When Body Image and Swimsuits Collide: A Guide for Every Woman

woman jumping in the air at the beach who is happy with her body image and swimsuits in the summer

Sitting here with a bad sunburn after a day at the lake for Father’s Day, I can tell you one thing that has changed my life and my summers with my children: not caring about my size or what people will say when I slip off my bathing suit cover.

I was 5 feet 5 inches tall and 95 pounds in high school. My mother was 5 feet 3 inches tall and 100 pounds, so I was a small girl. Back then I would lift weights to bulk out a little. All those wonderful kids I went to school with gave me the nickname ‘Toothpick.’

Oh, if they could see me now. I was skinny and never had a weight problem, but now as adult, I am thinking back to those kids and how that made me feel. That was the problem—not my weight, but how others viewed me and how their expectations of me got inside my head. I wasn’t a toothpick; I was a small girl who was healthy.

The Grass Is Always Greener: Learning to Love Who You AreWhen Body Image and Swimsuits Collide

Insert Cosmopolitan magazine, social media, injectables, implants and all the rest, and it’s bound to leave every one of us females feeling inadequate. I had gained weight when I got sober and quit smoking. I noticed more curves and that clothes were fitting me differently. I was always thinking I need to get back to that small girl, that size I was for so long.

That all changed for me the summer of 2014 when I had twins.  My twins were not small—my son was 7.5 pounds and my daughter was 6.7 pounds. I carried a lot of baby. That was one of the best seasons of my life. We had tried for so long, and to finally have these babies growing inside me made me so happy. And huge.

When the twins were old enough to get in and out of the car on their own, I got a tummy tuck, which gave me a boost of confidence. Is my stomach flat? No, but I am happy with where my tummy is at now.

Don’t Dwell on Insecurities. Make Memories Instead

As I write this the day after Father’s Day, I realize it was the twins’ first Father’s Day in June 2015 that I put on my suit and took them to Pinecrest Lake and was not concerned with any background noise. The only thing I cared about was their laughter and shock as their little feet touched the water.

Why don’t more of us adopt that attitude instead of clinging to our insecurity? We worry that we’re not enough or we’re too much when we see another woman in her bathing suits whose body looks different than our own. Her story is different. Every woman’s story is different. How boring it would be if they were all the same and we all looked the same?Moms, Be Sure to Make Memories that Will Last a Lifetime

My twins will be 10 this August, and every summer, I have shown up suited up and been present. I refuse to sit on the sidelines covered up because my body changed while creating life and growing older.

Moms, your kids don’t care if you have stretch marks. They don’t care if you’re bigger than you were in high school, and they don’t mind if you go up a size from last year. They just want to have fun with their mom. The one that makes them eat vegetables and do math homework. So don’t just sit on the picnic blanket this summer and watch them as you scroll on your iPhone. Get up and make memories with them.

Do What Works for You—And Own It

You need to do what works for you. Maybe it’s a tummy tuck, maybe it’s a tummy tightening bathing suit, or maybe it’s just a radical mind-shift about life. Maybe it’s both. But I do promise you, the ones looking are probably thinking, ‘Wow, she is so comfortable in her body.” And the ones that are still body-shaming other women just haven’t evolved yet into the place where we fix each other’s crowns without telling anyone. We can pray for those women.

For me, when I see a woman on the beach who may have others question what she’s wearing, I am beyond proud that she owns it and is enjoying her body. We only get one. We only have one life. So rather than hiding it and sitting on the sidelines, suit up and go swimming. I’ll see you in the deep end.

Photo by Vaibhav Kashyap/Pexels.

Still worried about what the world thinks? Listen to this podcast episode to discover where your self-worth truly comes from: Don’t Let the World Dictate Your Self-Worth—It’s Up to You – 244

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