Exposed by my children for what I really look like

Flipping through the pictures on my phone, I see it.

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My first reaction is shock. Who took this hideous picture of me?

Self-loathing and disgust swell up and threaten to bring me to tears.

Just as I am about to hit delete, my boy walks in the room.

“Do you know anything about this picture?” I ask him.

I turn the screen so he can see it. He smiles huge.

“I took that of you in Tahoe,” he says. “You looked so beautiful laying there. I couldn’t help it mom.”

“You need to ask me before using my phone to take pictures,” I say.

“I know,” he says. “But mom, seriously, look how pretty you look?”

I look at the picture again and try to see what he sees.

My daughter walks over and takes a look.

“That could be a postcard mom,” she says smiling. “You’re so beautiful. I love it.”

I take a deep breath.

This is exactly what I needed.

My default mode is to see and focus on the flaws and imperfections. I’m starting to see a bit more.

I still see my dimply, fat thighs.

I also see a mom collapsed on the shore that just explored the lake for hours with her children.

I still see chubby arms.

I also see the arms of a mom that just helped her kids across the rocks and hot sand so their feet wouldn’t hurt.

I still see a fat woman wearing a black dress bathing suit to try to hide her weight issue.

I also see an adventurous mom that loves her children something fierce.

Like many women, I have struggled with my weight most of my life. It’s not something that will ever go away for me. I don’t have a naturally slim body. Never have.

Right now I’m the heaviest I’ve been in 10 years. Yet…

I have not let my weight stop me this time. I am wearing tank tops, sundresses and bathing suits in public. I’m running around playing with my kids this summer and I sometimes even feel attractive.

Yes. You heard me.

“I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. I feel pretty, and witty and bright.”

Well…not exactly. But something like that.

Is it because I’m getting older? Is it that I have more to worry about than just how I look? Or maybe it’s because my kids look at me with such adoring eyes.

Really, it doesn’t matter.

I don’t hate my body anymore.

That’s huge for me to admit and hard to even wrap my mind around.

I’m not giving up on exercising and getting healthy. Those are things I will continue to strive for because I want to be around awhile.

Right now though, I just want to love my body where it is. I want it to be OK to see myself the way my kids do.

Thank you kids.

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* Here is another “secret” picture the kids took of me on our day trip to the beach.

575 thoughts on “Exposed by my children for what I really look like

  1. Dear Bridget, in my opinion you are not ‘fat’ you are just chubby and that really shouldn’t be a bad thing. I know society teaches different but that’s not what matters, right? I by myself am a thin girl (and do have problems gaining weight, it’s not fun being on the other side as well 😉 ). As you can imagine I get complimented for my ‘nice’ body shape, but let me tell you I really dislike getting these kind of compliments as in my opinion I need to gain a few pounds to look healthy and sexy again (I had a few pounds more on when I was younger). Having your body being seen as ‘nice’ and ‘esthetic’ by society while in your own opinion it is not, can be really disturbing and confusing. I’m glad your kids helped you to be proud of your body, because you really deserve to be!
    Best wishes from Germany,
    Line

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  2. I am sorry… I know this may seem shallow, but let’s be realistic over here… Your children are… your children! They will always admire you and they will always say you are the most beautiful person in the world. This is how I used to perceive my mother as well. But the truth is something you cannot put a spell on. Yes, you look bad in this picture… Your body is far from attractive. And you may be beautiful for the ones you love as they love you too but are you really fine with how you look or are you just fooling yourself right now?
    I am saying this as a person pretty much like you. My body is similar. I don’t hate myself. I am working on it. However, this new trend to embrace everything and create a new theory of life just to make yourself feel better is simply stupid.
    Do you like pity-compliments from strangers who just want to make a good deed and cheer you up? I am an advocate of self-acceptance, of looking at something more than just your body and I truly and deeply think that a person can be beautiful just because of their character, personality or charm they have. BUT … if you are posting a picture, an image of your body, faceless…. Then let’s just be honest with ourselves.

