Loving the skin I'm in - A Namibian mom’s story
I’ve had struggles with my body image for the longest time. No matter what age I was, there was always something I absolutely hated about my body.
I hated how skinny I was as a child right into my teens. By the time I gained weight in my late 20s, I hated that instead of entering womanhood with the famous hourglass figure, all the weight instead lumped up in all the wrong places. Let's not even mention my pregnancy body which stretched from a tiny 55KG to 70KGs complete with a larger than life nose, more stretchmarks and a fupa I’m still struggling to get rid of six years later.
I particularly hated my scars for as long as I remember, I’d always cover them up to avoid stares and murmurs and it wasn’t until my thirties that I stopped caring what people thought. Looking back, it saddens me that it took me that long to overcome all my insecurities and I pray that my daughter never feels that way about her body.
I hope that no one ever makes her feel so insecure about herself that she feels the need to hide from the world. I want this so much for her because it was because of her that I finally started to appreciate my own beauty.
You see, motherhood has taught me so much about body positivity. The responsibility that comes with being your daughter’s first role model is one hell of a wake-up call to relook the way you see yourself. Knowing that my child is always watching and listening to how I talk about or view my body is a constant reminder to love the skin I am in.
The way I talk about my body around her, the way I carry myself, how I care for my physical, spiritual and mental health - she’s watching all of it and that is setting a foundation for how she will do things as an adult.
Age has also come with the wisdom to know that corny as the line maybe, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. So while I felt ugly all of my childhood and never got the praise and compliments I so craved while growing up, my confidence as an adult has me radiating and on most days, I feel so beautiful that I don’t care if anyone agrees or not.
I’ve made it a priority to take care of this body, which is the only one I’ll have for the rest of my days. Nothing is easy about this because the pressures of looking a certain way as a woman remain. The expectation for women (even those of us whose bodies have stretched out to bring life on earth) to have a certain body size, flawless skin and no imperfections continue to plague us as women. But while this does affect my self-confidence and how I see myself, I’ve made great strides in changing the way I see my body.
I’ve learned to go easy on the negative talk about my body
I’ve learned to accept every scar, all my stretch mark and all the cellulite on my body
I’ve learned to take better care of my physical, mental and spiritual well-being
Above all, I’ve learned that loving my body is a continuous journey and even though I have some way to go, I’ve come a very long way from that skinny teenager who hated everything about her body. I actually love my body now and celebrate the fact that it has carried me so well for so long.