

To the woman in this photograph,

I know that your body doesn’t look quite the same as you remember.

It’s curvier. Heavier. Softer.

It sags in some places and groans in others.

Your clothes don’t all fit. I know that’s the third shirt you tried on today… and you only “settled” on it because you felt like there was nothing else.

I know that your first instinct is to hide away. You don’t want to be seen like this because it doesn’t feel like you. You judge yourself and bear the weight of perceived expectations.

You compare your progress to others, and feel disappointment and shame when your journey is different.

But… you are different.

When you look at this photo, the first thing you will see is the size and shape of your body, and I know the expression that will play on your face. The shame that will creep around the edges of your mind. The judgement you will begin to reign down upon yourself.

…but let me tell you another story.

One about a body and a difficult pregnancy. A body that carried you through that pregnancy in the middle of a global pandemic while also homeschooling your children, working full time and moving.

A body that suffered a traumatic miscarriage and hemorrhage just 18 months before.

A body that has proven it’s worth, regardless of its shape and size.

A body that your children love to curl into. To be hugged by.

A body that your children love. Full stop.

A body that you can love. Full stop.

It might not look the same as you remember… because YOU are not the same as you remember.

You are a little older now.
A little stronger.
A little wiser.

…and deep down you know that your worth is not determined by the size of your body. It does not define who you are.

When I look past the body in this photograph, I see the smile on your face as you enjoy an evening walk with your family.

I see joy.

Really, I think that’s all that anybody sees.

So I’m proud of you for not hiding away. For showing up. For being present in photographs even when it feels hard.

Be proud of this body and all that it has accomplished. You are a warrior, and don’t let anyone ever make you feel differently.

Your body is beautiful, just as it is.


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