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    • You have to embrace yourself where you are at the moment, that’s how you invite positive change into your life. It has nothing to do with denying reality, it’s about accepting reality and living life to the fullest. She’s faceless because it’s how her kids took the picture, not because she’s ashamed. You need to learn to be gentler with yourself – it makes a world of difference!

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    • Ofelia85: I agree with the first statement in your post: you are sorry and shallow. The woman in the photo IS beautiful. Can’t you see it? The prose she wrote to accompany the photo is beautiful, too. Can’t you see that?

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    • My body with all its blobs, wobbles and stretch marks is wonderful and it’s perfect because it’s mine. My youngest son frequently says I’m the most beautiful woman in the world and my husband agrees – I’ll take that compliment as they mean more to me than any other men in the world. Yes I’m overweight and yes I need to lose weight but for a woman of my age I don’t look too bad. I’m still beautiful.

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  3. That better out look on yourself will bring you were you want to be in every way not just physical but in all over areas love light n blessings xxx

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  4. Reblogged this on hedgecraft and commented:
    This post has been such an inspiration to me. My kids think I’m beautiful too, big belly and all! They don’t see the fat, tired Mama. They see the mum who loves them most and does everything with them, and hugs them all the time and stays in their corner, no matter what. Kids tend to be a lot more honest than adults. 🙂

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  5. You have now learnt what it took me 50 years to learn. It’s never what others see you as, just those that hold your heart think. They love you ❤️You love you xxxxx enjoy every moment of every day xxxx

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  6. You are as beautiful as you believe you are no matter the physical attributes. It’s what emanates from within you that makes you beautiful.

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  7. I came across your article several months ago and loved it. I always have it as an open tab on my phone; it is one of my “go to” pick-me-ups when I need one. Thank you for it. 😊

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    • Thank you SO much Susan! I’ve been feeling very down lately, and your comment has brightened my day tremendously. May you find many reasons to rock your bathing suit this summer.

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  9. I suspect that I’m a considerably older than the writer of this article. Her story and the countless others I’ve read before describe a struggle that is faced by so many women. But in all my years I’ve rarely, if ever, heard anyone talk about the other group that experiences these same struggles and doubts.
    I’m a mother and a grandmother. During my pregnancies I didn’t gain significant weight and within weeks, I was back in my regular size. I didn’t experience weight gain in my forties. .. didn’t have things shift too much when pre-menapause came along. .. in fact, at 5’91/2″ and 124lbs., I’m almost exactly the same size I was in college. So what is the struggle? I don’t like my picture taken. ..I look in the mirror and immediately list all the flaws. ..I open a magazine and wish I could know what it feels like to be beautiful like the women on those pages.
    It’s not just women who have a few extra pounds that struggle with their looks. .. it’s not just women who used to be smaller who have been affected by the hype and the stereotypes perpetuated by the media. If you are female and you are alive. .. you’ve likely been influenced by and made to feel less than because of the way you look.

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  10. I loved your article so much! The love just emanating from your kids’ comments was amazing and something to be truly treasured! It’s taken me 50some years to come to learn to love my body, with all its lumps and bumps and extra weight, but I have. I feel sorry for Ofelia having to “face reality”. Reality is really a personal thing in the end. I have come to appreciate all the wonderful things my body has done for me over all of these years. I don’t fool myself about what others may think, but it just doesn’t matter to me. Like you, I am trying to learn to eat better and exercise so I can be around longer, but in the meantime, I treasure this body that has given me three beautiful girls and a wonderful life and I thank my body every day for what it continues to do! Life is too short to waste time on self-hating! Thank you for this article and your awesome perspective on things!

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  13. Thank you so much for writing this, Bridgette! Your text inspired many people around the globe, I first encountered it in Russian – did you know it was translated this far? 🙂 I will read it again and again, trying to live in peace with my chubby belly (that carried 2 wonderful daughters in it, btw!) 🙂

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