14 May 2013

How to be the mom in the mirror you want reflected in your daughter’s life

Nothing has made me more aware of my relationship with my body than having a daughter. I want to be the mom in the mirror my daughter will look up to; I want us both to grow comfortable in our own skins and for that reason I’m so grateful for the tools, stories, and encouragement that Dena and Emily share in their new book, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty, and Life after Pregnancy.

So I’m delighted to have Emily here today sharing bits of the bumps in her story about learning to love her body “as is” not how someone else thought it should look. Also? She’s GIVING AWAY A COPY at the end of this post.

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I was eating key-lime pie and commenting on how good she looked, on her new shade of hair, and I mentioned that she’d lost weight, that she looked slimmer, and she glowed. The way mothers do when they’re told they’re beautiful, even as her teenage daughter walked by, her other three children milling around the buffet at our family reunion.

And she told me she was losing weight the healthy way, and I said that was good. She said she was still eating carbs and proteins and everything in moderation, and it all sounded positive. But she looked longingly at my pie. 

And then I said, “But you’re not losing any more, are you? I mean, you look perfect.”

And she glanced down at her blue striped shirt and her blue jeans with disgust. “Oh yes,” she said. “I’m losing more. I want to go back to the old me.”

The old me. The girl that had no stretch marks, that had thinner hips and bigger boobs. The girl that didn’t have crow’s feet and could pull off skinny jeans. 

The girl who longed for stretch marks because they would mean she was fertile. The girl who longed for a man who loved her enough to make babies with her. The girl who dreamt of being pregnant, of feeling the life inside her, of nourishing that life at her chest even as it sucked away hers.

We forget about the beauty of the sacrifice. Sometimes I think it’s like the stomach we have left over, after giving birth. The stomach that sticks around, and it’s empty and loose and floppy, and we feel that way too. We forget about the beautiful, miraculous role which this stomach played. About the way it stretched taut around human life for nine months. About the home it made for heaven to come down and touch earth in the form of lips and eyes and limbs and heart.

We forget about the miracle, in the face of the mess.

And sure, we’re messy. We’re mothers. But there is a beauty in that mess.

And I set down my pie (just for a second) and I took this woman by her shoulders, and I looked into her eyes, and I said, Honey, you don’t need to lose anymore. This is the NEW YOU. Claim your NEW BODY. We have been REBORN through the fetus that slid red and screaming from our womb, and we need to take pride in the us of TODAY. 

Mothers, unite. Let’s stop lamenting who we are, and mourning the loss of what we used to be. We used to be lonely. Now we have a family. We used to be ignorant of love. Now it tugs on us all hours of the day and night. We used to be untouched. Now we crave some form of privacy. We used to dream of pregnancy. Now our bodies are emblems of that sacred experience.

We are LIFE GIVERS. Say goodbye to the old, and hello to the new. Throw away those skinny jeans, and purchase a new wardrobe, because life is too short not to eat key-lime pie. 

***

MomMirror high res coverUPDATED: Giveaway is now closed.

The winner of Mom in the Mirror giveaway was commenter #17 Heather Millard who said: One thing I love about myself is the heart for others that God has given me. I can see it in my children too and that is so exciting! When I’m older, saggier, greyer, wrinklier, that will still be there – hooray! x

Emily is giving away a hard-cover copy of her new book today, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty, and Life after Pregnancy, co-authored by Dr. Dena Cabrera, and foreword by supermodel Emme (and some quotes by yours truly :))

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

Giving birth produces life in more than one sense. It’s the baby powder, milky-breathed spirit found in the softest limbs you’ve ever felt, and it’s the respect a man feels for his wife as he watches her give up her body for another.

And it’s the deep-rooted soul satisfying feeling of knowing you were born for more than the mirror. That you were born to see the face of God in your child, and to know, you yourself are a miracle.

Emily Wierenga is a mom to two beautiful boys, wife to a handsome math teacher, and author of Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder (www.chasingsilhouettes.com) and Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy (www.mominthemirrorbook.com). To learn more, please visit www.emilywierenga.com.

 

 

Comments

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  1. 1
    Melissa says:

    This is a topic I wrestle with often. Where and how do we balance between being healthy, fit, and keeping our bodies in good working order ( stewarding the life and body that God has given us) and being ok with carrying 5, 10, 15, or more extra pounds which likely means that we don’t get enough exercise, our blood pressure or cholesterol could be too high, or that fat on our triceps is also in our arteries? I don’t believe that to be beautiful you have to look like a runway model. I just can’t stop thinking that health has to play a role in this somewhere. What are our heart issues? Is this an issue of self- discipline vs. laziness? Of setting aside time for moms to care for their own bodies so they might be healthier to care for their families? Of being educated about the nutrition of foods and the value of exercise? As I said, I really struggle with how to balance all of this and how to convey my jumbled up thoughts on this to my 12 year old daughter and even to my two sons. Oh, and BTW, I love my eye color. That is something that never changes! ;)

    • 2

      oh Melissa i love that you are thinking about all of this. i think it starts with the heart, yes. i think once we learn to love our selves (not our bodies, but our SELVES) then we want to start to want to take care of ourselves. all of this, is, of course, addressed in detail in the book :) there are lots of tips. keep searching and praying and the Lord will shape your perspective and show you how he sees you. bless you. e.

  2. 3

    My eyes :-)

  3. 5

    Oops, somehow I just left my comment on the wrong post.=) I love my legs. They aren’t skinny, but they are strong, runner-girl legs.

  4. 7

    I love my hair. It’s still thick, long and shiny even though I’ve reached mid-life. When I was a child my hair was so heavy that my pony tails would give me hair headaches. I recently had my chiropractor suggest that I cut my hair to take some of the weight off my neck. Instead, I had my hairdresser lighten the load with thinning shears. My three daughters and I all wear our hair long and loose. I figure there will be time enough for me to have short hair when I’m “elderly.” But maybe, by then the fashion will change for older women to wear their hair long and romantic.

  5. 9

    Such a good and timely post and book. I want to, need to read this book as mom to two little girls and wondering about all of this. How to convey beauty and love and truth in a world that doesn’t really send those messages.

    I love my eyes. =)

  6. 11

    I am loving my thick pregnancy hair!

