Put on that Swimsuit

by jessicaturner on June 20, 2014

It’s been five years since I first wrote about putting on a swimsuit and going swimming with your kids, but I continue to receive emails and comments about that post. I decided it was time to revisit the topic – with some new and old thoughts.

Put on that swimsuit - a call for making memories this summer #summer #motherhood #beauty
You’ve got two choices every summer  – to put on a swimsuit or to skip it.

I have a lot of friends who do the latter.

They go to the pool with their kids, but they only put their feet in the pool. They sit on the sidelines, too concerned about what they look like and what others will think to embrace the joy of swimming with their kids.

Or they go to the beach, but stay under the umbrella instead of running into the ocean.

And it makes me incredibly sad.

Because when women stay on the sidelines because of insecurity, we are modeling unhealthy behavior to our children and we are missing out.

Your swimsuit does not define you.

That soft tummy you are trying to hide? Has stretched and grown life.

Those thighs that have long lost their gap? Gave you the strength to carry that beach ball for 9 months, then walk with life hanging on your hips for years after.

You are a mother. You are beautiful.

Don’t wear a veil of shame this summer. Put that swimming suit on.

When we went to the beach in April, I weighed a few pounds more than I wanted to. But you know what?

I put my swimsuit on anyway and RAN INTO THE OCEAN with my kids.

Put on that swimsuit - a call for making memories this summer #summer #motherhood #beauty We laughed and splashed and had the best time. Spending that time IN THE WATER with my children made such a difference.

That night, I asked Elias what his favorite part of being at the beach was and you know what he said? “Running on the beach with you and Daddy.”

With you.

A few weeks after that beach trip, I found out I was pregnant. Every week this summer I am a little rounder than the week before. But you know what?

I still put on my swimming suit every chance I get and go swimming with my kids. They love swimming. And I love being with them.

Last weekend, I put on my swimsuit, looked at myself in the mirror and took a deep breath. I’m already showing at just 11 weeks. But it looks more like too many potato chips than a baby. :) As I came out of the bathroom, Matthew said, “you look pretty in your suit, baby.”

I said, “Really?”

“Yes, really.”

I embraced his words, wanting to demonstrate beauty and confidence for my kids. I wanted to have fun and make memories at that pool.

I refuse to miss my children’s high-pitched, pool-induced giggles because of my insecurities.

I refuse to let other women’s judging eyes at the pool prevent me from exposing their eyes to the wonder the sun glittering on the water.

I refuse to let my self-image influence my children’s.

I refuse to sacrifice memories with my children because of a soft tummy.

Because at the end of the day, it is not about me.

It is about my kids.

I want them to remember twirling in the water with their mom.

I want them to remember splash fights together.

I want them to remember jumping off the edge of the pool into my arms.

I want them to remember that their mom was there, with them.

Today, I hope to encourage you to push your insecurities aside. Put on that bathing suit. Run through the sprinkler. Jump in the pool. Splash.

Have fun.

Your child will remember those moments and your freedom – not how you looked in your swimming suit.

If this post resonated with you, please share it on Facebook or Twitter. Let’s encourage other moms to put on that swimsuit this weekend.

Put on that swimsuit - a call for making memories this summer #summer #motherhood #beauty

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{ 330 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber Greuel June 20, 2014 at 6:38 am

Powerful post! I have always been confident and have held the outlook of “just do it”. I don’t even think twice before putting my tankini on and splashing around with my son. Some of my best memories are us at the pool, in our background in the sprinkler, at the YMCA, in the ocean, and at a waterpark. Today, we are leaving for a waterpark hotel getaway in Wausau…and I am pretty pumped to take it all in with my boy…jumping into my arms :)

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Erica June 20, 2014 at 6:43 am

Oh, I love this! :) Thanks for sharing and you look great in that bathing suit!

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Christy wallace June 20, 2014 at 6:55 am

Jessica I love this! You look beautiful in your bathing suit! I feel the same way and will always put that bathing suit on for my kids. In fact I was 9 months pregnant last year on the beach last summer and I got a lot of stares and The same oh honey comments all week long, but I didn’t care because Kendall had so much fun that week and has talked about it almost everyday since! Next week when we leave for the beach my bathing suits will be packed and ready to be worn all week long! These are the days we need to value because they are gone all too soon and you can’t get them back. We have to make those memories now:). Thank you for such a great and uplifting post!

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terrie m June 20, 2014 at 7:36 am

Wonderfully said! You look great and your kids will remember that smile and the fun they had with YOU! God Bless You for writing this post!

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Diane Taylor June 20, 2014 at 7:36 am

Jessica – THANK YOU for your post. Long time reader, first time commenter. I lost my 24 year old son Jonathan 2 years ago in a fire (he is my only child) and after the numbness and shock wore off, I turned to food for comfort. I was always careful about my diet and exercise was a high priority with me (I used to get up at 4am every workday to get in my workout!!!). Since Jonathan’s death, I have gained almost 40 pounds. I haven’t put on a swimsuit since then. Two summers have come and gone and I have avoided the whole swimsuit issue. I am ashamed and so sad about where I am at right now. I avoid any social events, mainly because I don’t want to hear the whispers of “Oh boy she has really gained weight” behind my back. Reading your post made me realize that I really LOVE the ocean! It is my happy place! So – This weekend, I will go look for a suit that flatters my chubby body and make that trek to the beach. I miss it so much :( And I need that happy place so my heart can reall ybegin to heal.

Thanks again and have a great weekend!

xxoo – Diane

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April June 20, 2014 at 8:14 am

I’m praying for you today, Diane. Healing is an ever-evolving process and I’m praying for joy in the midst of mourning for you! I hope you wear that swimsuit proudly! Much love to you!

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Diane Taylor June 20, 2014 at 8:24 am

April – thank you so much :) :) Prayer is a wonderful thing, I appreciate you sending one my way!

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Stacy June 20, 2014 at 12:40 pm

I’m so sorry about the loss of your dear son. You don’t have to give anybody any excuses about anything! You have survived the loss of a child the best way you could. Don’t worry about what other people think of your weight gain, you will lose the weight when you are ready. You have been through the most terrible of losses. You should be an inspiration to your friends just because you can get up and get moving every day. Your journey is about getting to the other side of your grief, not about how you got there. I wish you comfort and peace as you move forward after this tragic loss.

