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.

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

  1. Your post made me cry. I know my son loves me, so he would not say it straight out, but he is ashamed of his fat weird mother (i have fibromyalgia and memory loss). Love your openness and perspective on life. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am 38 with three children and Fibromyalgia (memory loss is normal isn’t it? I mean did I give the kids names?). Mine do get embarrased by me but only in the ways they would anyway – parents are supposed to be embarrasing. They are not ashamed – they know everyone comes in all shapes and sizes.

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  2. Beauty is truly skin deep. Your children proved that beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder and not society as a whole. They see what everyone else sees in you…….a dedicated, loving, caring, beautiful mom who is truly beautiful on the inside and outside. Treasure the facts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I dont leave comments much, however today I had to send you a note. When I saw the picture and caption of you on the beach I had to read. then when I read it I had to go to the link. What you wrote was so true, there were so many tears flowing that my coworker had to ask me what was wrong. We all just need to take time to appreciate ourselves where we are at and cut ourselves a break. Sounds like you have done a great job raising great kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your words in your blog paint such an enjoyable picture of the beauty and joy in your life and with your family. Your photo on the sand is just the perfect icing on the cake showcasing just how beautiful you are!! Thanks to your kids for reminding you…. because it is obvious to me too!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. With so many wonderful & encouraging comments on this blog you may never see this but maybe that means I’m just writing it for myself. 🙂 This is the first summer I wore a “dress” bating suit too. I have been very down on myself because of my wright, as this is also the heaviest I’ve EVER been! When I put the bathing suit on for the first time my husband looked at me and said, “wow you look hot!” I immediately got irritated because I didn’t feel even a little bit hot. Then my daughter came in the room and said, “mama you look so pretty!” Long story short & all insecure emotions aside I did wear my “dress” bathing for the time at a public beach with no cover up, wrap or giant t-shirt over it. I can’t say I still didn’t want to walk around feeding all the thin bikini wearing girls donuts hoping they would instantly gain 30 pounds. But I can say that I have been trying to better embrace who I am right now. I’m 32, been married for 10yrs, I have a beautiful 5yr old little girl who has the brightest personality and an 8yr old miracle baby boy who despite his many physical & mental challenges he has the biggest heart an 8yr old can have! I may not be a size 4 or even an 8 and I may not have as many material things as the next person but I blessed beyond what I could have ever asked for! Your post has just reminded me that I can’t let some extra rolls & dimples, in places most people most people don’t have dimples, blind me from seeing the bigger picture of what God has given me! I am blessed! THANK YOU for reminding me!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isabell, Bridgett may not see your post, but I did. My wife and I have been married 34 years. We’re both wearing much larger clothes than we did way back when…lol. So what! When beauty radiates from the inside, it has a way of compensating for whatever physical challenges we have, be it weight, wrinkles, or imperfect features. I’ve never seen your photo Isabell, but I KNOW you are a beauty!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi ! I love it! I am almost the dreaded 5-0 and have also struggled with my weight my whole life. I can remember my first starvation diet in 5th grade! Ugh, what a waste to have so many insecurities so early in life. I have an incredible husband who loves me, and is IN love with me, not matter the number of jiggly bits, so why is it so hard to be comfortable in my own skin?!

    I have actually been working with a fantastic therapist, and am learning how to reverse so many negative thoughts about myself that I have absorbed, or self-imposed over the years.
    The other thing I cling to, as my husband reminds me, is that even though the US charts label me as obese, I AM healthy! Other than border-line genetic cholesterol issue, i have no threat of diabetes, my heart and lungs are good, tryglicerides are low…all the right stuff that results from watching what I eat, and being as active as possible.

    The eyeopener for me, was thinking that if I kept hiding from being included in pictures, there wouldn’t be any pictures to show my grandkids of their silly, active grammy.

    So keep it up! Smile and the flaws disappear into the background!

    (watch for new exercise programs designed for those who are sick of the extreme, intense, and hardcore – coming soon at a YGT near you!)

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  7. Beauty is a statement a person make each day to themselves the people they love and who love them back. Its clear your kids know this well when they saw the picture. As a guy at almost 50 I can assure you that many men see a mom doing all she can for kids and loved ones and cant help but be grateful we know them. Its only after we see these wonderful gifted ladies in action we can start to see the beauty. My best friend is a mom and over coffee and both kids had been ill for a week she was spent. She apologized for her appearance which was not necessary. Both kids woke from a nap and smiled and were over the flu. That smile my friend had was beyond beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you! Thank you! I am the same, adventurous mom who takes my kids to see what ever we can. But have no photos of me with them. I too Hate how I look. I love how you shared this. I am going to post it to Facebook to show the world, with a “ditto”. And I vow,I will work on my body image and stand in front of the camera and be proud of who I am. Which is awesome, not ashamed of my body.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Please don’t let the years fly by without having pictures of you and your kids! I bet you’re as beautiful as your kids see you and I’d hate to see you regret your decision down the line! You can always change the way you look but you can’t get those memories back with your children that you’ve skipped out on. 😉 Tomorrow, you should do a selfie with them!

