Wear the Swimsuit

I have been an avid reader of Jennifer Weiner’s for as long as I can remember. She also lives in Philadelphia and is a very entertaining writer. Her stories are amusing and fun and deep and sensitive at the same time. Often, if I cannot directly relate to a character, I can certainly understand her. 
I follow her on social media and earlier this month, started to see something called #weartheswimsuit. Essentially, she overheard her two daughters talking one day about how they viewed their bodies and it made her angry and sad. She never imagined that body image issues started so young (her girls are 13 and 8) and it really made her think. How could they not have anything for love for their bodies? Especially at their ages?
Why are we as women so hard on ourselves? Why do we criticize ourselves to the extent that we do? Since when is that ok? I do not want that for me and I certainly do not want that for my daughter.
I look at my body and I cringe. I carried a baby to term in this body and I delivered her still. I then went thought the agony of fertility treatment and the turmoil that those medications took on my body. Determined to not give up, we adopted our rainbow and I can honestly say we love her as much as her sister whom I carried. I did not have to create her life to love her life.

I have tried EVERY diet in the universe. Except for maybe the grapefruit one. Even I have to draw the line somewhere. I have taken over-the-counter meds and I have taken prescription pills. I have done talk therapy and nutritional counseling. I am still trying every single day to learn how to live in this body of mine and treat it well. I have lost upwards of 80 pounds more than once and also gained it back more than once.
I am not giving up. I refuse to give up. I will keep fighting so that my daughter can see a healthy example and maybe not have to fight the same fight.
Step one of that fight is to wear the damn swimsuit.
To the beach or the Y or a pool party…I put it on.
I put in on, one leg at a time, the same as anyone else.

I try to make it look as flattering as possible.

I see my reflection and I sometimes do not recognize the body staring back at me. But I keep playing. I watch her giggle and laugh and exude the kind of joy that comes with being three years old.
Being a mom is about making sure your child’s needs are always met. My child needs a happy mom. She deserves a mom who will play with her and make her dreams come true. She deserves for me to work through my other issues and trust me, I am trying. In the meantime, though, I will keep wearing my swimsuit…

Samantha Koellhoffer is a work in progress. She is learning how to be a mom to her adopted daughter after her first child was born still. She has a blog that has saved her time and time again as she learned that writing was a terrific outlet for her.