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Diane Taylor June 23, 2014 at 7:54 am

Thank you so much Stacy. I do try not to think about how things have changed since that awful day in 2012. My grief support group has taught me that any little progress I make is good. Baby steps for sure. I hope I can help someone else one day who loses a child.

Sending you hugs and prayers today!

~dt~

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AW June 20, 2014 at 4:08 pm

My oldest son’s name is Jonathan. He is 6, almost 7, and an answered prayer after many years of infertility. I cannot imagine the grief you must have had and continue to have after burying your son. I’m so sorry. I pray your beach trip is one of healing and peace and renewed eyes for Life. Thank you for reminding me to hold tight to the present moment(s) with my boys…that nothing is guaranteed. Bless you Momma.

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Diane Taylor June 23, 2014 at 8:04 am

Thank you AW…..you know, I had 4 miscarriages before I had Jonathan. He was (and still is) my miracle child. I do feel blessed I was chosen to be his mom. And I got to have him for 24 years – a long time. Hold your boy tight, never let him go!

God Bless you – dt

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Shirley June 23, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Diane – you have a great attitude! I have also lost an adult child and I also appreciate that we had him for as long as we did! After all, our children are only loaned to us until it is time for them to pass over and do more important work… AND I love your attitude about getting a bathing suit! My image of my body , I am afraid, is something I need to work on….

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Brandi June 20, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Diane prayers going up for you! May God grant you healing & a peaceful weekend.

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Diane Taylor June 23, 2014 at 7:50 am

Brandi – THANK YOU! I so appreciate your prayers. (((HUGS)))

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Amanda June 21, 2014 at 12:28 am

I have a very scarred body thanks to emergency surgeries and recently had a baby. I went to the beach last summer and wore a suit and splashed and played, which I hadn’t done in years. If anyone was watching and judging, I didn’t know, because I had finally decided to choose joy. You are heavy on my heart tonight. I’m praying your heart will begin to heal, and that a beach trip would be filled with only beauty and joy.

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Diane Taylor June 23, 2014 at 8:06 am

Thank you Amanda – praying for you too. I hope we both can keep chosing joy!

xo – dt

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Judy June 21, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Praying that God’s mercy which is large and deep as the ocean will wash over you, healing wounds of sorrow.

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Diane Taylor June 23, 2014 at 8:07 am

Judy – thank you :) :) God’s mercy is what I cling to each and every day. I would be lost without his love :)

xo – dt

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Dot June 21, 2014 at 7:50 pm

I missed out on this when my kids were growing up because…well, I gained 100 pounds. Now that I have lost it, I have so much cellulite I still won’t put on a swimsuit. I admire your bravery.

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Michelle June 22, 2014 at 9:23 am

Congrats on your weight loss. PLEASE seize the day and choose brave. I am still 100 lb overweight and at 58 I don’t know if I will ever lose it; but I won’t miss out on beach/pool time with my grandkids. Don’t miss the fun and joy of these little ones!!

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Sis June 22, 2014 at 10:18 am

I don’t think they sell a swimsuit to fit anything over a size 14 in my area. WHERE do you find something to wear? I have trouble even finding bras my size! :(

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bnkrsmom June 22, 2014 at 10:31 am

I LOVE Lane Bryant. Their bathing suits are a bit pricy but they last. They also carry a nice selection of bras/panties. Not your granny panties but honesttop goodness fashionable and sexy styles for more voluptuous figures.

andipandi June 22, 2014 at 10:34 am

lane bryant, junonia.com, lands end… landsend has great quality. You can order online to your home and just return what you don’t like!

Sis June 22, 2014 at 10:42 am

Since I haven’t found anything I can get up past my knees – how will I know what will fit me? I’ll check out the websites and see if they have inches = sizes. It’s been rather humiliating to shop since I’ve gained this last 20 lb.

Carol June 22, 2014 at 11:07 am

I go to Catherines for the bra’s I need. They have a website if you don’t have one near you. It is catherines.com, if you sign up for their e-mail list they will send you specials all the time. I know that I don’t qualify for this web page, because I have never had kids. I also feel uncomfortable at times wearing shorts and swimsuits because I am overweight and have venous insufficiency in my legs, which causes bad staining of my lower legs.

Susan @reflectingmom June 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I posted pretty early on about a wonderful site for sizes 8 to 26, with separates going up to size 34.

http://Www.swimsuitsforall.com

I promise I don’t work for them, I just love that I can get fashionable even sexy suits for my plus size body! Anyone who has been plus size for very long knows what I’m talking about by not only feeling fat in a suit but ugly as well because the suit was ugly.

MimiLo June 22, 2014 at 2:00 pm

While I applaud you for putting on the suit, I think too many moms/women/girls still won’t. I wear Hydrochic to cover some serious keloids and avoid the sun. I have worn it to swim confidently in 6 oceans, across the Sea of Galilee 4 times and the Dead Sea and it is still going strong!
I think the most important part if doing what you love in whatever comfort you need to do it in. Those memories and the moments are priceless. Dont miss them for anything.
Hydrochic has sizes up to 3X and cuts to fit every shape.

sluggermom June 22, 2014 at 11:06 pm

I got a super nice swimsuit online from Walmart of all places. The “Catalina” brand is slimming and super inexpensive. I figured I’d try it since the shipping was free and I could return it to local store if I needed to. Well, I didn’t need to – and now I have a swimsuit I’m satisfied with until I lose a few pounds. Can’t believe how much better it fit than my much more expensive suits.
Good luck!

Eluria July 26, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Also try Avenue–they have some pretty cute/flattering swimsuits for plus sizes (I think they carry sizes 10-32)

Mechelle June 22, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Diane, I can’t imagine losing a child, but I do know how it feels to lose your joy (or let others take it). You are probably close to my age, and I have within the past year or two taken my joy back and have decided others’ opinion of my apperance are not important to me any more. Please put on a swimsuit and jump in! It is so freeing when you start living to make yourself happy and quit worrying about others. With God’s help you can do it!