  7. 13

    I love my smile. I try to allow it to be as genuine and free-flowing as possible rather than subdue it or control it for the camera, etc. More than that, though, I love the smile my girls can bring to my face. It is a smile unlike any other, brought on by them alone, and I’m so thankful I have had the chance to discover it!

  8. 15

    I love the way I feel when my four year old daughter sees me at the end of her day at Preschool – bright eyes, yay! *that’s my mum!*. She is the light of my life and, though I don’t always remember how special I am … she always manages to remind me of that, just at the right times.

  9. 17
    Heather Millard says:

    One thing I love about myself is the heart for others that God has given me. I can see it in my children too and that is so exciting! When I’m older, saggier, greyer, wrinklier, that will still be there – hooray! x

    • 18

      YES heather! yes. i feel the same way about my children. the heart is the most beautiful aspect of us… and it’s so rewarding when we see it beating in our young ones, too.

  10. 19

    I love my strength and I love that I have become much more comfortable in the skin I am in – I have always had a bad self image and it is a constant struggle to not compare and to take care of the body God has given me. I want to show my children and have them believe that God has made is all special, beautiful and unique and not let anyone tell you otherwise.

    • 20

      oh emily, this just warms my heart. i have always struggled with body image too… but children change that, don’t they? they make you want to be better, for them. i love this perspective. God makes all things special and beautiful. bless you.

  11. 21

    I love my calves. When I pay just a little attention to them, they quickly get defined & make me feel strong.

  12. 23

    Oh, this is such a timely post for me and a read I want on my list. What do I love about myself? Hmm. My dark brown eyes, which remind me of my favorite food. Ahem. Yes. Chocolate.

  13. 25

    I love this post. And my eyes. :)

  14. 27

    I wish I could name physical things but honestly I haven’t loved any of that about me in years. I can tell you I love my honesty. My loyalty. The strength I have which only comes through deep communication with Him. All these things have helped sustain me. And I hope one day to again love the physical me.

    • 28

      I would love all those things, too, if I knew you for real! But as a stranger, I can already say I love your cheekbones, your cute little nose, and your pretty eyes.

    • 30

      oh Heidi, i love how you ministered here. and yes. i agree too. but sometimes it takes dealing with the deep innter wounds in order to be able to have our vision of ourselves changed. Amber, praying for you, friend. loving on you. e.

  15. 31

    This has been on my mind alot lately. I am approaching 40 and I don’t want to be the old me. I want to be a healthy and wiser-than-I-was-at-20 me. Just comfortable with who I am.

    I love my eyes and my full (but not too full) lips. When I laugh and smile, they are my best features. :)

  16. 33
    Aimee G says:

    I love all my imperfections because they remind me why I need Jesus in the first place.

  17. 35

    I like the way my face is beginning to show its age. I always hoped I’d get those permanent laugh lines, and I think I’m beginning to see them now and then in photos. I’m no hot model, but I do think I’m pretty and healthy, and one day I know I’ll make a beautiful old lady.

    • 36

      oh heidi this is so beautiful. i always wanted to have those permanent laughter lines too. i used to squint my eyes for hours when i was a kid, trying to make them :) bless you!

  18. 37

    I love my blue eyes and my hair… most days. And I’ve always liked my legs—which you will never see in a pair of skinny jeans!! :) I like to eat too much to confine myself into those things! :)

    • 38

      this made me teary, julie anne. i love that you choose your love for food over skinny jeans. this is a kind of freedom i’m striving for. bless you, e.

  19. 39

    I like my eyes. It took me forever to come up with even that. I think I need this book.

  20. 41
    Christy says:

    My eyes, I think that is because it is the only thing that didn’t change in the way they look but what they see in my 6 children fill my heart so every day.

  21. 43

    I love my legs, and the silver in my hair (I know, does that make me crazy– I’m only 34! But I love it. There’s this one awesome streak of it right at the front), and my smile. And I like my personality, because I think I’m kind of fun.

    I have struggled for years with accepting myself, mostly based on what I see in the mirror. But I have discovered and am still discovering that I am MORE than the person in the mirror– a lot more, and that I am worth celebrating. And I’m trying to embrace that and teach it to my daughter. She’s only four and she is my mini-me. She’s going to hear for the rest of her life, “You look just like your mom!” and I want her to think that that is a GOOD thing.

    • 44

      oh, clapping for you erin! just LOVE this! yes, may she see this as a GOOD thing! and i know she will, even just based on this response here. bless you!

  22. 45

    Thinking about this post makes me realize that there is a whole lot about myself that I am OK with… but not much that I can honestly say “I love”. Because I’m ok with it, I thought I was doing pretty well… but now I see that my body image may have come a long way to be ok with myself… but still has a long way to go. I’m ok with being 6 feet tall, with my smile and my eyes. I can’t wait to discover something that I love about myself. Definitely have to read this book!

    • 46

      it’s definitely a journey, friend… being “okay” with ourselves is definitely a step in the right direction! may you learn to fall in love with yourself, all of yourself! bless you! e.

  23. 47
    Shellie says:

    Unbelievably, I have been thinking about the beauty of stretch marks this week! I am almost two years post my last baby, and the “floppy belly” still remains. While I am working to take care of this “temple of the Holy Spirit,” to be get back into shape so that I can play with my kids well and be a good example to them, I *still* want to make sure that I don’t ever plant in my daughter’s head the idea that stretch marks are ugly or need to be avoided or loathed. So, what’s the one thing I love about myself? My stretch marks. Because they tell the story of how three beautiful, wonderful children entered my life. What a blessing.

    • 48

      this is incredible shellie! i love that you love your stretch marks! we talk a lot about stretch marks in the book… how they are war wounds, and badges of honor… i love that you are embracing your body! bless you friend. e.

  24. 49
    Valarie says:

    What I love about me?, I love that I am always seeking to learn more about myself as I grow up. Being a mom of 4 has taught me so much about myself, and I always strive to be the Best that I can be. Oh, and I love my blue eyes too!

    • 50

      this is beautiful, valarie! thank you so much for sharing! being a mother DOES teach you so much about who you are, doesn’t it? bless you. e.

  25. 51
    Kat de Laat says:

    I have Psalm 90:17 taped inside my medicine cabinet so that I can read this while I look at my reflection in the morning – And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
    And establish the work of our hands for us;
    Yes, establish the work of our hands.

