Learning to Love My Unedited Self


I’m not sure when I first noticed the bulge around my belly, but it’s probably been a couple of years now. My early thirties saw me birth three children via cesareans back-to-back-to-back. I’m still not clear on what we were thinking, except that shortly thereafter my husband and I looked each other and thought, “Whoa. . .” And it gave us pause.

An advocate of maintaining a strong core, I have been sucking in my gut since the tender age of 12. It was then that I first recognized my hourglass shape – something I’ve taken pride in most of my life. While magazine covers were full of women with more slender and muscular tones, I smiled coyly, knowing I was simply born in the wrong decade, and could have been a circa 1950’s pin-up model (you know, for my husband’s eyes only). I digress.

Friendship Over Figure

My perspective shifted recently, when I refused to accept a tagged photo (see below) my friend shared on Facebook. It showed me and two of my closest college and post-college pals in a warm embrace on the couch. But all I could see  was my stomach was quite obviously (to me) sticking out over my pants. It was a glorious moment in time, yet, I didn’t want that image of me floating through cyberspace.

I have spoken with fellow mamas, and while some sympathize, others roll their eyes and accuse me of being ridiculous. “You’re super skinny!” they say. At just under 5 feet tall, I have a petite frame. Still, this whole having a protruding midsection thing (with no baby in it – even whilst sucking it in!) is relatively new. Perhaps it’s because I’m slowly approaching 40 (you know, if you round my age up) or that doughnuts are my weakness and sometimes I cave.

Just the Way I Am

Whatever the cause, I have presently decided to embrace my body as is. Not in a couple of months when the sun comes out and I’m more apt to walk. Or in the fall when I hope to hit the gym. Or when I’m 20 pounds lighter. Not when I star in my first movie and Salma Hayek is my stunt double (I’ve never lacked in imagination). Now.

You see, I’ve been here before, with each of my three blessings, one boy and two girls. Times when I literally felt like a beached whale on South Padre Island. I would look at photos of myself then and think, “Geez, I’m huge.” I look at those memories now, and I’m absolutely radiant. I can’t find a single blemish in myself worth mentioning. Then, imperfections clouded much of what I saw.

Thus, I am adjusting my sight in the present, knowing I will look back on this year’s photos one day and marvel at the beauty I possess in this stage of life, a mother of three young children.

Also, if Jennifer Garner (who works with a trainer and watches what she eats most of the time) still has a belly, what hope is there for me?! I follow her on Instagram; suffice it to say we’re lifelong friends. For real, though, click the link!

Solidarity, ladies! I’m embracing this pooch, and hope you will, too!

Previous articleWho are RGV Moms?
Next articleSpring DIY: Spray Paint
Giana Gallardo Hesterberg is a native RGV (Brownsville) mom. After graduating from Central College in Pella, Iowa (2004) with a degree in Elementary Education, and residing in the midwest for 7 years, she returned to her roots and married her love. Happily married for 9 years (to Beau), with 3 children (Jack-7, Cecily-4, and Felicity-2) and 1 dog (Hershey, a Chocolate Lab), she is currently living the dream. She is a teacher for VIPKID, a company that trains American teachers to teach ESL to Chinese students online. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging, gardening, baking, traveling, and dancing to 80’s music whenever and wherever it’s played! She has written for Woman’s World, The Mighty, Earnest and God-sized Dreams.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here