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Diane Taylor June 23, 2014 at 8:10 am

Mechelle – THANK YOU for your comment. I promise you I iwill keep trying to take back control. It’s so hard when you feel helpless and lost. I cling to Jesus and my husband Dave when I am on my knees (which is way too much of the time). God’s mercy is new to me every morning – he is my rock, I would be so lost without him!

again, thank you, you are in my prayers.

xxoo – dt

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Kathy June 23, 2014 at 10:33 am

Diane: My heart is with you, thank you for sharing. When July 4th rolls around, we will be remembering losing our handsome, talented, much-loved son Michael on that day, he had an automobile accident. He would have been 22 the next day, on July 5, 2007. Our family has deep faith and we KNOW we will be reunited with him someday. Grief is an individual walk that we all must go through after such a loss that you’ve had, and it is NOT easy. NEVER let anyone criticize your grief, it’s OK to grieve, necessary, and part of keeping going. While sometimes I still want to go hide in a corner and roll up into a ball, these times are much less frequent now — the passage of time takes the harsh edge off, and the awesome memories and future hope of reunion in Heaven are what keep us going. Let God, your family members, your friends and even strangers surround you with love and prayers, and even laughter. I promise to keep you in my prayers. With love and a hug, Kathy

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Diane Taylor June 24, 2014 at 10:29 am

Oh Kathy – I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved son Michael. You know, my older sister lost her 22 year old son Kevin on 8/31/2003 in a motorcycle accident. The sudden losses are so hard to take – my family went thru so much losing Kevin – I never thought it was happen again……to me. I too look forward to the day I will see Jonathan again – oh what a glorious reunion that will be!!! I am comforted that Jonathan and Kevin are together – and I hope they met your son Michael. I will pray for your family as well. God Bless and hugs to you…

Diane

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Lindee Katdare June 23, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Diane,

Yes, I hope you went to the ocean, relaxed and enjoyed the breeze. Heartache is so hard to digest and everyone grieves so differently. I am so sad to hear about your son. Praying for you to find that happy place again and that your heart can heal. Isn’t it interesting how an article like this can be just what you needed to read?

Take care,
Lindee

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Diane Taylor June 24, 2014 at 10:31 am

Hi Lindee – thank you for your comment, you are SO RIGHT. God puts things in our path to help us – it is up to us to receive his gifts. This whole post has really opened up my eyes to so many things. It’s what I love best about the blogging community – the chance to connect with others so we don’t feel so alone.

God bless and hugs to you!

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Christine Koh June 20, 2014 at 7:51 am

I love this post so much Jessica. Thank you for sharing.

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Susan June 20, 2014 at 8:12 am

Bravo to you because every body is beautiful!

I’m trying how to say this next part the best way. I would give anything for just a soft belly and a little bit of cellulite on my thighs. I know you moms out there used to have what you think was an amazing body. But you still do. Believe me. I haven’t weighed under 200 lbs since high school (many moons ago). So please, please fall in love with your body, just like it is!!!! It’s awesome and beautiful!!! Be thankful for it. It’s amazing!!!

And there are swimsuits out their that can make you feel sexy again. Checkout http://www.swimsuitsforall.com. Yes, mainly for big girls, but they start at size 8. I get all my suits there and wear them confidently (most of the time) because the are flattering) and sexy. And if the are any truly voluptuous women out there reading this, check that site out. They have some downright sexy stuff that did not exist 20 years ago! Seriously.

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Diane Taylor June 20, 2014 at 8:26 am

Susan – I so appreciate your comment today. And THANK YOU for this website, guess what I am doing instead of working right now? I found two suits in size 16 that I think I will love. Bless you and I am praying for you today :)

xxoo – Diane

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Susan M June 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Awesome, Diane!!!! They have great stuff!!!!

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Candi June 20, 2014 at 4:56 pm

I too wish for a littler tummy and just a little cellulite. I was always thin until I got married, started treatment for depression and ballooned up to over 215. I am now more than that after two littles. Every other year(this being one) I make excuses to not go to the pool with my girls. We have been busy, but I can’t play thay card too much longer. All the people have known me overweight so I shouldn’t be ashamed, but I knew me as skinny so I want to hide.it.all. I want to join a pool where no one knows me. Then, every other year, I don’t care what people think.
All that to say, I am going to stop making excuses despite my size, and play!!

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Lily June 20, 2014 at 8:08 pm

I wish I could fall in love with my body. I am unhealthy and saggy. I have tried to lose weight to feel better and more energetic, but after 11 months, nothing changed but my clothes size. I was happy about that, but I felt more tired and everything hurt more. I have osteoarthritis (diagnosed at 24 with a 50-yr-old woman’s illness) and was told by a doctor that weight loss would help, but it didn’t. I still want to lose weight so that my children, my husband and I aren’t embarrassed by my weight and dreadfully sagging skin. I cannot find a swimsuit that works for me anywhere. I remember the rare occasions my estranged mother took me to the pool, and I remember seeing how thin I was, and how unhealthy she was, and being embarrassed. I would she mothers of healthy weights having fun with their kids, and my mother dogging them for being so skinny. I used to think, they’re healthy, and their low weight allows them to have fun with their kids…all my mother did was complain about being fat while eating half a bag of caramel squares. She has tried dieting, but never stayed on any for a long enough amount of time. I am taller than her, so my weight looks only slightly more proportional on me. My husband thinks that I can get down to my weight from high school, but given that I’ve birthed 4 large babies, I think I’d look very awkward at 133 again…like someone who should be playing in the NFL. Dieting is hard for me, with all the food allergies that I have, but I do try with what I can eat. It doesn’t help that I have scars all over my body, which my mother made a point of reminding about them whenever I wore shorts or skirts my whole life. My husband is turned off by them, as well. He thinks no scars and no freckles is perfect skin…yet he has freckles, maybe even more than me. I know, he needs to change his way of thinking about some things. Yes, he did agree to be with me in spite of all this, but I do want to look good for him and our kids, so that I don’t embarrass them the way I was. I know that probably sounds mean, but when you are a skinny child with a big mother and get called fat because 1) your mother is fat, and 2) 102 lbs. on a 14-year-old is considered fat, it wears on you. I wanted my mother to lose weight so she would be happy and healthy…for herself, not just the rest of us. She has HBP and weight-related arthritis and joint problems…but now refuses to lose any weight because she has taken this “curves are beautiful” thing the wrong way. My ex-husband hated when I lost a pound or two…he didn’t want me to lose weight, only gain, and I was 185 when we married 14 years ago. Thankfully, I divorced him 4 years ago, or I might be 300 lbs. by now. But while i will not be doing as the writer says, I admire her.

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Beth June 21, 2014 at 9:10 am

I wish you loved yourself more. I hope you learn to proud of you!

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De Jackson June 22, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Lily, I am so sorry you’re struggling. I have struggled with body image my whole life, in one way or another.

