A year ago Everlane sent me these jeans and they fit really differently, more loosely. Right at that time I posted a 9 months in and 9 months out photo of me and Roey, we snapped a quick picture, I posted it and walked out the door.
I’ve never had so many negative responses to anything I’ve posted. I hadn’t looked at how I looked in the photos, for me it was a story of making it 9 months and living through some intense soul destroying colic. It was a victory. In those 9 months I’d gained a lot of weight (post partum, yes, I gained a lot of weight both times after birth while exclusively breastfeeding) and then lost it too.
With Roey, I had a 9 month old baby who didn’t eat solid food while I exclusively breastfed and ran around after a toddler. And her digestive system didn’t let me eat a lot of things without flaring up her colic so I had a limited diet, I downed all the calorie rich things (jar of sunbather in two days anyone?!) but lost weight.
Until I looked at the photo I didn’t know how much weight I’d lost. I didn’t look unhealthily thin, but for me I was below my natural weight.
When I posted the picture, people were really unhappy that I was ‘showing off’ my 9 months post partum body. Problem was, I wasn’t showing off and I wasn’t healthy. My hair was pouring out and I lost too much weight by mistake. Now, I don’t usually lose weight by mistake, I’m not one of those people, so I didn’t notice. The other problem was, along with unhappy people I also had scores of people tell me I looked ‘amazing’, that I’d ‘bounced back’, asking how I did it, celebrating me, saying ‘wow you look so good’.
I posted the picture and put my phone away thinking nothing of it. When I picked up my phone I was so confused I cried. I’m not sure I’ve every cried in response to anything on instagram but that day got me! I hadn’t been showing anything off other than our joy, and now people were both mad and celebrating me. And yes, I truly truly get it, 9 months into a new baby should NOT be about ‘getting back’ your body. But my whole inbox had made it that way whether for or against what my body looked like.
Now a year on, I’m 10lb+ heavier ( haven’t weighed myself since prenatal checkups but I’m guessing) and I put the Everlane jeans on and they barely zipped up. I’m healthy, happy, treating my body with love and good food, being active, and living the life I want but I’m up 10lbs I’m not trying to lose. I’ll be honest it’s really hard to not feel like I should get back to where I was celebrated. Not for the sake of being celebrated but cos it’s really hard to subconsciously undo what we start to believe when people celebrate something. Even the people telling me I shouldn’t post it, were inadvertently telling me I looked great in the way they told me I ‘shouldn’t post about my body’.
As I zipped up the jeans this morning, it was hard for me to not feel like I’m not the best version of me. It was hard to undo the celebration of how my body was when I first put the jeans on. But this is the perfect body for me and jeans and other people’s words won’t define that.
Jeans: “It’s not me, its you.”
I have the body that comes with exactly the lifestyle I want to lead, so this IS my PERFECT body right now. My hair isn’t pouring out, I eat cake when I want it, and then more when my kids want to share, I work out in a way I love, I eat chocolate every day. Some weeks I live on bread, some weeks I eat all the kale salads.
I don’t blame the people who told me I looked good, society here has trained us that pretty much always: thinner equals ‘better’, less weight equals ‘wow you look good’. We don’t always think someone looks genuinely more radiant because they’ve lost weight but because I think we’ve been trained that if someone lost 10lbs they must be happy about it and it should be celebrated.
I don’t actually have a conclusion to this, I just wanted to put my little story out there because of how I felt when I put my jeans on and how hard it was to override the celebration of a year ago, and how I wasn’t even thinking about my body at 9 months, any how people treated me assuming that if I posted a picture being thinner I must be bragging… rather than in a season of life that was really hard. Maybe if I have a point, it’s just to myself and anyone else that we need to slowly undo the deep subconscious thinking that thinner is always better. Getting healthier is always better, and for some people that’s losing weight but it’s not always equal. Anyway, that’s my story and my lesson to myself in how I speak to other people. Feel free to comment, this is a conversation and not a rant in any way – I’d love to hear your thoughts too. x
If you want to read more of my journey on this subject you might like:
Beer, a melt down, and the perfect post baby body
Our colic journey
On fitting back in to my jeans and talking about it: “I’m sorry I posted that on Instagram”
My weekly workout routine
How I treated my diastasis Recti post partum (twice)