A Message To Moms Who Are Afraid To Wear A Bathing Suit
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A Message To Moms Who Are Afraid To Wear A Bathing Suit

You're not alone.

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A Message To Moms Who Are Afraid To Wear A Bathing Suit
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This past weekend, my family and I celebrated the 36th wedding anniversary of my husband’s aunt and uncle. The invitation stated that there would be food, fun, games, and a pool. As I read the invitation, my heart started to flutter with anxiety, just as it always does when I see that swimming will be a part of the festivities. I know how to swim pretty well (and by pretty well, I mean I can get from point A to point B without drowning). I have never been afraid of water. The anxiety comes from the hatred I have grown for my own body.

The only time in my entire life I have ever been thin was when I combined extreme dieting with extreme workouts, both of which I despise. Without the extreme diet and exercise, I normally floated around 160 pounds (a number I would give anything to see on my scale nowadays). But an unexpected pregnancy combined with stress eating due to my husband deploying resulted in my weight reaching numbers I never would have believed I would see on my scale. That, along with the 5,000,000 stretch marks I accumulated during my pregnancy has made me disgusted with what I have let my body become.

So, I stopped buying bathing suits, I would “forget” to bring something for myself to swim in, and I watched from the side of the pool, with my feet dangling in the water, as my husband tried to get our daughter used to the “really big bath tub.” We showed up to the party, ate delicious food, played board games, and had so much fun. As the day progressed, my husband decided he would try taking our daughter in the pool, and for the first time ever, she loved it! She was splashing and kicking her feet, and like always, there I was on the side just watching. This time was different though. I saw my daughter laughing and smiling and having an incredible time, and I wanted to be in the pool with her. For half a second, I debated diving into the pool, clothes and all, just so I could experience the fun with my family.

While sitting there and regretting my decision to not bring anything to swim in, I was approached by my husband’s cousin, who had a solution to my problem. She offered to let me use her swim suit, and so returned my anxiety. I told her that I was okay and that I don’t really like swimming. She continued to tell me that her suit was very modest and that I could look at it and then decide, as she obviously saw straight through my sad attempt at a lie. When she showed it to me, I was still nervous and very unsure, despite her being right about the suit being modest. It’s what she said that changed my mind. She told me to go have fun with my daughter. So I did.

I put on the swim suit, I jumped in the pool, and I had so much fun. I forgot about how uncomfortable I felt. I forgot about my stretch marks. I forgot about how much I hate what my body has become. I forgot about the anxiety. I forgot it all because the only thing I could see was the huge smile on my daughter’s face and all I could hear were her giggles and babbling. She wrapped her little arms around my neck and hugged me tight, and in that moment I realized that she didn’t care about my stretch marks, my jiggly thighs, or my oversized belly. She was happy because I was experiencing this wonderful new thing with her, and not just watching from the side while cheering her on. She made me see that I need to love myself the way she loves me; unconditionally and blindly despite my obvious flaws.

After we were done swimming, I went to the bathroom to change back into my clothes, and I cried a little, but not because I was embarrassed or my anxiety returned. I cried because I was sad that I had missed out on our previous attempts to get our daughter to enjoy the swimming pool. I cried because I was ashamed of myself for being so selfish that it took me almost a year and a half to get over my insecurities and put my daughter’s happiness first. But most of all, I cried because I was overjoyed that I had so much fun with my family in a situation that has caused me so much stress for such a long time.

Now that I think of it, I don’t know what I was so scared of. I was surrounded by family. A family that I was lucky enough to marry into. A family that has made me feel so welcome and loved from the moment I said “I do.” A family that doesn’t care what I look like. A family that I love being a part of. I have only one thing to say to all moms that are afraid to wear a bathing suit; go have fun with your child. Put on that swim suit (or baggy shirt and shorts, if that would make you feel more comfortable), go swimming, and listen to the giggles and happy babbling. Forget about your insecurities long enough to jump in that pool, and I can promise you, it will be worth it. Nothing feels better than to be a part of your child’s happiness.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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