First of all, I want to say that your husband’s attitude breaks my heart. God made you BEAUTIFUL, and that is what you are.

Second, I wanted to mention that this phrase applied to me for a long time:
“but I felt more tired and everything hurt more” in conjunction with trying to lose weight. I finally figured out it was much more essential that I be careful of the CHEMICALS I put in my body than the CALORIES. Fake sugar, fake fat, higher sodium, etc (all of the things found in “diet” products) aren’t good for anybody’s body, but I have learned that I have a very high sensitivity to them, as well as a high sensitivity to sugar (both cause joint pain, low energy, even some low-grade depression). It’s very possible you suffer from this sensitivity, and that processed foods will always make you feel like crap, no matter how much they help you lose weight. I know that is true for me.

I highly recommend as much natural food as you can stand, for energy. I’ve recently added magnesium supplements and hemp hearts (mine are from Costco, but can also be found online), and they seem to be helping with energy levels. I still struggle with this every day. Know that you are not alone, and that you are amazing.

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Tricia June 27, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Lilly-I was reading these posts and yours hit me very hard. I am worried that you are not accepting of yourself (the good and no so good). My mother and I haven’t spoken in years its a crappy choice and its her loss but she does nothing but make me sad. Also your husband married you with the weight and the scars, is how it sounds, & yet he is critical of your body? You almost sound like you are just thankful that he married you. Abuse comes in many forms. Maybe your low self worth has led to to feel like you don’t deserve to be loved or cherished. You need to talk to someone. A professional, clergyman… SOMEONE. You deserve to be be treated well and loved for who you are and not how you look. All people have insecurities, even supermodels, but yours seem to have taken you down a path of self hate and emotional distress. It was the sentence about how your husband feels about your looks that really hurt me. How dare hesay such cruel things to the lady he married. I am not skinny, have RA, ADD and am hypo m and can be an emotional wreck at times too, yet I found a man that was 11 years younger, in great shape that loved me for who I am and how I look we are married 10 years now. I was ablevto have just 1 child (at 36) & felt guilty that I couldn’t give him more yet he never has made me feel bad about that. Trust me he is no saint and I datedva bunch of losers before he chased me down. And at times I worry thatvhe gave up so much to marry me and he tells me he gave up nothing and gained everything. So shake the “dead weight” he can shape up or ship out and put a smile on your face love yourself the world will follow. You have alot to offer any onevshould be grateful for you.

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De Jackson June 21, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Jessica, THANK YOU for this post! I recently had a breast cancer scare (all is well, but a very scary two months), and I am still mostly in Body Appreciation mode – just thankful for the healthy skin I’m in. We go to Lake Tahoe every year as a family – something I wasn’t sure I’d get to do this year – and I plan to swim, splash, kayak, romp and play to my little heart’s (and not-so-little-butt’s) content. I’m a size 10 this year, edging into 12 territory, despite frequent workouts. (Ah, age 44…) By the world’s standards, that apparently puts me in “Plus” status. Well, so be it. This summer I shall have a blast, PLUS feel comfortable. I shall allow my body to do all of the wonderful things it can do (swim, run, dive, relax, play) PLUS not worry about what others think. I shall run alongside my children, and be happy and thankful that I am healthy, and that I have another golden Tahoe summer to enjoy with them, PLUS refuse to feel self conscious. THANK YOU.

And THANK YOU, Susan, for the link! I just ordered a ton of stuff to try (and saved the site to favorites). I’m not “curvy” by any means (that would make it so much easier, I think), but hopefully I’ve picked some pieces that will allow me to live and move and breathe the way God intended – freely, reveling in the healthy body He’s given me. The site’s tagline is: “Our favorite curve is your smile.” I love that, and plan to show my “curve” all summer long.

Thank you both! :)
De

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Amanda Mewhorter June 20, 2014 at 8:29 am

I am with you 100%!!

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Anna Hettick June 20, 2014 at 8:57 am

What a beautiful post! Love your message and hope that many more moms take it to heart. Nothing is worth missing out on memories made with our littles. :)

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Jessica June 20, 2014 at 8:58 am

Beautiful post, and such a great reminder not to let our hang-ups get in the way of making memories with our kids. It applies to housework as well. My kids won’t remember (or care) that the house was messy; they’ll remember how we played and did fun stuff. They won’t remember (or care) that Mommy wasn’t a supermodel. In fact, I like to sing that line from Les Mis, “Castle on a Cloud”: “There is a lady all in white / holds me and sings a lullabye. / She’s nice to hear and she’s soft to touch. / She says, ‘Cosette, I love you very much.” I tear up just typing it. A soft body is comforting to a child!

Lastly, I hate that one of my coping mechanisms for pool insecurity involves the comparison game, but I try to remember that for every super-skinny mom I’m comparing myself too, there is probably someone else looking at me and wishing they could be a size 10 again. (And the skinny mom is probably envious of something else about somebody!) Everybody has insecurities, and we can’t let them rule our lives.

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Tracy June 20, 2014 at 9:59 am

Beautiful post! I’ve always put on that swimsuit – whether I weighed 140 or 240 lbs – I was IN that water with my kiddos. I hope this post inspires more moms to get out that suit and have some fun with the kids. I also hope it inspires more moms to STOP JUDGING EACH OTHER! Thanks for this! :)

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Brooke June 20, 2014 at 10:29 am

I love love love this post! Yesterday my kids wanted to play in the sprinkler. So like usual, I got them all ready and lotions up then I put my swimsuit on and covered back up with a shirt and shorts. I say at our picnic table in the backyard watching them run around in the water. Then while they weren’t looking, I took off my coverup clothes and ran around with them. Granted, we were in my backyard but I have neighbors on 3 sides who could’ve seen easily through the gates. I’m so self conscious of my mom body but when my daughter told me “I love when you play in the water with us” my whole perspective changed. Like you said, it’s not about us, it’s about them! Thank you for this post. Glad to know I’m not the only one! Also, you look super fabulous in that swimsuit!

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Rebecca June 20, 2014 at 11:16 am

Oh my word! This came at just the right time! My husband, two kids and me went to the beach on Father’s Day. And I wore a swimsuit. And I swam in the Gulf of Mexico and had fun with my family. I haven’t always done that. I’ve been too embarrassed to embrace a swimsuit. But I decided not to miss any more fun with them. AND WE HAD A BLAST!!! The kids were so excited for me to be out there with them! It doesn’t get any better than that!