    Helps me to remember that with two children to raise I have more important things to set my mind and heart on, than what I look like…

    I’ve always liked my wrists. They are somehow delicate, despite my manly worker hands! :)

  26. 53

    My dimples. I have a joy in my heart and it’s easy to see because ppl always see my dimples!!

  27. 55

    LOVED this! And mine would be my feet. They carry me every where and look cute doing it. :)

  28. 57
    Cristin says:

    So hard to think of something physical, because I struggle with my body (and it’s not just due to motherhood). Ultimately I’d have to go with my happy face. Even though it isn’t supermodel perfect, it shows true happiness. No fake smiles for me – mine give away my inside joy through my entire face. Love this post – and the book sounds great!

    • 58

      thanks so much Cristin! and TRUE happiness is the kind of priceless beauty that no cosmetics company can sell us… i love that you have found it.

  29. 59
    Kristy J says:

    I love my hands. The ones that get to hold onto my husband and daughter everyday!

  30. 61
    Trisha Honkoski says:

    I love that my breasts, while saggy and small, were able to nourish my beautiful children for 32 months in total.

    • 62

      isn’t it incredible? i feel the same way about my breasts. i have no idea how they nourished my children, being so small, but they did! bless you!

  31. 63
    Rachel R. says:

    I like my eyes!

  32. 65

    I intentionally rock hot dresses and skinny jeans in the hopes that my daughter’s see that I am in some way proud of the body God gave me, multi-directional stretch marks and all! :-)

  33. 67
    Mindy Fuller says:

    I love the fact that people don’t have to love me in order for me to love them. And let me just say, you did an EXCELLENT job on this piece!

    • 68

      oh Mindy, thank you so much… your praise means the world to me. and i love what you said about people not having to love you in order for you to love them… that’s the Jesus in you. so beautiful.

  34. 69

    I love being tall. And I think I have a good sense of humor.

    I’m so glad that Jesus does not compare us to other women (younger ones, who have not birthed babies). He looks at us and sees a heart that He fully accepts and adores. And that is what I try to focus on, what’s on the inside. Because gravity and aging are going to have their way with the outside package, like it or not! :)

    • 70

      yes. i totally love this selena. Jesus looks at the heart. but… i also think he delights in the details of our physical appearance too, just because he made us! bless you!

  35. 71
    Shannon says:

    I love that I have more smile lines since becoming a wife and mother.

  36. 73

    I love my butt :) :) even at 9 months pregnant, ha, and my husband does too!

  37. 75

    My arm muscles from holding and rocking and carrying my small bundles of kids that have grown too quickly.

  38. 77

    I love that God created me a storyteller. I’m becoming more comfortable in that skin every day. I would just love a copy of this book.

  39. 79

    After 3 kids in 5 years, I definitely struggle with this. But I can’t imagine my life without them. I waited for 7 long years to be a Mommy.

    • 80

      oh Whitney… it’s all about perspective, isn’t it? sometimes just remembering that we longed for this new stage of life helps us accept our new bodies. bless you. e.

  40. 81

    I was always the tallest, biggest girl in my class (not unhealthy, just bigger than the rest – and although that wasn’t easy, I always appreciated my strength because of it… And now, as a mother, I appreciate more my apple cheeks (that my children share) and the ‘sparkles’ I’m noticing in my hair!

  41. 83
    Christine says:

    I remember Lisa-Jo’s post about her Prague jeans. It was the catalyst that got me started on the journey to see my self, including my body, as God sees it. It has radically transformed my thoughts, my attitude and my behaviour. I can pass by that cute little peasant top now because I no longer feel I need it to be beautiful. I am beautiful! I have squishy, floppy parts that I’d like to see tighter but I’m not going to kill myself to see it happen. I’ll make healthy choices day by day to grow stronger and healthier because I am a temple of the living God, not because swimsuit season is upon us. I am so thankful for Lisa-Jo and Emily and others who are bringing this message to us. It is one that needs to be continually in our faces. We need to stand together on this as a body and love ourselves and each other.

  42. 86

    I love my hands. They have been through so much. They are the most comforting, soft way to connect with someone. And they are mine.

  43. 88

    I love my legs. I have been athletic all my life and even through pregnancy, they have stayed strong. Well, with lots of walking and now chasing a one year old everywhere!

  44. 90
    Stephenie says:

    I love my stomach, it is scarred and misshapen and the place that my kids bury their heads to cuddle. It’s the softest part

  45. 92

    I love my graying hair because I see a reflection of my mother when I look in the mirror. I only met her on the day I was born before she gave me up to be adopted, but I have reunited with my birth family and they always tell me how much like her I am. She passed away before I found them.
    I am learning to love my “comfy” body as my daughter calls it. She tells me I’m cuddly in all the right places. I can’t think of a better reason to try to embrace my body!

    • 93
      Lisa-Jo says:

      “Comfy body” – I love that image. My kids might say the exact same about me and I’m learning to lean into it.

      • 94

        what an incredible story, erin… and i agree with lisa-jo. i love the image of a “comfy body”–one that you love to wear because it fits just right!

  46. 95
    Heather says:

    I love my smile because not only can it change my day for the better, it also has the power to change someone else’s day for the better too! :)

  47. 97

    I would love to read this book!

    I love my eyes and lips, and I especially love the fact that my son has them.

  48. 99

    What a beautiful story. Thank you!
    I like my strong legs.

  49. 101

    I am in love with how I love my son.

  50. 103
    Robin T says:

    I have finally come to terms with my post partum body and now that my oldest daughter is 8 I am much more concious of how I speak of my body and of hers. I love my breasts even if they aren’t where they used to be!

  51. 105

    I love my eyes and my smile (I know you only said one, but didn’t want to choose between them)

    I think I need to read this book. Had two events in the last three days that have really added to my already conflicted post (5th) baby body image. I am sure I will laugh at them in a couple of years, but right now…not so much.

    • 106

      oh, Rosita, i’m so sorry to hear that… i love that you still know that you love your eyes and your smile in spite of what has happened… may you be encouraged over the coming weeks, realizing your infinite worth, not because of how you look but because you simply exist. bless you.

  52. 107

    Thank you for the encouragement. I was discouraged when I stepped on the scale this morning, especially since I “enjoyed” homemade cinnamon buns I made for my family yesterday. (I say enjoyed in quotes because I was trying so hard not to feel guilty the whole time I ate it!) finding and maintaining a healthy body image and even healthy diet (so I can give my best to my family) is so hard! There are so many lies to fight off…and the flesh is so weak. There are times I am comfortable and thankful…then times I look in the mirror and my heart twists and tears threaten to sting my eyes. I would love to read this book. And if I must say something I like about my physical body it would be my “cute” feet, as my husband says. :) Thank you…blessings.