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  9. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! It is a beautiful thing to see yourself through the eyes of others. What a wonderful gift they have shared with you.

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  10. Thank you so much for your essay about the picture your children took of you. I have struggled to get to the point of liking my body and not caring what others think. I’m not totally there yet but getting closer. I found your essay at the perfect time. It’s the perfect motivator. Thank you thank you.

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  11. Thanks Bridgett. Yes you are beautiful but on the inside as well. Your children are jewels…so they are qualified to judge you as they have. You are a lucky woman! : )

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  12. Thank you for sharing your lovely story..my husband saved it for me. I’m 64, always been a bit chubby, but at 57 I found myself a mom again( newborn grandson) and started really getting heavy..I have been so depressed and ashamed ,but can’t seem to lose weight no matter what. Your story has made me realize that as long as I can still play with our little guy, it doesn’t matter if I’m plus sized!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for writing this! It brought me to tears but opened my eyes. My children love me for who I am, so it’s about time I do to.

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  14. My girls love to play with the jiggle of my arms. At first, I told them to stop, ashamed that I didn’t have toned/tight arms, despite the fact I am kinda crazy strong. But then I remembered, we women store fat in our arms as a reserve when we are nursing so that we can keep on feeding those babies during rough times. And I tell them this with pride. My flappy arms are souvenirs from my years of nursing, of nurturing, of bonding. So go ahead and play with the jiggle and touch the reality of how very well you have been, and will forever be, loved.

    Many thanks Bridgett.

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  15. I think your story AND your pictures are absolutely beautiful! Our kids don’t pay attention to the things that we nitpick about ourselves. Their love is strong and pure and they adore us with all of their hearts. I’m glad I came across your blog, I enjoy reading your wonderful stories! 🙂

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  16. I love it. My wife has about the same build as you and feels a lot of the time like she is just fat and gross. we have 6 kids and have been married 14 years. she was 115 lbs when we married and I can honestly say she is more beautiful and even sexier to me know at 200 lbs+. I wish I had a magic mirror that would let her see herself the way I see her. To me, whatever she looks like at the time, is the “perfect” look. She really does turn me on more than any other woman ever could and I think after telling her this 1,000 times she believes me. It sucks so many woman in this country feel that they are ugly and gross. Im glad your kids could give you that boost to your confidence. My wife used to want to turn off the lights and hide in the covers when we were intimate. I think a lot of woman are like this. Now she struts around the room in broad daylight without any insecurity. I think that is what I am most proud of in our marriage. The fact that I was able to help her find her self esteem and make her feel loved and valued and beautiful.

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  17. I LOVE YOUR STORY I ALSO AM FAT AND OLD BAD KNEE ,BAD BACK.COPD,BUT MY TWO BOYS LOVE ME I ASKED MY SON YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS WORKING I WANTED TO GET THAT SURGERY DONE TO LOSE WEIGHT MY SON TOLD ME NO WAY I WOULD RATHER HAVE A FAT MOM THEN NO MOM AT ALL .IF YOU FEAL GOOD THAT ALL THAT MATTERS,BIG IS BETTER.

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  18. With tears in my eyes, I just want to say thank you and God bless you and your wonderful children. I will go to the beach and pool when we go on vacation. I will wear my bathing suit, all 230 plus pounds of me and I will have a great time. I will be thankful that I can move and breathe enjoy what life has to offer and no longer feel I have to hide because I’m not ‘perfect’. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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  19. You know, my Mom was the fattest woman in our community, although I had no realization of it. Even the mean kids didn’t tell me. Mom was the Postmaster, Secretary to the school board and Secretary for our church council. Most summer Sundays, we went to the beach too and your beautiful photograph brings sweet memories: you are much-much smaller yet the black swim dress reminded me of the sun, sand, sandwiches, Coppertone and her arms when she held us. I’m a Grandma now and would give anything to put my head on her shoulder and be hugged for awhile. She really wasn’t fat at all…she was my Mom.

