Social media is a tricky space, which I am sure no one would dispute. I follow a lot of moms, many of them “influencers” (a term that is so odd in its own right) and there is so much talk about self-love, self-care and self-acceptance out there right now. On a daily basis, I see before and after photos of radical physical transformations and meals that look like they would satisfy absolutely no one. Also, on a daily basis I see women celebrating their stretch marks, their soft tummies and other markers of childbearing. Both of these things can be called “body positive” but it can get so confusing and frustrating and it has made me really think about what self-care and body positivity mean to me personally.
First of all, I will never post a before and after photo. Even if I became a supermodel over night or had an Amy Shumer ” I Feel Pretty” moment. I understand and totally appreciate being proud of your health accomplishments and all, but posting before and after photos online strikes me as problematic; they inevitably set you up for praise on losing weight, even if that wasn’t the goal in posting the photos in the first place. It also opens you up to trolls who will pick apart your body piece by piece – how is that good for your soul? Having people praise or criticise you for weight loss and your body isn’t healthy and can lead to eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
I will also never show photos of my belly fold for the same reason and also because it is NOT something that I am “proud” of. It just is. It’s a sign of two c-sections and it is part of who I am. Do I love it? Hell no. Do I accept it? Grudgingly. It doesn’t define me mentally or physically.
Additionally, for me self-care and self-love are only partly to do with my body. Yes, I want to be strong and healthy. Yes, I try to walk 5-10KM everyday which has helped me gain stronger legs and a back that no longer hurts. But outward physical transformation cannot be the ONLY version of self -care there is.
Self-Care for me includes:
- Hugs with my kids
- Walking fast and feeling the sun on my face.
- One or two coffees a day
- Spending time with my friends and laughing constantly
- Seeing my shrink and working on my mental health
- Enjoying a really nice bottle of red wine with my husband
- Allowing myself to rest. Allowing myself time off the “hustle”
- Sheet masks
- My skin care routine
- writing this blog
- reading a good book in bed
- Not letting my body be the defining characteristic of me.
I want to enjoy my life, enjoy my family, be strong and healthy and not have to worry about people judging my body online.
I am not reinventing the wheel here, just reminding myself and you that you can love yourself and take care of yourself in many many ways.