    • 108

      oh girl. you are NOT alone. we all struggle with that guilt. that was one of the main reasons Dena and I wrote this book, was to help women shed that guilt and be set free to love on themselves and their families! so proud of you for eating those cinnamon buns in spite of the guilt. sometimes we just have to kick it in the butt and do what we enjoy doing because we love ourselves. bless you friend. e.

  53. 109

    I spent 5 years battling an eating disorder. I had just gotten to a good place mentally when I found out I was expecting our first child. For weeks, I worried that pregnancy would trigger my old demons. But those 9 months taught me how to trust my body and to celebrate all that it can do. Today, I love this new body that pregnancy and birth has given me.

    My favorite thing about my body are my arms. I have always had spindly arms but after carrying around a newborn then an infant, and now a toddler they are toned and show strength.

  54. 112
    Michelle says:

    What do I love about me? I love my hands because they remind me of MY mother and father and the long line of strong women I am firtunate enough to be related to, and my arms because they give (and receive) awesome hugs!

  55. 114

    Even though they’re the main reason I still don’t fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans, I love my new mama hips!

    Looking forward to this book!

  56. 116
    Constance says:

    What a great post! Just what I needed! I love my hair, it’s soft and thick, and it’s starting to get grey (at age 37!) but I will not ever dye it again, I just think it shows my life, my experience, my everyday wrestle with trying to raise four kids…

  57. 118
    Beth Huey says:

    I love…all of me. I have FINALLY learned that true beauty is in the imperfections. I wish I could loose more weight, be more tan, etc… But those are little things. I love that God gave me dimples, that my eyes look green some days and brown others. I love that I see myself in my kids.

  58. 120

    I love my hips. And my legs. And the tattoo on my arm. :)

  59. 122

    I love my size 2 feet. Yes, I have to wear children’s shoes, but these feet, as small as they are, have carried me through a journey of pain and recovery and have allowed me to take one step at a time even when I didn’t love myself. Thanks for this post and offering this giveaway. Be blessed, Kristin

    • 123

      Kristin, I LOVE that you love your feet. And that they’re size 2. That is such a unique attribute and you have embraced it fully. Beautiful YOU.

  60. 124

    Thank you for this blog! I really would love to read this book!
    I am learning to love my body, even though my youngest kids (twins) are 8 years old and it looks nothing like it did prior. :-) My favorite are my legs, they are strong and get me where i need to go!

  61. 126

    My eyes. They say so much about me and tell the secrets of my soul. I just have to look at my children and they can see through my gray-blue eyes that I love them, completely.
    What a perfect book giveaway!

  62. 128

    Lisa-Jo, this is a beautiful post. I teared up several times reading it. Thank you for the reminder that I get to see “the beauty of sacrifice” on a daily basis. As I look at the four miracles that laugh and play and dance around me, I am baffled as to how those people ever could have grown within me…but they did! I am so blessed by them and by my husband who reminds me frequently that he loves me as well as my ever-changing figure at every stage (pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, post-pregnancy). Thank you for the reminder that I should “take pride in the [me] of TODAY.”

    • 129

      oh Jennifer I’m so glad it spoke to you. may you be encouraged every day as you sacrifice on behalf of your children. you are SO beautiful.

  63. 130

    I love my curly hair and light blue eyes : )

  64. 132

    I love that you’re sharing this today. As a mom of three year old triplets, I am intimately acquainted with a squishy stomach and stretch marks. While I was never in love with my body, I always had a flat stomach – this has been an adjustment :) But I love how strong I’ve gotten. Hoisting a nearly 40 pound kid on either hip while dragging the third on my leg makes me daily grateful that I have such bounty to tote. And since one of the three is a girl, I want her to be comfortable with who she is and know her beauty comes from within – as my grandaddy said, “Pretty is as pretty does.”

    • 133

      motherhood definitely brings a certain amount of strength… strength of character, mind and body. love this Gindi. thank you for sharing.

  65. 134

    I love my smile, brings joy to my heart to have so much to smile about. My teeth are not the straight, super white teeth… but I have learned to finally embrace my smile! I would love a copy of this book. Just yesterday I was sharing with friends how this second pregnancy The Lord has done a work in my heart and I was finally able to embrace my growing belly and the great joy he, my little Jacob (15m) brought me. How I will treasure those pictures forever and have the aching pain in my heart of knowing I didn’t do the same for my daughter Abby, who is 5. God gives me grace for those times… Thank you for your always encouraging post!

    • 135

      oh Yessi–first of all, I love your name. Secondly, thank you for sharing this. I love when the Lord begins to work in our hearts and cleans out the past… may you find strength and courage to be gracious towards yourself, each and every day. Bless you. e.

  66. 136

    My wrists. I… I really like my wrists. A lot.

  67. 138

    Such a timely topic. My daughter is six, and I struggle with this so much because I have had four children, including a set of twins, and I struggle with what is left of me after having them. I recently lost nearly forty pounds and have kept it off for about three months thus far. It’s been a long process – nearly 9 months to do it healthily. But I struggle with being healthy, eating right, and not setting her up too much to worry about her body the way I have always worried about mine. I think sometimes having always been thin and labeled “pretty” is a flag against you, because when you become pregnant, people almost seem to take glee in it if you have trouble bouncing back. “Oh, she was so pretty, but she’s had kids now…” That kind of thing. Gosh, I wish we could support one another instead of looking for ways to drag each other down.
    Anyway, I would love to read this book! Maybe it would help me get more comfortable with myself. I like my eyes very much. They are an interesting blue/green color – “Harper blue” – I am told, like my grandmother’s. I don’t need to put on much makeup for them to pop, and my kids find them interesting because they all have their father’s dark eyes and I am the only one with this color. My oldest says they make me look a little alien! lol

    • 139

      oh girl, YES. this: “I wish we could support one another instead of looking for ways to drag each other down.” it’s women that are hardest on each other; men are much more accepting of women than women are of each other. we need to learn to be an encouraging sisterhood.