Thanks for the post and for confirming what I found out last Sunday.

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Shene June 20, 2014 at 11:45 am

I read this post years ago and it has always stuck with me. I’ve done a lot of swimming because of it. We have a pool membership and we went Monday and we are going today, and I’ll be in there with my kids! I shared on Facebook. Thank you!

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Susan Maccarelli June 20, 2014 at 11:55 am

You look AWESOME in your suit and I loved your post. Very inspiring to someone who always wants to lose 15 pounds and has 2 kids. Off to share this now! I found you on project underblog’s Friday Favorites.

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Mandy June 20, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Thank you so much for reminding me what is important!!! I have a 3 year old and am 10 weeks pregnant. My pregnancy with my 3 year old tore apart my cute little bikini body. But, WHO CARES!!!! I love that little boy more than anything and I love each stretch mark that made him!

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Stacy June 20, 2014 at 12:29 pm

I am going to the beach next month, and I have been so afraid to put that suit on. Thank you for this post! I am going to print it and take it with me when I go!

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toni langdon June 20, 2014 at 12:39 pm

awesome read! THanks!

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Michele June 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Thanks Jess! So much truth and beauty in this post and I agree that hearing kids squealing in delight at the pool or ocean is such a joyful soundtrack to summer. I would love to also add that even those of us who aren’t mothers (by choice or hasn’t been God’s will yet!) should still be encouraged to get out there and live it up, even if we can’t say our bodies grew a new life or supported the weight of a new babe. Insecurities surely impact non-mothers as well and all women should be encouraged to not be defined by the physical!

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Paige Wojo June 20, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Oh.My.Gosh!!! I JUST yesterday posted a little blurb about my “mom” bathing suit and me and the kids at a local splash park. I’m bigger than I’ve ever been – but I just can’t let it stop me. You articulated this so PERFECTLY!!!! It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you thank you thank you! I wish more women took this approach to life!

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Mona June 20, 2014 at 12:59 pm

What a terrific post…just wish I’d seen it when my kiddos were younger.

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Cheryl G June 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm

you look amazing!!! and you have great legs!!!

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Amanda June 20, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Thank you for your wonderful story! I, personally, do not have children. However, there are still several squishy parts on my body :) Weight has always been an issue for me. And two years ago, after years of abusing my joints with dance, I injured my ankle quite severely. It took rehab, surgery, and more rehab to get back to just walking normally. And in that time, 50lbs showed up on my doorstep. But, I still put on that suit. Because even though I don’t have my own children’s perceptions to be concerned with, I have my niece, my sisters, and all the other little girls out there looking at me to see what confidence looks like. And on a happy note, I have started dancing again. Maybe those lbs will leave, maybe they won’t, but I’m happy to live like they aren’t even there :)

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Angela June 20, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I love this post, but can I add that this also goes the same for very thin women, not just overweight. I am a size 1 due to a terrible, uncurable stomach disease. Most days I spend in pain wishing I could eat and be normal. I used to be a size 8 and I loved my body then. I would give anything to have that body back again. Being thin is not always “healthy” and that is what is MOST important.
Thank you for this post, I will embrace my thin figure and enjoy my summer with my kids instead of being worried to offend another mom who is larger than I am.

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Margi June 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I wish I had read this years ago..and I was thin then.
Take it from a mom who lost great opportunities … Go far it. You are defined in your household by your mothers heart..not someone you probably will never see again.
I tell my girl all the time…DANCE..you are a child of the King…don’t worry if anyone is watching …this moment comes but once.
Thank you for your inspiration even to grandmas!

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Jen June 20, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Thank you so much for posting this. I have been trying to do better about getting in photos as well. Our kiddos are going to want photos of us one day, so we need to not shy away from the camera!
Did I read correctly that you’re expecting again? If so, CONGRATS!! I’m so happy for you and your beautiful family!
I love how you make a change for good. Keep it up!

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lisa June 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I just can’t do it….mostly because it doesn’t feel right to me to wear so little…like walking around in my underwear. Also don’t like being around other people wearing no clothes. Guess I’m old school….way too much skin showing and even “modest” swimsuits leave little to the imagination. Good for you though, if you feel ok with it. BTW…I still run and play in the water with my kids….just covered up more.

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Lily June 20, 2014 at 7:43 pm

I am with you! I have given birth to 4 of our 7 children, and I weigh over 200 lbs., even though I lost 40 of it while working in a warehouse for 11 months. I have skin hanging in places where there shouldn’t be that much skin, and NO swimsuit I have found even begins to hide it! My husband is a Marine who has been out of the Corps for almost 15 years now, but he is a big health nut and is constantly telling me that I would feel better and be more energetic if I lost weight (I did lose weight, and felt no different than I do now). He is 180-185, and hates that he has put on 5 pounds, while I’m here weighing nearly twice what I weighed when I gave birth to my oldest living child. He thinks that negative reinforcement will work with me like it did with him in the Corps…so far, I’ve only stopped eating until he comes home and cooks dinner. I will not be putting on a bathing suit anytime soon. IF I do get invited to swim, I will be fully clothed…jeans and t-shirt!

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Anna June 23, 2014 at 8:04 am

I don’t think the point is that you should wear a swimsuit really, I think it’s that you should wear whatever allows you to enjoy life with your children. Most of us wear swimsuits because that’s what is comfortable and what dries quickly. Wear board shorts and a tank top over a swimsuit if that’s what works for you! Wear a cover up! Amazon has some really great, inexpensive dress-like cover ups that are thin and should dry quickly after getting wet!

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Bob Cleveland June 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm

When someone says “American Beauty Rose”, someone pretty much like you is what comes to my mind. Much more than the Photoshopped Phonies or TV showoffs.

Good words, ma’am.

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DJP June 20, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Thank you for this post. It’s just a reminder to me to let go and have fun. I’m pregnant right now, so donning a swimsuit isn’t that big of a deal (I’m SUPPOSED to be fat), but when I’m not I tend to miss out. So does my husband, because he’s just as embarrassed with his body.

What really helps me is our son. He’s 6 and he’ll look at me and tell me how beautiful I look even when I feel hideous and disgusting. He may see me through rose-colored glasses, but he’s definitely not saying it just to be nice, either. As long as my boys (husband and son) think I’m beautiful, then why do I care?

