With summer having wrapped up, I find myself thinking back to Coop’s first time in a swimming pool, which also meant that it was my first time to wear a bathing suit since he was born.

Granted, it was only in front of my mom, my husband (who has been nothing but complimentary of me since I shot a human out of my vagina), and my step kids who were 9 and 13. But, it felt like I was on display at the beach in Southern California.

If you have never ventured to SoCal let me paint you a mini-vignette of amply enhanced, tiny waisted ladies strolling along the sand in suits that leave little to the imagination. The only reason my suit fit like a glove was because I was too cheap to buy something that fit my temporarily ginormous breasts.

Aside: although breast enhancement might be a perk of the baby making and feeding process, you don’t get to keep the D’s – unless you plan to breastfeed indefinitely.

But, back to the subject at hand. Me+Bathing Suit+History of body image issues = mild to moderate panic.

Options:
1. Make up an excuse as to why I couldn’t get in, such as – I forgot my suit, it’s too cold for Coop, the chlorine is dangerous.
2. Take a deep breath, be kind to myself, and try my damndest to embrace the body I’ve got.

I opted for choice #2. I tell other women to do this almost every day, and I really mean it – they’re not just words. So, why was it so hard for me to give myself the exact same compassion? If I had that answer I would buy a billboard, or maybe even airtime during the Super Bowl, to share it with every women in the world.

All I can say for certain is that it gets easier every time you step into the spotlight and let yourself be seen despite incredible discomfort. Whether it’s rocking a bikini, wearing a full suit of spandex for your first yoga class post baby, or some other dragon you plan to slay, you have to practice wielding the sword so to speak.

And, here’s a secret that may make it a little easier: You are your harshest critic. For every admonition you throw at yourself there are at least a dozen others out there thinking how awesomely brave you are!

Featured Photo Courtesy: Self