Friday, April 20, 2012

Attitude 'n Earrings

The book narrowly missed his head.  Yes, this is what I was fantasizing....vividly, in fact.  Several months after my fifth child was born, he so kindly commented that if I ever wanted a tummy tuck, he would pay for it.  Please note that I, in no way, felt I needed one, nor had I ever hinted at wanting one.  In fact, I was proud that my body was still able and willing to bounce back after so many pregnancies.  I was feeling blessed and beautiful.....until the comment.  It was obvious that this is not what my husband had thought.  He thought he was being kind.  I thought otherwise, hence, my visions of hurling a book at him.  If the closest book hadn't been titled "Managing Your Emotions", I imagine I would be writing this post from a prison cell.   May I enlighten you wonderful husbands out there with a little tidbit?  Never suggest a body altering idea to your wife if she has not brought up the topic first. This will bode well for you.

Fast forward several years to the months after my seventh child's birth.  Our whole family was stuck in a hotel room due to repairs being done to our house because of water damage.  Why we had water damage to our house is post worthy indeed, but it will suffice to say that we had a particular child that thought it necessary to use a rain forest's worth of toilet paper in one sitting.  The toilet rebelled secretly with an hour long water ladened tantrum and now we were all holed up in a hotel room.  We watched a lot of TV.  One of the shows I happened to catch was "John and Kate Plus Eight" where Kate herself was getting a tummy tuck.  I was secretly and horribly intrigued but would instantly appear uninterested when my husband would enter the room.  There were before and after pictures of Kate, and before I even realized it, I was sold on the idea.  Kate looked amazing!  I would agree to stop having children if I could get a tummy that looked like Britney Spears....a tummy where my belly button would re-surface from the dead and come back to the right spot.

Now the tide had changed.

Several days later I approached my husband regarding my idea of getting a tummy tuck.  Although his initial approach on this topic did not end in an injury from a book, I had (in my special way) let him know that he was way out of line for mentioning it.  I am sure if you asked him today, he would have preferred the book being thrown at him.  My mentioning the word "tummy tuck" made him flinch out of self protection.  You could tell, as he furtively looked from side to side, that he didn't know if this topic was truly safe to talk about or if I was playing a dirty trick on him.  Poor guy.  After some discussion, I learned that his offer was still on the table.

Now I had some thinking to do.

I stood in front of the mirror naked.  It is definitely not the body I started out with by a long pun intended.  I dreamed.  I studied.  I wept as I ran my fingers over every fold, sag and stretch mark. My body's imperfections tell an amazing story and I was considering erasing the proof that it ever happened.

 Memories flooded back to every pregnancy I'd had, every child my body nourished, every race I had won and all the abuse I had doled out against my body in my younger years out of stupidity and through addictions.  And, yet, my body remained faithful to me throughout all of it.  And here I was, contemplating taking a knife to it. What was I doing?  It hit me hard.  This body of mine.  This gift from God.  What has it ever done to harm me?  Why did I feel the need to slash away at it?  My body bore and sustained every child I could hear outside playing and laughing.  Why was I now forsaking what has been so faithful to me just so I could subdue society's desire of what I should look like?  Why was I buying into this bill of goods?  By choosing to cut away and change my appearance, I was treating my body as the enemy and showing shame.  Oh how wrong I was to believe these lies.

What would it say to my daughters and sons to know that I had gone under the knife for cosmetic reasons?  Would it teach my daughters that their bodies were not fearfully and wonderfully made?  Would it teach my sons to encourage their wives to surgically alter themselves if they didn't look "just right"?  Would it teach either gender not to be content with what God has gifted them?  Would my actions perpetuate the lie I had fallen victim to?

If you can not tell by now, I chose not to have the tummy tuck and ended up bearing three more children.  Sorry Kate.  I have chosen to see my body as a warrior that God used to protect me and allow me to have the family we have.  One of the best gifts the Lord has given me besides salvation is a healthy and resilient body.  It has rolls, stretch marks and is a little misshapen....but I am so proud of it.  I will never win any beauty contest or turn heads.....but it is my hero.  I will be kind to it and not plague myself with desires to desert this soldier of a body only to chop away at it in order to please temporarily.