You look great, btw. We share the same body type! :)

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Mary Lou Allman June 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Just came across this and loved your outlook. 30 years ago I enjoyed many fun times in the water with my kids. Now I enjoy it with my granddaughter. Don’t ever stop!!

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Kristi Tibbs June 20, 2014 at 3:42 pm

This has me in tears. Thank you so much for the much needed reminder. My kids have been begging to go to the pool but I haven’t taken them yet. I’ve gained about 50 lbs after the last baby and now at my highest weight ever. Well over 200 lbs. Not only are my kids missing out on swimming but we’re missing out on fun memories. All of us. Thank you!

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becky June 20, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Perfect! I was the one with the mom who would not go in. I spent summers at the beach wishing my mom would let go of her fears and enter in. I have a wonderful mother, but we did miss out on a lot of memories.Thanks for posting this.

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Kelly {the Centsible Life} June 20, 2014 at 4:22 pm

YESSSSSS. So much this.

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Jules June 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Such powerful words. Beautifully stated. The thought of putting on a bathing suit brings me to tears. My kids are a little older but I understand where you are coming from. I may not put on my suit when we are around certain people but I will put it on while on vacation with my daughter & we will laugh & have a great time in that pool! Enjoy your summer!! Thanks for sharing these words today.

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Jonathan June 20, 2014 at 4:38 pm

PREACH!

I have told my wife the same thing, but I sent her this link to show how many others ago. She is a beautiful woman that is still trying to reach her post-baby weight goals…and that is ok, but it makes me sad when she covers and hides herself. She grew my little girl for me, something I could never do, and I have never been more attracted to her than WHILE and AFTER she was pregnant. She’s a real life Xena for doing what she did…and that is the most attractive thing in the world.

i know that it is a transition for women, and I know that as a man I should keep my trap shut, but all of you beautiful women out there with belly stretch marks..you are beautiful and you are all my HEROES!

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Jessica June 20, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Nice to hear! And as a Mama with extra baby weight..I Thank you..My husband is constantly reminding me that I carried 3 babies as well and that he loves me the way I am :)
Very sweet of you to post on here..Your wife’s a Lucky lady

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Dawn June 20, 2014 at 4:51 pm

You are absolutely right – they will remember the time with you!!!!

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Julie Bennett June 20, 2014 at 5:04 pm

I was always that mom who wouldn’t allow myself to be photographed because I had gained a lot of weight since my youth. Vain, I know. Then I got breast cancer at the same time my beloved brother-in-law (who was VERY fit) got stomach cancer. We vowed to fight together. When I survived and he didn’t, I had incredible survivor’s guilt. Why him? And not me? I noticed how much his grieving family treasured there photos of him in the following months, and it changed me. Now I photo bomb every time I get the chance. I don’t check my makeup or fix my hair or care about the physicality of my being. I want to be remembered as HAPPY and crazy-for-life! I want there to be LOTS of lovely photos for my friends & family to remember me by some day. Think about THAT first. How do YOU want to be remembered? And love your family & friends enough to leave them a legacy that lasts their lifetimes. <3

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Hillary Mueller June 20, 2014 at 5:14 pm

I LOVED this!! Usually when I put on my swimsuit all I can hear in my head is my own mother and her words to me (“why don’t you try harder to loose a few pounds?” and “I wouldn’t be caught dead not looking perfect when everyone can see me.”). I WILL refuse to listen to those words anymore and I WILL be a better mother to my own children and I am going RIGHT NOW to put on my swimsuit! :)

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Jane June 20, 2014 at 5:24 pm

You had me in happy agreement up until this:

Because at the end of the day, it is not about me.
It is about my kids.

I’d say it’s about you AND your kids…you WITH your kids…YOUR memories being as important as theirs.

And you look fab in that cute swimsuit. :)

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jessicaturner June 20, 2014 at 6:25 pm

You are absolutely right. It is about us too. :)

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Helen Washington June 20, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Jessica,
I love this post so much.
Two weeks ago, I spent 4 days on Coronado Island with 3 lifelong friends as we celebrated turning 50 this year. I packed my 2 year old suit which I had never worn.
I also packed a cover-up. The first day we raced from our hotel and headed to the pool. I admit that I was glad to have a cover-up. But slowly over those 3 days full of shared experiences and heartfelt conversations, I shed the cover-up. Because assembled there were friends…one who faced breast cancer the year before and was approaching her reconstruction the next month, two who lost their fathers within weeks of one another and another a mother to dementia. There was a lot of loss between the 4 of us but there was a lot of joy as well. How could we not bare our souls and be afraid to show our bodies due to fear of not measuring up?
I left that time free in so many ways.
I also left determined not to waste time over accepting my body when I deem it “perfect and presentable”.
I know your post will give other women to set themselves free from comparisons and feeling less than God made them to be.
Thank you!

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Shari McMinn June 20, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Thank you for this excellent article. I am a 56 y.o. size 2x farmwife and mom to 11 kids. My favorite place in the world is the beach, and the public pool in our northeast Colorado home town. I take my kids to the pool each week all summer after their piano lessons and enjoy playing with them in the water, especially now since they are all able to navigate the ‘big’ pool, no longer in the baby pool. Now that my beloved husband is passed, I am the only parent to be able to play with them in the water, and I love it. It’s about them and summer time, and me and fun time, and not about what I look in my swimsuit. Thank you for the excellent reminder.

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Robin June 20, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Great article! My very smart friend Nora told me one time how great it was that I put on a swimsuit and swim with my boys. She said it showed my kids what normal women really look like so they wouldn’t expect all girls and women to look like the ones in magazines and on TV.

I love swimming with my kids!

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toni June 20, 2014 at 7:02 pm

While this whole article hit home….this really did it for me. I have a little boy and I want him to have realistic expectations of women. Thank you for this.

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ScrapbookFran June 20, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Last weekend, I did exactly this. It was worth it to my kids and even more to me. :)

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Kristen June 20, 2014 at 7:02 pm

I JUST gave some of my girlfriends a speech similar to this a couple of weeks ago as they critiqued how they looked in pictures. I asked them.. do you think your kids are going to look at these photos after your gone and say “man, mom sure could have lost some weight!”. No. No they’re not. Fantastic post and I hope many women put their suits back on because of it! <3

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Melissa June 20, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Before kids i was 120lbs and since the birth of my 2nd 6.5yrs ago I’ve averaged about 185 at any given time. I read this article when you first wrote it and it changed my perspective and summers forever! Today I even dove off the diving board thanks to you…and it was FUN! Sincere thanks from my family! !!

