A Breakdown to a Breakthrough

Jillian Pedersen

This weekend my husband and I had one of those epic fights. If you’re married now or have ever been married, you know what I’m talking about. It seems to happen about once a year. A knock-down drag out fight that really defines the relationship. It’s painful to go through but we always come out on the other side more healthy. We need these fights to reach that next level of intimacy. And after we bandage each others wounds, we draw closer and look towards the brighter future ahead.

Well, that’s how we ended up spending our Saturday. There’s something I’ve been carrying in the back of my mind for almost three years now. A never-ending tape that plays in one of the deepest recesses of my thoughts. I know I’ve said it before but I figure I’ll go over it quickly again. My pregnancy really changed my body. Shocker, I know. Most women find a way to bounce back but through the P90X, juice cleanses and fad diets, mine didn’t. Those 40 or so pounds I gained with a baby growing inside of me didn’t go away when the baby left. I’ve managed to carry it with me ever since, despite myself. That first year, I gave myself a break thinking it was just hard because I was figuring out motherhood. Now, I have no more excuses so I’ve been working on accepting this new me.

While I’ve been able to find scraps of confidence in this body and fill my wardrobe with new clothes I love, there was one thing I just couldn’t shake– the shame I felt towards my husband. You see, he didn’t marry a woman who was overweight. He married a curvy woman who wasn’t necessarily skinny but definitely looked good on his arm. Through our 7 years, I’ve gained that happy marriage weight they’ve talked about but it didn’t get bad until baby. That was the tipping point. That’s when I actually started to snuggly fit in that plus size box. When my body changed as a new mother, it wouldn’t just affect me, it would affect my husband too. While he never complained, I was always scared he was hiding his disappointment from me to not hurt my feelings. Perhaps he wished I’d lose the weight. What if he didn’t find me attractive anymore?

Well, all of those thoughts came pouring out this weekend after years of holding it in. Losing my composure, I told him I was sorry that I couldn’t lose the weight. Sorry if he wasn’t happy with my body. Sorry I wasn’t the woman he had previously married. His answer shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. He grabbed me, looked me straight into the eyes and told me he loved me, that I was absolutely gorgeous to him, that he loved my body. I won’t lie, I’ve always found this hard to believe since I struggle so much loving it myself but he made sure I knew it was true. All the fighting stopped then and we embraced. The floodgates opened and the tears began rushing out. I felt a rush of relief hit me– I could finally let this go. I could move on with healing.

You see, sometimes we are much harder on ourselves than we deserve. The way we perceive reality may be distorted, due to our own opinions. There may be something keeping you from moving towards that next step of indulging in self love. What is it? How can you fix it?

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