Love Your Body: Operation Acceptance


by Sarah Valois

Going along with Tara’s posts on body acceptance, I’ve begun reflecting on my own self love journey. Well, more like trying to get out of a self hate rut.

After becoming pregnant with my first, I felt pretty lucky. Eight months into it, I looked great with my perfect belly. Until one day, BAM! Stretch marks. Seriously, they came out of no where! Fast forward to after labor and recovery and I reached my pre pregnancy weight with in a year but those damned stretch marks were there to scar me forever. But I didn’t know how good I had it until I became pregnant with my second.

My body is comfortable between 130-135lbs. Right before delivery, I weighed in at a whopping 195lbs. I let myself go a little bit. But my belly was also bigger this time around. If I thought stretch marks were bad, nothing compared to the lose skin.

My kids are older now; my youngest will be turning three in a few months and I’m still battling my body woes daily. Some days I won’t even look in the mirror so I can repress all the negativity I feel towards my body. I have stretch marks everywhere from my boobs, near my armpits, the inside of my thighs, my hips and tummy. It is what it is. It’s not going away and it won’t get better if and when I have more children. Here is a picture of me, two years and ten months after giving birth to my second child.


Look at that tummy. Do you know what that tummy did last year? It ran FIVE 5k races. What does it matter what it looks like? On the inside, I am a BEAST. I’m trudging through the mud day in and day out. Regardless of what my body looks like after growing two human beings inside of me, I couldn’t be more proud of myself.

I am making 2013 MY year to learn to love myself. I am done comparing myself and my life to others. This is my journey and nobody can walk it for me. 2013 will be the year I make peace with myself.


  1. Awesome post, and bravo on the photo share! When you said “some days I won’t even look in the mirror,” it made me want to encourage you not to. I have been hearing from a lot of people (mostly women, of course) who are going on “mirror fasts.” Meaning: don’t look in the mirror for a couple days, a week, a month…however long you can stand. Ideally, long enough to understand that you can still go about your daily life without it.

    Now that I’m a SAHM, I have had to learn that no one else really cares what I look like and no one notices when my hair looks better or worse than it did yesterday — it’s not like I’m going to the same place every day. You’d probably find the same is true re: what your tummy looks like. Our minds can amplify our faults to the point where we think that’s all anyone sees. It’s comforting to know that they don’t give a crap, because they’re too busy looking at themselves in the mirror.

    • Chelsea – you are so right! Everybody IS too busy looking at themselves to notice others, I know I am. And a mirror fast sounds like a great idea.

  2. Love the post Sarah! I gotta say I was feeling worried about what my tummy will look like after baby number two (first was a c-section) I Googled images and found your post.
    I struggle with how I looked before to how I will look after babies..mainly because I am worried of no longer being appealing to my husband. Sad but true. I realize it’s just a matter of reinventing myself and accepting the new me. This is hard but possible, but I wonder if it will be doable for the man that I will spend the rest of my life with? Many say confidence is sexy, but is it sexy enough in a world that constantly places ridiculous pressures on the female body. Back in the day, women with curves were considered extremely beautiful, now it’s flat abs and no stretch marks 8 months post baby, absolutely insane as many women will never be able to attain this (for the sake of genetics alone!). If I had the means, my passion would be to start a magazine for females that embraced their bodies at all stages of life. I would never place a single anti wrinkle ‘miracle’ cream add in my magazine, or an add to physically alter oneself to ‘improve confidence’. I am sick of seeing, reading, hearing on how women need to fight against the natural processes of life. My daughters will grow up knowing they are beautiful just as they are no matter what anyone says. Sooo Operation Acceptance is now my slogan. Thanks to you and also you must know we are are harshest critics because when I saw your photo I thought ok that I can do, cause you look great! God only knows if I’ll be as small as you afterwards, but if not, I’m going to love it anyways!

    • Rebecca – every feeling you just let out is exactly how I felt/feel. What’s even worse is I am no longer with my children’s father and am dating someone who’s my age with no kids.. which means everything about my life (and body) is new to him. I’m lucky that this man is probably the one who I will spend the rest of my life with but I still can’t help feel that he may be missing out on someone else because he’s “stuck” with me (*cough* my body). I’m sure if he read what I just wrote he’d whack me upside the head. But still. Aside from my tummy, I HATE my boobs. I mean, I only nursed for ONE month and they changed completely. So yes, I struggle with my inner demons and wonder how on earth I can let my inner sexual goddess out. And I can tell you my sex life could be much better if only I’d start seeing myself better so I can open my horizons. We’re both on Operation Acceptance together and I hope you succeed on this very difficult journey! Also, there is a fantastic facebook page I follow about a fit mom of three who looks UH-mazing. – Check her out, she’s wonderful, real, and posts everyday.

  3. Hello Sarah,
    I am now an author and editor at Young Moms Club and I think that you and other moms like us would love the website that I work on to reach out to other women. I recently wrote a blog post that I think that you would be interested in. I have also struggled with my self-image. We all have trouble losing weight after giving birth, getting fit and just feeling comfortable in our own skin after having children. Self love is key to reaching fitness goals and overall happiness. Please take a look and leave me a comment as well.


  1. […] and there should be no reason why I still carry around this “baby weight.” My original Operation Acceptance post goes in depth about the emotions and insecurities I struggle with on a day to day basis. Hence […]