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Sarah June 20, 2014 at 7:40 pm

I love this article. I don’t think summer fun is off limits to moms just because they don’t look like bikini models! Beauty comes in so many forms. To me seeing the pic of you playing with your kids exudes joy and true beauty.

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Amanda June 20, 2014 at 8:24 pm

We are headed to the beach tomorrow and this made me cry tonight as I read. I have struggled with putting on a swimsuit and going into the water my entire life. I love to swim but have steered away from it more and more since I was a teenager because of my own body image issues. I bought a bathing suit today because this year I will not sit and watch while the rest of my family enjoys the ocean without me. While I may be overweight and out of shape my kids will still call me mom no matter what. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

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Leah June 20, 2014 at 9:30 pm

So true. It’s not about what other people think its about living life to the fullest and enjoying every moment with those who matter. Time to hit the beach!!

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heather huddle June 20, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Life is way too short to worry about what you look like in a swimsuit and not go out in the water and have fun with your kids. Your kids are only little once, enjoy them while you can and go down those water slides dive in with them and splash them! Have fun life is all about having fun!

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Mary June 20, 2014 at 10:26 pm

What an amazing post. Congrats on the little one on the way.

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Jessi June 20, 2014 at 11:46 pm

First, I think you look great. Second, CONGRATS!!!!

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Jessica June 20, 2014 at 11:49 pm

This is a VERY encouraging post..And I feel ABSOLUTELY the same way!!
I have 3 children who are our whole world! Thanks for reminding me again of what I already know/feel but needed to hear again due to constant insecurities in my mind :(

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Sara @ Mom Endeavors June 21, 2014 at 12:19 am

This post is SO great, Jessica! I sit here in my hotel room at a spot not too terribly far from where you were in April. We’re headed to the beach tomorrow – so this was a great, timely read for me tonight!

Thank you!!! :)

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Evie June 21, 2014 at 12:36 am

I did it today! Just jiggled all over the beach in my swimsuit with my boy and loved every minute!!!

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Jussy June 21, 2014 at 1:53 am

I have never had a thigh gap but have always had an athletic build that, as a teenager I was ashamed of. Only after becoming a mother did I have confidence in how awesome my body is. Two beautiful, big babies later and one more on the way, my body is definitely softer than ever, but very strong. I was a swimmer as a kid and never have been ashamed of being in a swim suit, but this post struck me in a different way.

As I read about splashing in the water I could feel my lip curl a little. The last few times we’ve gone to the pool, I’ve donned my suit and sat happily on the edge while my kids play, laughing with them and enjoying their joy, dryly and warmly from my perch on the wall. My problem is that I have forgotten how to have fun IN the pool. It’s cold and I hate having my hair wet and my face splashed, unless I’m swimming for a function. But my kids love when my husband gets in and runs around with them, with reckless abandon.

So that’s what I took from this. I’m going to make more of an effort to sic it up and run around, because they love it so much. And it won’t be long before they are going by themselves with their friends and I won’t be invited anymore!

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Carly Reed June 21, 2014 at 4:30 am

This is hands down tge best post ive ever read! Donning a swimming costume and taking my kids to tge pool this summer for sure!!! Thank you xxxxx

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pam June 21, 2014 at 6:16 am

is that laguna beach? I have a pic of me and I could swear the backdrops looks identical. (great read too!)

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Amanda June 21, 2014 at 6:22 am

Thank you for writing this. I am a mom of three of the most beautiful boys I’ve ever seen. Before them, people said the same thing about me. And now I have become the sad mom you write about on the sidelines. And truly, it is sad. It is hard, and maybe even a bit embarrassing to admit out loud how much of my self esteem relied on the positive feedback I received from other people. Being tall and thin was part of my identity. When I went to the beach before, I could feel people looking and I could feel their approval. No one disapproves now. Just no one looks. Now I have to rebuild confidence and create a new part of my identity in this stage if life based solely off of me, and of course my sons. Identifying as a mom has been easy, but learning to live as someone who looks like they should lay off the cheesecake has not. Learning to love myself-outside packaging included-with or without the love of others is a task even larger than my pile of laundry. Anyway, it is nice, and often necessary, to have a reminder that life is less about watching and more about living. Especially with those that I love far more than a 24 inch waist.

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KC June 23, 2014 at 8:00 am

I can fully, FULLY relate to you, Amanda…… Wow. I feel like I could have written your whole paragraph. Thank you for sharing and giving words to my own heart/mind.

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Angie June 21, 2014 at 7:38 am

Since having my 2 children I have had difficulty taking off the weight. But I still put on my bathing suit and enjoy my time with my kids. I cringe from the pictures taken of me in my bathing suit but then look at the smiling faces of my kids and know they don’t care that my body is soft and jiggly. This summer I’m pregnant with our 3rd and yes I’m going in the water and sharing summer with my kids because they are growing so quickly and I won’t have this time forever.

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delores June 21, 2014 at 7:48 am

must admit I don’t usually comment on things I read but this came iust in time we r going today spend time with grandkids at campground and swim. I may look like a short fat old lady but I’m going make memories with grandkids thank you for the post

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GRETTA June 21, 2014 at 8:30 am

Thank you soooo much for this amazingly encouraging post! I have two teenage daughters and an 14 month old baby girl and have really found myself struggling not only with bathing suits but clothes in general since the warmer weather hit this year. Last summer I figured I had just given birth and did not worry about how I looked, but now 14 months later I feel I should have lost more
Than I have. I’m still breast feeding which I know makes me eat more and such but have found myself being overly critical towards myself lately.. Now I have family coming up from Florida to spend a week at the lake and have been stressing myself out over wearing a bathing suit in front of them, however after reading your post I’m not going to stress at all! I’m going to the cottage and have fun with my family and take pictures and make memories and not care what anyone thinks of my looks!! Thank you again!

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Lydia Spencer June 21, 2014 at 8:52 am

❤️ it.

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Amanda June 21, 2014 at 9:21 am
happy June 21, 2014 at 11:31 am

I loved reading your post. You left off dressing up with your kids in public….you know like a princess or a superhero and going to the grocery store, or any other socially unacceptable activity that is ok for kids but not adults. Why? Because we must impress the people we don’t know that have no impact on our lives with our ability to be neat and orderly or worse, people we work with! Aghast! Screw it….go to the grocery store in an old prom dress in a tiara dressed like a princess because your princess decided it was princess day, or cowboy or scientists or anything else. Do not let the expectations of others steal your life and happiness. Teach your kids to be happy….it is the one thing this world does not have in sufficient quantity!