  68. 140

    I have to admit I love my breasts the most! LOL They make me feel like the woman I am! :-)

  69. 141

    I struggle with this a lot. I’m taking a month off of fertility treatments right now so that I can “get back in shape.” I have these high expectations of myself because I got pretty thin last year at this time when I was nursing my daughter 20 times/day and also pumping for another family. It was easy to maintain my weight…and now it’s hard. The combo of fertility drugs and exercise restrictions and all of the emotional junk that goes along with it can make it difficult to feel good about my body. But I know that I MUST. I know that I need to stand up against the impossible standards I’ve set for myself and say, “I’m gorgeous just as I am.” My husband thinks so. My daughter thinks so – I can tell by the way she holds my face in her hands and says “Maaaaamaaaaa” over and over and over.

    So today, I’ll tell you that I like…no LOVE…my butt. I’ll just come right out and say it – I have a nice ass.

    (-:

  70. 142

    I love this post. It’s at a good time for me as well.

    I’ve never hated my body, but I’ve never really liked it either, other than when I was pregnant. I loved my pregnant body. Mostly, I’ve just mistreated it. But recently I’ve been realizing what a gift it is! It grew my son, my pride and joy and it has carried me through so many trials and hardships.

    My favorite part would be my hair and my smile. :) Just last night my son was talking about how we were the same…..our hair, our eyes, noses and our smiles! :) Those are my favorite parts!

  71. 143
    Chrissy says:

    I love my hips – I never realized their value until I was blessed enough to have them aid me in becoming a Mom. I was very self conscious of them once the puberty fairy visited me and older people would tell me I had “baby makin’ hips” and then in my early adult years I grew to hate them … well, until after my babies were born … now I am only grateful for these slightly wider hips because they remind me that “baby makin’ hips” was not meant to be a put down, but a compliment. (And they’re perfect for toting around these growing kiddos!) :)

  72. 144

    I love that I fight to hang on to Truth, to God’s perspective. It’s so hard, but it produces the most fulfilling fruit. I went swim suit shopping for the first time in three babies yesterday. I was able to shut down those dressing room demons and remind myself that “God loves me (like I love my little Sophie-girl), and Jesus Christ died for me.” Don’t you know, I found the cutest mom-suit ever. Aside from that, most days, I like my legs. Thank you for the encouraging post!

  73. 145

    I love my face. :) haha. And my heart makes me happy most of the time :)

  74. 146

    i love that my hair can be curly or straight (good to have options), my arms are strong (good to pick up lots of babies), and my legs are muscular (good for running uphill with a jogging stroller!). thank you! sounds like a great book to look into!

  75. 147

    I love my eyes. The color, the shape, the way they glow when I wear that one color.

  76. 148

    This was great! I’ve always loved my nose and the artistic talents God gave me.

  77. 149
    Courtney says:

    I never thought I’d say this, but I love my chin. I used to think I had a double chin and thought it was awful, but since my daughter was born 2.5 years ago and I see that she has my chin, I realize that it is actually beautiful and perfect. I wouldn’t trade if for any model or celebrity’s chin. It’s mine!
    Since she was born I also have stopped wearing makeup (almost) all together – not because I have “let myself go” but because I finally decided to let myself “be.”

  78. 152

    I like my legs and arms. Thanks so much f or this article as I often struggle with my streched out messy belly, but I do need to remember I carried two 6 lb babies in there at the same time with my twins and have since had two other beautiful babies.

  79. 153

    I love my stretching tummy and feeling my little girl move around inside, knowing that I am one day closer to seeing her in person. It makes me see my changing body in a different light.

  80. 154

    My smile :)

  81. 155
    Elizabeth B says:

    I love my blue eyes and freckles because they remind me of my daddy and because when i look at my sweet daughter’s face I see the same blue eyes and freckles looking back at me.

  82. 156
    Corinna says:

    Thank you, as always, for this heart-gripping post. And thank you for introducing me to yet another strong, wonderful, wise woman who sheds light on what is really important in this life.
    What I love about myself (in answer to your question) is that I can read your posts now, after many years of self-discovery and chipping away at the shell that had me locked into all the insecurities and self doubt and criticism you expose and ACTUALLY GET IT.
    I am grateful for my heart hurting when I read what you say. I am grateful for the lump in my throat. I am grateful for the love I feel towards my own body in these moments, when I hear my soul say “yes” to myself – knowing I will soon enough look at my thighs again in dismay, or catch myself thinking that the never-ceasing last five pounds could solve all my problems. But now, and with the support and love of women like you, the knowledge that they WON’T grows stronger every day, and the freedom to focus on what will REALLY make my life better is beyond price. Thank you.

    • 157
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Yes Corinna, so true. How beauty is always what we see inside ourselves before anything we see reflected in the mirror. So grateful your journey has led you here.

  83. 158

    I love my right hip. It has supported 4 babies over 7 years allowing me to multitask like a champ.

  84. 160

    I love my shiny brown hair with golden-red highlights that is now becoming scattered with silver.
    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. Last year I dropped nearly 40 pounds, struggling to find a healthier, happier weight. Then since Christmas and my daughter’s diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes at the beginning of this year I added back on 15 of those pounds. So I look at my floppy belly and wonder how much is supposed to be there because I gave birth and what still needs to go?

  85. 161
    Virginia says:

    I love that these perfectly round, high breasts have now nursed six children for a total of 14 years. They’re not perfect anymore. But they gave life, a healthy start, and iron-clad bonding to my babies and I’m forever grateful whenever I look at the ‘new breasts’ I have.

  86. 162

    I love my eyes….and this post!

  87. 163

    My boobs make milk! Holla!

    My husband is partial to my backside, but I have to say I thought a LOT about this. Honestly, at first I thought this would be a nice post, but probably wouldn’t apply so much to me. I’m pretty ok with my now body, but every word you wrote was a phrase I had thought! I discovered that it’s not that I was “ok,” but that I was used to not being ok. That’s a hard discovery- one that had me on tears. I could not think of one physical attribute that I loved about myself. I need to work on that…

    In the meantime- I love my attitude towards failure and my willingness to learn from it. It stings like CRAZY to fail, but when I feel that heart pain, I know God is pruning me and working something good. So if that death to self brings more life in Him- then BRING IT.

    Loved the post. Will be reading the book!

