29 May 2012

My annual “You are More than Your Swimsuit” post

{The swimming pool opened this weekend. So I knew it was time for our annual reminder about swimsuits and mama bodies}

My boys officially smell of summer. And to me summer smells like sunscreen.

The ritual has begun – the spraying and lathering and rubbing into scalps of sweet smelling SPF 50 on blond hair and pale white bodies. {Sorry, boys, you may have got my blue eyes, but you also got my British genes.}

They love it. They stand – arms akimbo – and rotate slowly as I mist them. Teeny tiny waists astride gulping swimsuits that all but swallow their cute little patoots; hide their calves and brush just short of their ankles.

I could literally eat them up.

We wade into the water together.

Their tiny selves next to my not-so-tiny-self. And it makes me proud.

Because this body of mine that can’t ever seem to find a flattering suit, this body birthed those two boys and the little toddler girl who’s looking on. This body has seen life that the adorable taut, toned and tiny lifeguard girls on duty couldn’t possibly dream of yet.

This body has housed 3 miracles and it turns out that miracles need room to grow.

This beautiful amazing body has stretched to accommodate three sets of feet, three heads, three hearts, three sets of flexing limbs. This body is round where some say it should be flat; soft where some say it should be hard; and full where many others are running on empty.

This body knows what it is.

And it is much, much more than a swim suit.

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{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    THANK YOU for posting this topic. SO true. I couldn’t have said it better myself. There was a day when I would have obsessed about my summer swimsuit body but now (just had my first baby) it is not on the priority list. Thanks for the reminder about being thankful for what our bodies CAN DO for us. So much more important than the size of our jeans.

  2. 2

    two days at the pool and allthe winter work of learning to let go of comparisons? out.the.window. from the suit itself, what’s in the suit, the tan, the lack of spider veins, the toenails….maybe i DO need a tattoo – it would be psalm 139:14. like all over my arms and legs!

  3. 3

    “This body has housed 3 miracles and it turns out that miracles need room to grow.”
    POWERFUL words here. Amen – I love this post. It is so true and such a needed reminder in a world where worth is wrapped up in tight buns and perky – well… you know. xo Cass @ The Unplugged Family

  4. 4

    Have you heard of the parable of the mermaid and the whale? It always makes me feel a bit better. :-) I too have housed a miracle and will house another. Thanks for reminding me that I am not my swimsuit!!

  5. 5

    Thank you for this reminder :) Came at the perfect time, since I tried on Swim Suites yesterday! I decided on long shorts and a tank top :)

  6. 6

    Such a beautiful reminder. We were at the beach this week, and I saw lots of young girls running around in the bikinis. I don’t think I ever would have done that, but certainly not now, with my baby belly. But, what a privilege to have a baby belly! There are so many women who would give everything to have had a child. And I worry about what others think of my bumps and lumps? I will wear them proudly, and thankfully.

  7. 7

    I will be sharing this on The Tweety, as Craig Ferguson says ;-)

    Thought you might enjoy this post from last week, too, although, I’m not sure I conveyed the same message; ha:


  8. 8

    Amen! Amen! Amen! It’s about time we as women fought back against what Hollywood and the media tells us we should look like. We are so much more than our bodies. And our bodies are amazing just how they are!

  9. 9

    Mmmmm, coconutty sunscreen. It just smells like summer and the beach. Yum.
    We are so much more than our swimsuits. Thanks so much for the encouragement!

  10. 10
    Kimberley says:

    oh, thank you so much. needed this today. :)

  11. 11

    Just…thank you!!!

  12. 12

    After spending some time at a local public pool, YES and AMEN

  13. 13

    Yes! Yes! It’s all about perspective isn’t it? Thank you for the timely reminder.

  14. 14

    <3 I've got four miracles that have changed me in ways undescribable! <3

  15. 15

    This body too, has seen better days of glamore. Yet, when the little ones choose to cuddle into the soft areas that once were hard and firm, then who cares what the world sees. I’m holding my baby, and babis don’t keep.

    Now, about the skin…I just need a new suit of skin. Period – end.

  16. 16

    I just found your blog today, Lisa-Jo, and I just love this entry! :)
    I’m expecting my Husband and I’s first baby, she’s due in August, and I admit the mirror is NOT my friend anymore! My body is SO different now than it has ever been, and I know that this precious blessing from the Lord will be the most amazing gift…but I’m still not exactly enjoying it! So reading your blog entry today, was such a great reminder of how beautiful our mother’s bodies are. Period.

    Thanks, Lisa-Jo! God bless you and your family!

  17. 17

    Amen, baby girl! I just went swimming with my kiddos yesterday and braved the suit.

  18. 18

    So true. So beautiful. And I know this more at some times than others. Trying to realize it more each day.

  19. 19

    Great post! I haven’t had a swimsuit body in 18 years, but I’m trying to be especially kind to myself this summer, my first, since our triplets were born in December.

  20. 20

    I am a mama of five. On a date night a few weeks ago, my hubby and I went to find a swimsuit. Needless to say, things didnt go so great and I was mentally, emotionally distraught. Thank you for this sweet reminder that I have housed five miracles.