The most beautiful women I have ever met are all pretty much physically imperfect, some more than others.  But they all have an attitude and a heart that is much so that it is blinding.  One of these women once told me "Girl, perfection is overrated.  It's all about attitude and earrings".  

I would be lying to say that I do not struggle with body image...especially in the postpartum period after having a baby.   There is something about having leaking sandbags as breasts that is a little unsettling to me.  Sure, I would love to have a knock out body.  I don't.  I have a body that can knock somebody out which is WAY more handy.

If there is any altering that truly needs to be done in me, it is that of the heart.  Lord, I want you to cut away at my heart and my attitude to reflect what you see as true beauty.

1 Samuel 16:7 ESV
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”


  1. Gosh but I can totally relate to this post. My body just ain't what it used to be, that's for sure. But then, neither am I. Motherhood has changed me on the inside, so why am I surprised/ disappointed that I have changed on the outside, too? And surgery is not for me. Kinda like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane (unless it's going down, I'm staying inside the plane) I consider surgery a "have to" kind of thing - only if I have to in order to heal my body or save my life. But not to tuck anything that's sagging for a good reason (and I consider my 9 beautiful kids a good reason!)

    Okay, I know this is a long comment but I just have to share something. When I had my very first baby I was just 23 years old, and it was in the month of January. By the time Mother's Day rolled around that year, I had lost almost all of my baby weight but yet I had still changed shape. My breasts were definitely not the same, and I had bulges where there weren't any before, and a bit of stretched-out skin. But I didn't think too much of it, to be honest. I was SO happy to be a mama, and I was in my glory. To me, my body looked like it should, and I wasn't too disappointed by it. But there was a part of me that wondered if my husband thought the same way. What did HE think of my little imperfections? Anyway, that first Mother's Day was something I had been looking forward to since I was a little girl playing with baby dolls. And I couldn't wait until THE day. I wondered what the card would look like that my husband would pick out that was to ME from the BABY? I can't stress how much I looked forward to my very first Mother's Day card from my child. Well, that morning I woke up...and I was so excited... but except for the brunch that I hosted for my mother and grandmother, the day was uneventful. My husband did nothing to celebrate my motherhood. To say I was crushed is a complete understatement. No gift. No flowers. I think he just hugged me and said "Happy Mother's Day" once in the morning and then we got busy with our day. But later that evening, he DID hand me a card. The envelope said one word: "Mommy" and so I thought as I was opening the card, "Okay, this is good. At least I'm going to get a Mother's Day card from the baby." and I was looking forward to a cute, "To My Mommy..." card or something like that. But it was not that. It was a card where on the front was a cartoon drawing of a tired-looking, frowning woman wearing nothing but a pair of grannie-panties. Her legs were unshaven, the skin on her belly hung over her waist, her breasts sagged down to her belly, and her butt was all dimpled and saggy. Oh yea, and she had curlers in her hair. She was a completely harried and frumpy woman. I was mortified by that cartoon drawing, but then it got worse. I opened it up and the card read: "Ain't Motherhood a Bitch?" and then at the very bottom, written in my husband's scroll, it read "Love, Audriana" (my daughter's name) THIS was my daughter's Mother's Day card to me on our very first Mother's Day together. THIS was my dreamed about, special First Mother's Day card. My husband thought he was being funny. But I just sat there and stared down at that card, and I started to cry. My husband was like, "Babe, what's wrong?!" and I was all, "What's wrong? What's wrong?!! Are you KIDDING me?!! What the heck kind of card is THIS?"

    Okay, I'm going to end it there. You can use your imagination on how the next few hours went for my husband. I'm so happy to report that now, after almost 20 years of Mother's Days together, he has gotten much, MUCH better in the celebration of me on this sacred day. And he learned to never, ever, ever poke fun of a woman's post-pregnancy body - mine, or anyone else's! LOL

  2. This was a great post !! Many times I think I have to be a certain size to be happy but really what am I doing? Focusing on myself and not on the one who formed me to be who I am...God! You are so's the attitute and the earrings! It's such a hard thing to deal with.

  3. Amen Sister. Don't you touch that beautiful tummy.