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  20. Wow! What a lovely coincidence… to find this now, just exactly when I needed to read THIS! I thank you for the help with my much needed attitude adjustment. Your enlightened perspective is priceless & I appreciate you sharing it more than I can say. This is awesome… & YOU are awesome. 🙂

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  21. This is a really beautiful post. I tend to come down on myself a lot as well. My kids take pictures of me and I delete them, we have not taken a family pic since my youngest one was six months old. Your kids are right you are beautiful and it’s sad the way heavier women are made to feel about their self. Today I will try to be more computable in my own skin. THANK YOU.

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  22. Thank you for pointing out a chance to take another look at ourselves and see the good things, the best things, the things that should have more importance in our lives- the memories you were making with your kids that day that they will remember later in their lives.

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  23. This was so timely for me. Just yesterday I had a very similar experience. I saw a close up photo of my face and I only saw the lines, the tiredness, the ugly skin, the extra weight. I wanted to cry. How have I let this happen? About 10 minutes later my 3 year old needed a cuddle. He sat with me and suddenly turned to me and stared into my eyes. He started stroking my face very lovingly, looking it over, then said: “Mum, you look like a princess.” A great dose of perspective and love and a challenge to be kinder to myself. Sending love to you Momma, you are doing a great job and you are beautiful.

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  24. That was so beautiful it makes me feel joy! Love is all there is. Everything else we strive for is a work in progress. Your kids are wonderful! And they are right, you are beautiful!

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  25. Bridgette, thank you for your beautiful, heart-felt post. We should all be as honest as children. Us women are so hard on ourselves. We need to focus on what we have and what we can do and not on our perceived imperfections. I am going to share this with every woman I know!

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  26. Dear Bridget, thank you for sharing this with us other people all over the world. I am 66 and this last 8 month I lost over 26 kilograms. I hope that it is the last time I needed this weightloss so desperately. I walked with a stick, had a sore back and my legs could not do what they used to. Also I had a pain near my breast a.s.o.. I have had weightloss before, but always ended up eating and drinking to much again for years in a row. I felt depressed, until one tuesday in november last year, when I told myself that I had to take better care of myself and make sure that I would see my kids get older…Now I can easely walk our two cockerspaniëls in the mountains again, visit city’s without pain and problems,run up and down the stairs like when I was a young woman and feel very content with myself. It has nothing to do with the way I look, although that is nice too, but the healthy feeling makes me so happy everyday. My kids never
    said that I looked bad, they love me just the way I am and was, but I want them to do that for many more years. If ever you want to take care of yourself the same way and you need support, I would be happy to be there for you. I am just an ordinary housewife in Europe, don’t have anything to do with making money this way or what so ever. I only care about people in the same situation I was. I wished I had a friend somewhere 30 years ago that I could talk to to help me stay slim, but I did not and felt ashamed deep inside. I wish you all the good in the world, stay strong! Love, Anneke.

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  27. Thank you for this article!
    I too, no longer have the perfect body after kids (actually because of medication).
    Those two photos of you are lovely! Sure, you might not have airbrushed thighs, but you look so content. The last one I didn’t even realise was one they’d took – I thought it was an add for a travel company until I read your caption under it.

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  28. I just wanted to say you don’t look fat in the picture, you look relaxed and you have the most amazing calves too, I also loved the post but I was mostly looking at the picture. Cheers!

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  29. To Bridgette;

    Thank you so much for this beautiful article. You inspire me. It helped me so much. I had some botched plastic surgery procedures (all which were unnecessary, but I had such low self-esteem at the time and didn’t know any better.) These procedures left me disfigured and looking older than I am. A botox procedure left me with a droop in my left eye. Liposuction which looks horrible (I wasn’t even overweight). And filler injections under my eyes for my supposed dark circles which permanently stretched the skin under my eyes. Pretty bad, but I cannot change what I let those greedy doctors did to me. Then I was with someone who would tell me that I looked old and wrinkled. So when I read your article I did not feel beautiful at all. But it helped me to realize that I am still beautiful. Mu heart is also beautiful, and God sees me as beautiful. So finally I actually do feel attractive and happy with myself. And you are gorgeous by the way. Thank you so much for telling your story. I am sure you have helped many other woman. God bless.

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    • I also want to say Bridgette that you are not overweight at all. You have gorgeous curves. I do not believe that only stick thin women are beautiful. I think that women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful. The idea that beauty be defined so narrowly as it currently is in our culture is absurd, but many advertisers try to convince us that we must all be super thin to be beautiful. It just isn’t true. I grieve all the years that I hated myself because I wasn’t a size two. I was beautiful and didn’t know it because I was so influenced by advertising on t.v and magazines. Thank God I finally woke up and see reality now, but many don’t. And I just encourage women out there to look in the mirror and see yourself as the beautiful and radiant woman you are, inside and out.

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