    I have since found a suit that I am comfortable in! :)

  21. 21

    THANK YOU! I may just read this every day this summer. Even more so because this summer mine is a maternity suit :)

  22. 22

    Oh, sister, wait until you hit the 50 mark. A woman better come to terms with her body because life, babies, time and gravity all take their toll. We are indeed more than our outer shell. We don’t look as great as we did at 20, but should walk with our heads high blessedly surrounded by our children, our aprons proudly flying around our shoulders like a superhero cape.

  23. 23

    Ahh, the smell of sunscreen! You go Mama!

  24. 24

    Love this! I’m hoping it will spread all over Facebook and Twitter! Posts like this will help change the culture’s view of women.

  25. 25

    That was so beautifully said. Thank you so much for the encouragement. :-)

  26. 26

    “This body has housed 3 miracles and it turns out that miracles need room to grow. This beautiful amazing body has stretched to accommodate three sets of feet, three heads, three hearts, three sets of flexing limbs.” – I say a hearty AMEN! My triplets are indeed miracles and I’ll take my sons over a perfect body any day. More of their miracle here: http://sheensteve.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/birth-story/

  27. 27

    I needed to hear this…reposted on FB.

    I haven’t bought a swimsuit in years…just waded with the kids in the shallow end in my shorts/capris and kept my t-shirt on. This year I decided I wasn’t going to do that and bought a swimsuit…I don’t look all that great in it. Oh well! Its modest and won’t weigh me down when I decide to do laps in the pool. :) My hubby and my babes love me just the same and more than that my heavenly Father loves me for my heart for him. :)

  28. 28

    Your writing is always such a joy to read and these are words to take to heart. Thank you!

  29. 29

    Thanks so much for this encouraging reminder. I have three little ones (all under age five!) and my stomach just isn’t what it used to be. Your post made me remember that there’s a reason for that…three reasons, actually…three very GOOD reasons. ;)

  30. 30

    So incredibly true! I personally need reminding of this constantly (not just when putting on my swim suit). Thank you for your words of wisdom.

  31. 31

    If I would give up my curves for my four adorable kids? oh yes in a heart beat. Love what you got and it will love you right back.

  32. 32

    I am preparing a summer trip to a more modest country and in the process had an ephanie of sorts. We don’t have to wear swim suits that show more of us than we want even here in the US. We could be like guys and cover all that we normally do and still swim. There could be guy style suits and shirts that would be easy to swim in and pretty too. If we feel bad in our suits we should collectively change the fashion. Maybe we could stand to be different together. I may have to start a business. Thanks for the encouragement though, I needed to read this again.

  33. 33

    I live in a place where every size and shape of woman wears a bikini. It’s a bit freeing. And as my husband says, its not about the body its about how you think about it. A woman with confidence is the most sexy, no matter what her shape.

  34. 34

    I have stared at this empty comment box quietly reeling and mulling over what I could possibly say.

    I am empty. My body, incapable of housing life, of stretching to grow to the pulse of a miracle… it is empty. Broken.

    I think you and other mothers are beautiful. I think you SHOULD revel in the marvel that is motherhood. But the part of me that wishes I could alleviate my body image issues with some dark, curly-haired head and the sweet scent of sun-kissed flesh wishes this post was… more.

    Maybe it is best to be silent? Forgive me if I chose incorrectly.

    • 35
      thegypsymama says:

      Oh Thelma!

      I wish there were words I could say to make that ache less. But I have enough friends who’ve walked a similar journey to know that words alone can’t fill that emptiness. I’m glad to hear your thoughts. I value them. And you and your body and all the mothering that pours out of women who don’t have children in a hundred other ways. We are all mothers – we just get to practice it differently. I pray you are filled up by the Father God who sees us beyond our swimsuits and knows the aches of each heart.

      And for a series of posts that talks about beauty and our struggle to own it – may I suggest these – there were some amazing things written by this community on the topic: http://thegypsymama.com/2011/08/ask-100-women-if-they-think-theyre-beautiful-and-this-is-what-they-say/

      With the warmest of wishes for a treasured summer – in the pool or not –

  35. 36

    Simply beautiful! I tweeted it!

    Wendy =)

  36. 37

    Love this.
    You so beautifully and eloquently described how I so want to view myself when I look at my beautiful blessings and think of the one in heaven.
    Thank you.

  37. 38

    I felt the same way this summer when I took my two daughters to the beach and wore a bikini. I weight 250lbs but I’m proud of my mommy curves.

  38. 40

    This made me cry. My son is now 2 months old and I am back at the stage where I don’t like what I see in the mirror. What was taut with tiny limbs, is now flabby. Where I was proud of the bulge, now I hide it under loose t shirts and dresses. And now Summer is coming and I am scared.
    Thank you for reminding me that these new curves and lines and flabby bits bear testament to the little lives I grew. I will try to remember the truth of your words when my swimsuit is dusted off for our first trip to the pool.


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