    • 164
      Lisa-Jo says:

      “my attitude towards failure and my willingness to learn from it” – oh the most rare and beautiful of parts to any body. It’s one I have to work on and I love learning from other women. Thank you for your beautiful honesty here, Lauren.

    • 165

      This has really given me something to think about. Because that’s how I feel (or think I feel) about my body. It’s OK.

      But I want to feel more than OK about it.

      I want to love it and be ever so thankful for it and treat it the way I should, as a gift and as God’s temple.

  88. 166

    I love my (ahem) breasts…I used to think they were so small (and they still are), but now I see them as what nourished my little ones for years.

  89. 167

    I love the fact that God has given me blue eyes, that he has made me 5’3″, that I have a size six foot. I may not be the world’s idea of gorgeous but I am God’s and that is all that matters. I have a wonderful husband that thinks I look great and four amazing kiddos that know that they are created by the perfect creator.

  90. 168

    How I need to read this over again. Despite how I “know” all those things, each time I go shopping for a couple new tops for summer, I look in those dressing room mirrors and don’t see the miracle, the beauty, but the glaring ugly under those lights.

  91. 169
    Jocelyne says:

    I’d love to have this book! Currently pregnant with my fourth child in six years, I haven’t had a chance yet to really worry about body issues. But this is my last and since I saw the little pink line I resolved to get into shape “as soon as this baby comes out”, it’s back to me. It looks like I’m in for a dose of reality. One thing I love about myself is my lips, particularly when I’ve remembered to apply my lipstick.

  92. 170

    What I love? My eyes. And as much as it gives me fits, I also kind of love my hair.

  93. 171

    i love my long legs!!!

  94. 172

    Last month, I would have answered “Nothing. I hate my body. But after a breast cancer scare (the lump was benign, praise God!) a couple of weeks ago, I realized that I need to appreciate this body that God has blessed me with. Even with all of the squishy parts I wish would magically become trim and fit again.
    So today I am learning to love an appreciate my breasts.. With them I have nourished my babies and pleased my husband. They were “pillows” when my children were little. And although they need a lot more support then they used to (can we say gravity?), they still fill out my dresses and shirts very nicely and remind me that I am still feminine and beautiful :)

  95. 173

    Thank you for sharing this. I am pregnant for the first time and a bit scared about facing all the changes. No one has put them in a positive way for me before, everyone just moans about it.
    I love my feet-its true! I love to run and have perfect feet for running. They are regular and fit in regular shoes, I don’t need any special shoes or shoe sizes. Your feet hold your whole body up so we can run around after these little kiddos!

  96. 174

    I love my eyes :) they are usually hazel but when u am really happy they are green :)

  97. 175

    I struggle to feel beautiful even though my husband and son tell me that often. My favorite is when my son looks at me and puts his hands on my cheeks, gazes into my eyes and say, “You are beauty”. I melt every time even if I don’t quite believe it myself. Why is that? So I was looking at a picture of me and my little guy taken on Mother’s Day. In this picture he has his arms wrapped around me and holding on tight to my curvy places. And as I was looking at this beautiful image and hating my body once again, I stopped and told myself that these curves were there for a reason. If I was supermodel skinny and all taut and toned, then my little guy would have no soft place to melt into. He needs me to have soft, curvy places, and I need them to be the kind of mom that I want to be. So, the one thing I am determined to love about myself are my soft, squishy curves.
    Thanks for this beautiful post today.

  98. 176

    What I love about myself- my ability to make milk in abundance. I worked so very hard to nourish this skill (pun intended) and it has served me and my babies well over the past 6.5 years. I will continue to love them no matter their appearance after what they have provided for my family.

  99. 177
    Sara S. says:

    I have been working on this. I have a hard time seeing my body as beautiful now instead of wishing for what it was. My favorite part of my body doesn’t change though. I love my eyes!

  100. 178
    Rachel C. says:

    I love my skin. Even though I do have some wrinkles and stretch marks, it is still a lovely peachy color. I have a 5 year old daughter that I do want to pass on healthy self image too. Would love to win the book.

  101. 179

    I love my eyebrows. They tend to grow into a uni-brow, so I need to get them waxed every few weeks, but I love how full they are instead of being thin and barely there.

  102. 180
    Melissa says:

    Loving me will be a forever process but I am complimented on my eyes and hair. So I am thankful that I can have inviting eyes that welcome women into my life and I can love on them. The rest is a work in progress. :)

  103. 181
    Amelia P says:

    I love this topic, am excited about the book. I love that I am determined and strong when I need to be. I love that the last thing I think is my body. But lately I’ve been thinking about it a lot!

  104. 182
    Miranda says:

    I love my curves, and that I am slowly finding them again.

  105. 183

    i love this post and I love my nose:)

  106. 184

    I love this post…but that’s not something about me! I wish I could say I love my blubby baby belly…and I really do love what it stands for, but I also love that I keep trying…to eat healthier, to be more loving, to be more organized, to be a better wife and mother. And I love myself in the meantime. I’ve gained a lot of grace along with those extra pounds. Oh and I love my aquamarine eyes, because they are my father’s eyes, not the Big Guy, but my earthly father who is no longer on this earth. But I catch glimpses of him in my eyes. This was fun to read and participate in!

  107. 185

    It’s always hard to answer that questions, as I never want to sound conceited. But the one thing I’m always told is that I’m always smiling. Even that’s a hard compliment to accept because I’ve learned well in my life how to smile on the outside when my insides feel like anything but smiling. But I like being known as “that girl” and it’s a good reminder to me that people do notice and they do appreciate it.

  108. 186

    I love my smile and how it lights up the rest of my face :)

  109. 187
    Barb Truman says:

    I love my sense of humor and smile! Which reminds me, I need to smile more!!!!

  110. 188

    I love the strength I found in myself this past year when I carried twins to only 32 weeks with one very healthy baby and one very sick one pound baby who spent 3 months in a NICU. I learned how to persevere and just how strong a little baby can be.

  111. 189

    I love my brown eyes (my husband calls me his brown-eyed girl), my hands, my feet (I am 54 and got my very first pedicure as a Mothers’ Day/Mother-of-the-Bride gift on Sunday), and my knees (they are now almost pain-free and allowed me to walk my first two 5Ks this year!).

