It’s no secret that becoming a mother isn’t exactly the most glamorous job in the world. Pregnancy and labor itself is a reminder that our bodies have a mind of their own.
For many women, postpartum motivation is hard to find. Our bodies are no longer our own, and the remnants of what once housed a child underneath our hearts is now a reminder of the lies: We are ugly, we are not good enough, we will never look or feel the same again.
Fitness-guru Sharny Kieser is no different. She recently shared on her Facebook page a confession about the body she had always dreamed of, and the beauty she was able to find in the body she had.
“I used to not see the point in exercise because my body was covered in stretch marks,” she writes. “‘What’s the point in having a great body if I will never wear a bikini?’ I’d think. If I was ever invited to the beach or a pool party, I’d always decline. On the odd occasion I couldn’t avoid it, I’d stay inside, helping with the food or the cleaning.”
The 36-year-old mother of six said she’d wear board shorts and T-shirts, only wishing that she could one day have a body that was worthy of a bikini.
“Then one day I overheard my loving husband explaining to a bunch of his friends why he thought stretch marks were beautiful. They were a sign of being a woman. They are a result of the great love a mother has, that she would scar her own body to bring a child to life.”
Sharny says the more her husband talked about the beauty of her scars, the more she finally understood what she’d been getting wrong all along.
“I had hated myself for the very reasons he loved me. My body wasn’t ruined or disgusting, it had transformed from a selfish girl’s body into a selfless mother’s body, and the scars were a symbol of that transition.
A daily reminder that I was a mother.”
She says that was the first time she looked at her scars with a welcome heart.
“I looked at my stretch marks and I felt pride. I felt love. The love of my husband and the love of my children. Each one of them had been nurtured and lived behind those scars for nine months.
I felt pride.
I felt love.
I felt love for myself.”
Sharny says that self-love she began to experience led to gratefulness for the body she has now. As a result, she began to treat herself better—body and mind.
“I WANTED to eat healthy. I WANTED to exercise, I WANTED to do the things I loved. Just by changing the way I looked at myself with love and pride instead of hate, I had found the effortless motivation to care for my body.”
She explains the shift in her mindset to be magical.
“I got the body I had always dreamed of. The bikini body that I thought was not ever going to be possible for me after being covered in stretch marks, has became a reality for me. It started, though, with me loving myself first. Being grateful for what I had, not wishing for something better.”
Sharny closes her post with an encouragement to ALL women:
“Stretch marks or no stretch marks, IVF of no IVF, vaginal or C section. Breastfeed or bottle feed, it doesn’t (sic) matter. Even if you chose not to have kids or couldn’t have kids…
Your kids love you.
You should love you.
Stop beating yourself up and start loving yourself. For the magic that is a woman’s body is what you have.”
May this lift you up today, and be a reminder to all women to love yourself first. Share Sharny’s words with a woman you love today, and remember that you were made completely and positively perfect in the image of God.