As a woman it’s no secret that weight has always played a pivotal role in my self-image. It was never just my weight, though. I’ve also struggled with bad acne for over 20 years, very thin & fine hair and rippling cellulite (even at 105 lbs). After my pregnancies, when the stretch marks came along, it simply added insult to my already depleted self-imagery. My youngest is 6 years old and I am still coming to terms with my post pregnancy body. I had no idea it would be this hard. As I’ve grown more secure as a woman I have found self love for who I am on the inside, and I do have days where I am content with who I am on the outside a well. But it is a constant and never ending battle to force myself into believing that I really am pretty when all I see is a marred body. There’s also the raging jealousy. I see women, online and in real life, with babies/kids who have these wonderful post baby bodies and I scream inside, “WHY NOT ME?!” I feel grossly cheated. With all the other body issues I have -issues that have caused me sizable self loathing- it seems cruel that I wasn’t given at least one reprieve. Of course, I feel like a terrible person for even thinking how unfortunate I am because I know there are people with real body problems that extend beyond the scope of vanity. Knowing that, however, does little to soothe the soul when every glance in the mirror is a reminder of the pain inside. I don’t want to look good for a mother. I want to look good as a woman, period. But I am a mother. And I do have a mother’s body. I have stretch marks extending down from my boobs to my thighs. I have excess skin draped across my abdomen which I tuck discreetly into my jeans. I have boobs that sag half way down my torso and then fall into my armpits when I lay flat on my back. I have cellulite that extends further down my legs with each passing year despite the cardio, squats and leg lifts. My hair is growing thinner with each year and despite using every product under the sun for acne (both OTC and prescribed) I still break out every single day. My only comfort is in knowing that I clean up nice. With the right bra, the right clothes, the right concealer and the right hair products, I can pull off being attractive. I literally feel a sense of being high on the days when I can pull myself together nicely, but it’s always overshadowed by the thought that underneath it all I’m still a mess. When I take a running tab of my body flaws I wonder how it is ever going to be possible to love myself completely when there is so much that causes me sadness. True beauty first radiates from the inside, yes, but outer beauty sure does help! So, every day I’ve been trying a little harder to love myself more than the day before. Some days are better than others. Some days I feel alive and sexy and wonderful and other days I’m vulnerable to self-deprecation. In the end, this is me. This is the only me I am ever going to have and if that means really trying to embrace the very things I hate the most, then so be it. I can no longer continue to be disgruntled all the time. It’s exhausting and detracts from the good person I know I am inside. Yes, I’ve embarked on a journey of self-acceptance and unwavering love. And I hope to one day be able to accept the compliments tossed my way with staunch gratefulness. More than that, I want to believe them to be true! If, however, before then, I find myself in the company of several thousand extra dollars you can bet your sweet ass that I will be exercising my right to dial-a-surgeon.