  112. 190
    Jacquie says:

    I love my feet, not so much my toes but my feet and that’s just because I have an awesome tattoo that I love! :) Okay, I didn’t carry a child (well, I did miscarry one once) but after nearly two decades of infertility, I finally became a mother in my mid-40’s of two amazing babes that God gifted us with through adoption. And let me tell you, I have still got some “baby weight” to lose. It just showed up in all the wrong places after 40! And it’s sooooooo hard to get rid of. At my age – 46 in a couple of weeks, all of my energy is used chasing my two 3-year olds around. Exercise? Ain’t nobody got time for dat! :) Ugh! The guilt and shame: don’t want to be in pictures with my beautiful children, fear putting on a swim suit in public or just looking good in general. :( I need some help here. Please pray for me.

  113. 192

    I love my eyes…they were brown when I was little and turned green when I was about nine :)

  114. 193

    I love my hands!

  115. 194

    I love my belly and the scar that will forever reside there. After a long labor I was so thankful to see my baby emerge healthy from a c-section. Every time I look at this scar and my post-baby belly I find myself in awe of how God created this little babe in my belly, enabled me to carry His precious cargo, and then rescued us and kept us both pretty healthy in the process. There is beauty in this scar and how it will always serve as a reminder to me of God’s goodness…I see nothing less.

    Thank you for this post. It’s a message that we who have heard need to share with other women/mammas…and learn to live out more each day. For ourselves and our daughters…

  116. 195
    Brenda Jensen says:

    I love my eyes…they are hazel, and aren’t the same size, but I’ve always thought they were lovely. I love that I am the mother of 5, mom in law to 3 more, and grandmother to 6 going on 8. I still don’t “love” my squishy belly, but my husband tells me, every once in a while, that he appreciates my sacrifice to have kids. And that makes me know that I’m okay, and it doesn’t matter if I eat ice cream (or key lime pie) when I need to. I love that I am trying to be healthier, and more fit, and am not worried about fitting into those clothes from oh-so-long ago. :) I’m pretty happy being me.

  117. 196
    jackie linder says:

    I love that I am a woman of faith. I love that I am not afraid to proclaim my saviors name, but I struggle with my body image ofen. I do not like to let anyone see that I feel awful about my body but I feel like it is almost obvious how uncomfortable I am in my own skin…but the one thing I never want to be uncomfortable with or awful about is my faith in my lord and savior Jesus Crist, because he has transformed my life from the inside and I know it glows on the outside as well :)

  118. 197

    My teeth :-) My parents sunk a lot of money into making them straight when I was a kid. And, coupled with the blessing of never having had a cavity, it gives me the confidence to smile at people, even when I don’t want too LOL

  119. 198

    My hands… they are hardworking hands that can do everything from play piano to plant a garden.

    I love reading this excerpt from your book and am looking forward to reading it!

  120. 199

    I love my bum!

  121. 200
    Amy Pignatella Cain says:

    I love my hair, but this is certainly a topic that I struggle with. Thank you for the opportunity to win this book!

  122. 201

    I battle this all the time. My self-imagine is something I struggle with often. I also find it hard to talk about because people don’t understand how I can have these issues since I’m naturally thin. If it starts to bother me, my husband is good about trying to reassure me and usually says something similar to “But that’s where my babies were.” However, I don’t feel beautiful, so I usually don’t really believe him, I just feel that he has to say that because I’m his wife. I think this book is right up my ally!

    I love how I truly feel grateful and blessed for the many wonderful people in my life and try to show them my appreciation. On the physical side, I love my hair.

    I am currently pregnant with my fifth child and know how truly blessed I am. I’ve known since I was little that I wanted to be a mommy and am so thankful that getting pregnant has been too easy for me!

  123. 202
    Chrystalin says:

    I love that ,as a 40 year old mother of seven, people around me often give me parenting advice when I’m out with my 4 year old and find it impossible to believe that I have a 22 year old :)

  124. 203
    Kathryn cross says:

    I love my hands and my feet, I have long and slender fingers and toes! Something’s I’ve struggled with my hole love is my stomach except when I was pregnant. I’m learning to love myself more and more for my girls sake and my husbands sake but it’s a battle every day. This books looks like a beautiful tribute to motherhood.

  125. 204

    I love that I have more confidence now, as a 32 year old mother of two, than ever before. My body is not what it was pre-babies, and I mourned that loss. But the confidence and self-assurance that I gained is worth the trade of :). And my precious sons…they are more than worth the stretch marks, flabby belly, and saggy boobs!

  126. 205

    I love my smile! Thanks for this giveaway.

  127. 206
    Hillarey says:

    I love that I’m tall… and my eyes!

  128. 207

    I have always been proud of how strong I am. Even when it looks softer and I have an extra ten pounds on my frame, I look like an athlete. I also love my height-being tall is something that took a while for me to embrace growing up, but I really do like being tall.

  129. 208
    Gretchen says:

    This was so great to read today! I gave birth to my incredible daughter six months ago and it’s been a struggle being comfortable in my own skin. Something I’ve grappled with since adolescence. I do take comfort in my nose. I have a very nice nose!

  130. 209
    Tracey V says:

    I love my smile. I love seeing others smile just because I smile at them!

  131. 210
    Whitney says:

    I joke about hating my boats but I deep down love my huge feet… They keep me upright and they are a nice looking pair!

  132. 211
    Miranda says:

    I love that I am able to make milk to feed my 8 week old. It’s amazes me every day that my body can do that :).

  133. 212

    Lisa Jo, you are becoming the hero to the ‘mature bellied’ mama. Grace for our waistlines, grace for the balloon belly, grace for all these lines, wrinkles and gray hairs…I think I feel a blog post coming on!

  134. 213

    I must like my face because, at 37, I have decided I don’t need makeup…not just on the weekends or over the summer but even when I go to work. I refuse to participate in the rat race of worrying about how I compare to the other women in a room. I am me, and that is enough.

  135. 214

    I love that my body continues to make milk for my one year old little man. It is quite the miracle, nursing!

  136. 215

    I. Love the fact the I love to read- cuz if I didn’t – than I would not have ever read this and it meant apt to me to read it! ( I think that was a run on sentence ?!) (smile)

  137. 216

    As a Mom of 3 boys and 1 girl I realize this is something I need to do for myself and my daughter, embrace the body that delivered 4 healthy children into this world. It’s hard. I do like my legs though, still muscular! :)

  138. 217

    My hands. I remember looking at and feeling my grandparents and parents hands as a child in comparison to my own smooth hands. i loved that…the stories in the scars, wrinkles and freckles always intrigued me. Now that my hands are no longer childlike, have their own scars, freckles and the beginnings of wrinkles, I find my children feeling my hands in that same way.

