Don’t hide who you are, you have every right to be included in the memories you are making with your family, regardless of your size.
A few months ago I sent a text to our photographer, like I do every fall, asking her what her availability was for our family pictures. I love pictures. I’m totally “that Mom”. The amount of iCloud storage that is taken up on my phone because of my obsession with snapping pictures is embarrassing. But, for me, pictures are our story.
Pictures are the memories my mind can’t remember on it’s own as the years pass by.
When I decided to start sharing my journey on Instagram one of the main reasons was because I didn’t want to forget a single part of this journey when I reached goal. I wanted to remember what it felt like with each victory, with each setback, with each celebration. I wanted to remember how I felt.
I share a lot about my journey in overcoming binge eating and how I’ve found my way to the healthiest life I’ve ever lived. I’m real and raw and honest… this journey is not easy and every day I make a choice to continue down this path.
Pictures are proof that I’m doing that.
Pictures are my proof that I’m not giving up on myself.
And I’m not talking about the before and after pictures, I’m talking about the pictures that are taken on the days where giving up would be easier.
On days that I didn’t feel confident.
On days when I started this journey and was working SO hard, and no one could see the work yet… not even me.
A few years ago, that phone call to my photographer would have induced a little panic. I was notorious for scheduling them as late as possible every fall, using the excuse that I wanted the trees to be all turned, but in reality, another factor was that gave me more time to drop a few pounds.
A few pounds I rarely actually ended up losing.
I know I can say that here because I know I’m not alone in that mindset. I know a lot of Mom’s go to extreme measures to do what they have to do to look “perfect” in that family picture.
Here is what I have realized though as I look back on some of our pictures, when I wasn’t at a healthy weight… even worse, I wasn’t in a healthy frame of mind.
My family didn’t care what I looked like in the pictures. What mattered is that I was in them.
What mattered is that the photographer caught a special glimpse between my husband and I, or my boys, or a fun moment as a family.
My favorite picture of all time of my oldest son and I is one that I was over 200 pounds on my 5’4″ frame and had just found out I was pregnant with his baby brother. Emotions were all over the place as I was beginning another pregnancy heavier than was recommended. But, the moment she captured, the REAL moment that wasn’t staged or posed whatsoever, will hold a special place in my heart for eternity. I look at this picture and I see my first born son, who absolutely adores me, and I him, speaking with no words.
At the time he was about to turn 3 and was usually running around and being crazy. He had stopped for a few moments and was snuggling his Daddy while reaching for me… and that moment was captured.
That moment would have never been captured if I would have let my insecurities about my body determine whether or not I was getting in the picture or not.
I am so thankful I have this photo today, and in all honesty, my size means nothing to me in this photo because it’s all about the memory that gets to live on in the image. The best part? It’s the side of his face his dimple is on and he’s smiling just enough to show it. Ah, that dimple.
Our children do not care what size we are.
If we make it a big deal to them, they’ll make it a big deal… and I’m really praying that you aren’t unkind to yourself in front of your children. Please don’t do that.
You are their world.
You are the keeper of secrets, the carpool queen, the worlds best cook and the best nurse ever… you are their MOM.
You are their safe place… you are HOME.
They want to see YOU.
All of you.
Even the parts that sag or jiggle or have scars.
When they look back on your photos, I promise you they won’t see those things, unless you point out all your flaws (once again, don’t do that!). They’ll see your smile that could brighten their day, the way your eyes light up when you look at them, and the memory of the way their family was at that moment in time.
Don’t take that precious memory away from them because you don’t like the way you look. You will regret it someday, Mama.
You are beautiful because you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Many years ago when I was in therapy for binge eating disorder I sent out a Christmas card without a picture of my husband and I, it was only of our two dogs because we didn’t have the boys yet. More people commented on why we weren’t in the picture that year than I could have anticipated, and the reason why was I’d gained 100 pounds and was horrified to send out a card. If I could go back, I wouldn’t have done that. I would have just sent out a card with the two of us on there and dealt with it, but I was so ashamed of who I was and what I’d become at that time, that I chose the “easy way out”.
It didn’t end up being any easier, I just felt more shame because then it was clear to my family and friends how ashamed I was of myself since we’d always sent out a photo card. I’ve made a point to be in every card since… even when I’ve gained all the weight back and knew that some people would open the card and say, “Well, Amy’s put on weight again.” I can’t worry about that anymore.
When people make those kind of comments what I’ve realized is it’s not about me, it’s about them. I don’t mean that to be unkind, but we all struggle with our own insecurities and many people who are insecure in their own skin comment on the weight of others.
When I came to this realization, it made it easier to accept that their comments weren’t always meant to be rude.
It’s that time of year when we start thinking about Christmas cards. If you’ve thought about not being in it because of your weight, please reconsider. I don’t want you to spend another day wishing for a different body, or the weight to come off faster, or “procrastinating” a photo and then you miss the opportunity to have one at all.
Love your body in this moment, at this point of your life.
Your body is the keeper of your secrets, your memories, your journey… don’t shame it for everything you think it’s not. No body is perfect and every body tells a story.
Your family, the ones in the photo, and the ones receiving it, want to see you. Don’t hide who you are, you have every right to be included in the memories you are making with your family, regardless of your size.
Be kind to yourself. Give yourself grace. Learn to love your own beautifully broken journey and don’t miss out on the captured memories.
*The photos in this post are taken by my two favorite Kansas City Photographers. I highly recommend them both as they have a way of capturing the beauty in the “mess” 🙂
Rebecca Peters- Rebecca Peters Photography
Allison French- Allison Corrin Photography