I Am Worthy: Bikini Body Vow

After having three kids in under four years, after turning 35, after having four abdominal surgeries, I thought bikinis were off limits. Then I realized I was being an idiot.


When I see women and girls of all ages and sizes, shapes and forms baring it in a bikini, I appreciate them and their individual beauty. Scars, cellulite, wrinkles, stretch marks, rolls, rib bones, freckles, skin variations… it doesn’t matter what the wearer looks like, I think she’s fabulous. I have yet to see a bikini wearer and think she is unworthy of the ensemble. So why did I deem myself unworthy?

I told myself I was too scarred, too imperfect, too “Mom” for a bikini. I knew how physically comfortable bikinis were but how mentally challenging they could be (especially now that I didn’t constantly have a crying/sleeping/cuddling/nursing baby blocking my midsection from view.) Yet one-pieces didn’t feel right either, and were way too uncomfortable. I’d look at matronly maillots and moan, but see a two-piece and think: “I can’t wear that.” Until I asked myself: “Why not?”

Why was everyone else a reasonable bikini body candidate except for me? Why did I berate myself whenever I donned a two-piece? Why was I unworthy?


Because I had scars? Because I was insecure? Because I was imperfect? Because I was a mom? But aren’t those the exact reasons I SHOULD wear a bikini?

Being scarred meant I’d survived. I’d lived. That my body had surpassed hurdles and won. Did I really want to hide that? Did I want my children to think that their own scars were ugly? That these signs of life should be hidden? Did I want my children to view themselves or others as lesser because of their external marks?


Being imperfect was being human. Being imperfect was being unique. Individual. I told my children to take pride in their individuality. Should I not value my own? Could my children  truly honor their own uniqueness if their mother lamented and hid her own?


Being insecure meant I should counter my desire to hide my perceived imperfections and, instead, love them if not simply accept them. Society tells us that surgical scars are grotesque, that stretch marks are unattractive, that an imperfect midsection is unworthy of exposure. Did I want to impart those demeaning messages onto my children?


Being a mom meant I needed the utilitarianism of a two-piece bathing suit (Hello, peeing in a public pool restroom with a toddler resting his fingers on the door lock!) It meant I likely required a different size top and bottom. It meant I’d earned every damn stretch mark and scar I had. It meant this body didn’t just do… it MADE. This body grew and birthed three lives, sustained those lives through breastmilk for a minimum of a year and a half each, and nourished 30 other babies through peer-to-peer milk donation. Was that achievement not to be celebrated? Did I want to show my children that the remnants of their creation, the souvenirs of their births, the signs of their nourishment were shameful? Should I indicate that the raw strength and soft beauty of a postpartum body are to be concealed? To be hidden in disgust?


Realizing the idiocy of it all, I said: SCREW SOCIETY! Heck, screw myself for believing that slop and imposing it on myself! I made a vow to myself — for my children — that I would wear only bikini bathing suits (no one-pieces) all summer in order to show to them and myself that all bodies are beautiful, that scars are a sign of survival — of life lived –, that moms are beautiful too.


At first I felt jittery with my midriff bared at the pool and then at the beach. I had to silence that internal voice telling me others were judging. I reminded myself: so what if they were! That’s their problem, not mine. Others’ thoughts — perceived or real — were none of my business and shouldn’t confine me.

Day after summery day, I became more comfortable. More confident. I was content in my own skin. I rocked my scars. I shrugged off any jiggle. I smiled at the stretch marks. I owned my physique. I was standing as an example for my children to accept themselves and others as beautiful individuals. I was happy.


I don’t want my children feeling lesser because of their scars; I want them to rock them as badges of honor! I don’t want my children feeling ashamed of their bodies; I want them to cherish them as gorgeously unique vessels! I want my children to appreciate others’ uniqueness as well. Because we’re all different. And different is beautiful. Scars, sags, stretch marks, and all.


I’m a 35-year-old mom with scars and, yes, I wear a bikini. Because I’m scarred. Because I’m imperfect. Because I’m a mom. Because I’m worthy.

My Amoeba and Me

“You’re an amoeba; you can fit in anywhere.” My husband told me. As it turns out, our 5-year-old is an amoeba too.


“She does well socially in the classroom” my eldest’s kindergarten teacher said during our parent-teacher conference, “she finds friends easily in here. It takes her a little while on the playground to find which group she’d like to join. I think the playground environment is a lot for her with the big equipment and all of the children running. She has many choices at her disposal.” I nodded deeply in distinct personal recognition of this tendency. “Sometimes she chooses to play alone,” the teacher explained, “but, more often than not, she joins different groups after getting acclamated. As long as she’s not always playing alone, it’s not of concern. She gets along well with others.” I was not worried. I understood.

As a person who is anti-clique and pro-inclusion, I rarely allow myself to settle comfortably into the boundaries of a clique. Our daughter, it seems, is the same way. I knew I needed to talk with her so that she knew this nomadic social tendency was ok. That, though stressful at times, it can be a wonderful trait.

On our way to the playground that afternoon, I brought up the parent-teacher conference. I turned off the car radio and glanced in the rear view mirror at her as I talked. “Your teacher said you behave beautifully in class,” I said, “Daddy and I are proud of you. Good job!” She smiled. “I heard you have an easy time finding friends when you’re in the classroom. That’s nice!” She listed some of her favorite classroom friends. “I heard that sometimes on the playground it can take you a bit to choose which group you’d like to join. Do you know why you hesitate to join a group?” I asked. “Sometimes I don’t know what I want to play, so I don’t know who to play with.” She explained.

“I know it can be hard sometimes not knowing right away what group to join,” I said, “it can make you feel nervous and lonely. But it’s also really good to be like that too. Do you know why?” She shook her head. “Say you’re on the playground and want to play ‘family.’ If you were only friends with one group of people and they were playing ‘My Little Pony’, you’d be stuck either playing by yourself or playing what the group was playing. But, if you’re friends with people from different groups you may find one group is playing ‘tag’, another is playing on the monkey bars, and one may be playing ‘family.’ You’d get to choose which group to join because you weren’t stuck with just one group. Then, the next day, you may feel like playing ‘My Little Pony’, so you’d know exactly which group to find that day. Does that make sense?” She said it did and rehashed the lesson in her own words, telling me which group she enjoyed joining for which games.

“It’s ok to play alone sometimes too,” I said. “Mommy liked to play alone a lot as a kid. It’s good to be able to entertain yourself. As long as you’re not always playing alone.” She agreed. “And we never exclude. Do you understand?” She got it.

My little amoeba. Like mother, like daughter.