  139. 218

    I love my stretch marks and my c-section scar – they remind me that I carried my beautiful twins inside me and that body is an amazing thing. I love my eyes, which often defy me by giving away my feelings when I don’t want them to, but they also giveaway my love and happiness to my family always! I love my arms and legs, which have both gotten stronger by carrying my children and playing with them. Don’t get me wrong, I wish my stomach was slighly flatter and my waist a little smaller. But, I wouldn’t trade the body I have now for my babies in a million years!

  140. 219
    Lindsey Reese says:

    One thing I love about myself. I love the fact that since my daughter has been born I have cut my beauty regimen down from 90 minutes to 20 minutes and I still feel beautiful! I spend less time on my hair and make up- I used to double-triple check how my make up, hair, tummy and butt looked before giving myself the stamp of approval to leave the house. Now my beauty is found in knowing my body is clean and lightly enhanced with a stroke of blush and blink if mascara. My 9 week post partum body still robed in maternity clothes. In spite of the new reality of how I define beauty I find myself most beautiful when I hold my daughter who is growing everyday because I care for her with so much attention I have forgotten to over analyze myself! I am strengthened by knowing she is nourished by my body! I am so thankful that I have written this today. It is the first time I’ve put ‘pen to paper’ to express this new me!!

  141. 221
    Jennifer Harris says:

    I love my bright, blue eyes. And I love the fact that I have passed them to my boys.

  142. 222

    I love my sense of humor and my hair!

  143. 223

    My legs. They are strong, they help me run, and they look mighty fine in a skirt. :)

  144. 224

    I like my eyes and my smile. Thay are both uniquely mine and remind me of my heritage.

  145. 225

    My hands. They show the years of sewing and gardening, and all the stuff, Mums get to do, and yet they still look great.

  146. 226

    I love how I love. I struggle with liking myself, but I am always proud of how I can make other people feel. It feels great to do that. I also spell like a champ!

    Would LOVE to read this book!

  147. 227

    I love my eyes and smile.

  148. 228

    I love my breasts! Soft, warm and still fairly perky! They provide food for my baby, a pillow for my toddler and stress balls for my husband. And for me…well they look pretty good when I’m naked…and in the new top I just bought..and what’s brilliant about them is that there are two of them – plenty to go round!

  149. 230
    AineMistig says:

    I love the part of my face where, as my boy would say, the Ninja Turtle facemask would go — my high cheekbones, my almond-shaped eyes, my brow. It is a gift from my father who died before I could know him, the only lasting emblem from native american roots winding way back through the generations. It is a gift that was passed down to both of my sons, especially my first, who is the spitting image of my father and me. I love this piece of us, that shows we are connected more than any family name could.

  150. 231

    I love my eyes. I have dark brown eyes and I’ve always believed that a persons eyes are the windows to their souls. I am thankful for my eyes.

  151. 232

    I love that even though my body has been through so much due to chronic illness, it was able to create and hold life for nine months and continue nourish my little one through breastfeeding for 19 months (and counting). This is a continual wonder to me – one for which I will always be thankful

  152. 233

    I love my nose – it’s the same one my mom and sister have, and now my daughter, too!

  153. 234
    melissa says:

    i would love to have the opportunity to talk to u i’m definitely gonna look into your books they look very inspiring…i look forwars to speaking with u
    thank u
    melissa

    • 235
      melissa says:

      lol my bad i lost the rest of my posting:
      i am very inspired by your writing and it’s good to know that there are other women out there who feel the same as many who are too shy or whatever to speak about things…i’m a 32 year old woman with 5 sons (3 stepsons but their mine; all ages from 14, 14, 12, 10 and 1)…i’ve had a hard life and started to seriously love myself maybe at about 24 or so…after my 1st son i couldn’t lose much at all and had gained 85 lbs. during that pregnancy with a difficult birth and trauma to my son…but he’s my miracle baby and now he’s 14 going on 25 lol but i’m sooooo truly blessed for my life, my children, my fiancee and first and foremost God for carrying me thru everyday…and what do i love about myself??? EVERYTHING i know deep down that God has made me to his perfection and noone else’s and it took me a looooong time to realize that and still work on my downfalls but no matter what love myself (all of me) no matter what battles, words or difficulties come my way…so yea i love me lol if you meant a physical appearance hmmmmm i’d have to say my eyes and smile…thanks for this i never blogged lol

  154. 236
    Marissa says:

    I love my sensitivity to the beauty of gods creation! I wish i had an easier time putting myself in that category sometimes though. I tend to treat myself like I don’t count when I think of all the beauty god created.

  155. 237

    This was so great for me to read. Between my vertical c-section, an immediate abdominal surgery that followed to remove a bizarre massive (thank The Lord, benign) tumor, and a later surgery to repair an incisional hernia as a result, my once-flat stomach is not only not flat but covered in scars. I try to remind myself of the perfect beauty that came from these scars. And that does help, because my baby girl is absolutely amazing – beautiful, smart, spirited & funny. I will say I love my arms, because they have the privilege of holding her and rocking her and comforting her. Thanks for this post.

  156. 238
    Pamela Koop says:

    I cried…this is beautifully written and very convicting! I would love to read the book! The thing I love about myself is that I have learned (am learning) to laugh with my children and be silly, even when my first instinct is to “get the job done”!

  157. 239

    my thick blonde hair, full of body

  158. 240

    I love my legs! I love the current styles that are allowing for the billowy shirts to hide the floppy tummy and the close-fitting pants that make me look like a graceful woman :) I also love the idea expressed here, of loving my new body and celebrating what it has been through. Its hard to watch movies and TV and see so many beautiful young women with the flat stomachs and the tight muscles. I loved when Pam on The Office was pregnant in real life, because it took longer for her body to bounce back than after her character’s first “fictional” pregnancy. And I never deny myself pie…or cupcakes!

  159. 241
    Rebecca says:

    It’s hard to find something I really like about me, I mean I really have to think. I like my skin, it’s very smooth and unblemished (I do have stretch marks but that’s on my stomach mainly). I have pretty feet too.

  160. 242

    How I smile and laugh so easily! (This book is so important. Bravo, Em!)

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