Yesterday I got out of the pool and walked across the concrete. I sat down on one of those reclining lounge chairs and folded my legs – criss cross applesauce. I never used to sit that way in public in a swimsuit. I didn’t like the way it made my thighs look. I leaned forward over my copy of Essence magazine and let the sun fall on my sunblocked shoulders. I never used to lean forward in public in a swimsuit. I didn’t like the way it made my stomach look.
But last week, Emily Wierenga sent me an advance copy of Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy. Emily wrote this book, along with Dr. Dena Cabrera. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just had a baby, you’ve never had a baby, you haven’t had a baby in decades, or the thought of having a baby makes you want to run for the hills. Every woman needs to read this book, and maybe a few men, too. This book is untangling all those silly knots in my head that made me think my body isn’t good enough. Mom in the Mirror will be released next spring. (Emily’s other book, Chasing Silhouettes is available now for pre-order!)
If (and I’m describing myself here) you look at your body and shake your head, or deliver unkind words to your reflection when you glimpse it in a department store window, or if you know exactly how much weight you’ve gained or lost since yesterday – and you know that number every day, or if you categorize food as only “good” or “bad”, or if you look at other people and judge them based on their body type, or if you run for miles because you refuse to buy a double-digit dress size, or if you never sit cross-legged or lean forward in a swimsuit, you NEED to read this book. I wish I had the right words, but that’s the best I can do.
Yesterday, I was reading my Essence magazine on a lounge chair next to the pool. I was leaning forward and my legs were crossed. That’s when H said, “I’m getting back in the pool.”
I looked over at him and squinted my eyes against the sun. “I’m going to go in the way you did,” he said. “I’m going to glide across the concrete and walk strong and proud, and then I’m going to walk down the steps into the pool. Just like you. Strong,” he said.
See? This book is making me think straight again.