‘My daughter would question why I wasn’t wearing a two-piece bathing suit. I would tell her, ‘Mommy just doesn’t feel comfortable in it.”

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Today I took a picture of myself in a bikini and may I add that I didn’t filter it.

Let the shock set in.

But, I also didn’t share the picture — until now, that is.

Today I took a picture of myself in a bikini because I needed to prove to myself that I was worthy of wearing a bikini.

Worthy?

Seems like a strange word to use when referencing your attire; but yes, for a very long time and since birthing three amazing children, I haven’t quite felt like I am a model candidate for bikini-wearing.

For a few summers now, my seven-year-old has enjoyed wearing age-appropriate two-pieces, the cutest of which have been the toddler bikinis with her little ‘I-drank-too-much-milk-and-ate-too-many-snacks’ baby gut on display.

Ain’t nothing cuter than that. I mean seriously, any of my little munchkins in their bathing suits give the Coppertone kid a run for their money.

I would say, though, beginning last summer, my daughter would question me as to why I wasn’t wearing a two-piece bathing suit.

I would tell her “Mommy just doesn’t feel comfortable in it,” and when she would push for me to explain what I meant I would just deflect the conversation and bring up a new topic.

I know that I am supposed to model a positive body image for my daughter.

I know that I am supposed to exemplify body self-confidence.

I know that I shouldn’t engage in negative self-talk in front of any of my children, and I sure as heck am aware that I should never make it sound as though my or any person’s appearance is what matters about them. Still, I wore the one-piece, and I’ve worn it pretty often in recent years.

And, on the rare occasions that I decided to be brave enough to bare my belly, I ended up hiding it with an oversized-tank, the hubs t-shirt, or a beach cover-up.

That was…until this past weekend!

Can you believe it?

I actually went to a pool party and wore a bikini and guess what? I wasn’t as self-conscious as I thought I would be.

In fact, it felt good to kind of rock a “this is me” attitude and own my body, flaws and all.

Do I want to get in better shape? Of course, I do.

Would I like my boobs to sag a little less and maybe grow or perk up some? Certainly.

Would I like my stretch marks to go away? I’m not quite so sure.

While I would love to be more toned and look better in a bikini, I found myself looking down at my lower belly fluff and faded stretch marks and then over to my kids and thinking “this body gave me them.”

And for that, well, at a minimum, I owe my body kind words when I speak of it, and I owe it a selfie which I will happily share.

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Nicole Merritt of Jthreenme, where the post originally appeared. You can follow her on Facebook, her website or podcast

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