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Obxbchgrl June 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm

I don’t actually have kids but I have young nieces and nephews. And I too put on a swimsuit and run into the ocean with them. I have curves aplenty and just don’t care what others think. I am too busy having fun!

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Bonnie June 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Simply beautiful! You are an inspiration.

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Elizabeth Pierce June 21, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Thank you! I have extra baggage and I struggled with getting a bathing suit. My daughter is 15 months old. Do I get into my bathing suit? Yes! Yes I do. I go to the pool and we swim together. We go to the splash parks and run in the splash pad. She giggles and splashes, and we have the best time ever. Am I insecure? Yes. But it is for my daughter. After a few mins I forget the stares and watch how happy she is. She is my daughter, and she is beautiful! I tell her that everyday.

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Lisa F. June 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm

This is a wonderful post and one I will be sharing ! My mom was overweight growing up but she taught swim lessons, so she was always in a swim suit. I so often heard women talking about not wanting to wear a swimsuit because they were ‘too fat’ or had ‘too many scars’ or some other excuse. I never remember hearing ill words about my mom or anyone one else. What I DID hear was how awesome it was that mom was in the water playing with her kids! I know when I am sitting on the beach, if I see ‘sagging’ skin I do wonder, I wonder how much courage it took for that person to lose the weight or if it was a medical condition, I pray they are on the mend. When I see scars, yup, I wonder there too. What happened and I am so happy to see them out here, living life, enjoying life…. so I guess I do ‘judge’ others, I am impressed!
As far as the rest of us…. I am too worried about falling out of my suit then worrying about you and yours. I have far from a perfect body but I still wear a 2 piece . I try to work out, try to stay in shape, but sometimes I simply can’t. I am a mom of two and my husbands work schedule is erratic at best. I also work part time. Therefore, 95% of the time I am the one running them around. To top it off, I have MS. I overheat at the drop of a hat in a one piece bathing suit, I have found, that they are hot! Granted, I stay in the water as much as I can to stay cool, but I get soooooo tired so fast and easily that I have to get out so often.
I WISH I could stay in more, play more, do more! Yet, I cannot. I wear a two piece so I can stay cool enough on the beach to enjoy more with my kids. I swim when I can and I get frustrated with those who sit on the sidelines due to their insecurities and/or wear so many layers to cover up that they get too hot and can’t participate and then everyone loses out.
Take it from someone who learned early, we are much harder on ourselves and you will regret not ‘playing’ with you kids. iI you are worried about being ‘attractive’? Confidence and enjoying what you have today is the most attractive trait out there! My husband told me that years ago when we were dating. It just took me awhile to believe him :)

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Julie June 21, 2014 at 1:22 pm

I love your story and totally agree! I am 56 and went on a weeks vacation with my two girlfriends from high school. I was all worried about my body in a bathing suit on the beach so, I bought some very cute sundresses and sarongs and decided that just because I’m not looking how I want to look, I’m still be on the inside. You know what? The vacation was a blast. There were all kinds of bodies and ages of bodies and everyone looked great.

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lap June 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm

live your life dont let other judge you and stop you from doing anything! the crazy times are what your kids will remember! ask my kids if you dont believe me. ask them about the dented can store, summers at midfield pool, weeks at camp, sneaking out to the beach, marshmallow shooters, falling at roller skating. so many broke bones an accidents the local hospital staff knew my name. string christmas. so many things just dont ask them about my housecleaning!

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Kiki Bacaro June 21, 2014 at 2:07 pm

I’d pay money to look as good as you do in a bathing suit. It’s so easy to say when you are not obese and people dont stare, point and say awful things in front of your kids or grandkids. It’s honestly not worth it to me to go through all that just to make some sort of stand.

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Lorann June 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm

I feel the same way Kiki, but I don’t think it’s about taking a stand. I think it’s about freedom and respecting who you are. People’s awful comments and finger pointing hurt to the core but don’t forget, they too are fallen sinful creatures.

I know this struggle goes beyond the beach. It is everywhere in this culture. I respect your honesty. I will be honest too, I’ve failed modeling what’s important to my daughter because I get swallowed up in the lies. I pray we both have strength to stand on truth and take little steps toward freedom. However that may look. Love to you.

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Emily June 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Thank you, Jessica. You are right–life is for living! You looked pretty in your brightly colored swimsuit. The smile is priceless!

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Amy Dunham June 21, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I prayed and prayed for God to bless me with a baby. After 19 years of infertility, my husband and I found out I was pregnant. Maddie is our miracle and she LOVES the water. And even though, I am at the heaviest weight I’ve ever been, I go swimming all the time with my “water” girl. She loves being with me and I love making memories with her. So I always go and have fun and don’t worry a bit about others opinions.

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Felicia June 21, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I love everything about this. Thank you for being brave and for saying what needed to be said and what EVERY mom needs to hear!

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Karen Anderson June 21, 2014 at 3:28 pm

This was so powerful! Thank you for the eloquent reminder that we mass out on too much life by worrying about what others think of us. Amen, sisters, put on the suit, swing on the swing, ride the bike…make memories. I guarantee when you are gone your kids will relive the wonderful times over and over again and never once think about what you looked like. Seize the day, life is too short not to.

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Lisa Simmons June 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Great post. I love swimming too much to avoid putting on my swimsuit, so I always did. But I understand the hesitency. You might like my “Bikini Song” at http://www.reverbnation.com/greasingtheskids.

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Sandra June 21, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Thank you! I am a mom of 4, mother-in-law of 2 and a grandma of 4 and another one on the way. I love my family and love to spend time with them at the lake or the pool. Just reading your post has given me courage to just go and play with the grandkids at the water and not care about any other peoples thoughts! Thank you again! From, One Happy Grandma!!

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amber backes June 21, 2014 at 4:13 pm

I love seeing all the discussions about this post. Both of my girls started swimming lessons at 3 months old so and I went with my very postpartum body.I have found that wearing a swim shirt takes away all of my self consciousness. I want to be the mom in the pool with them. And I cheer on all of your moms today too.

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Becky June 21, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Thank you. Confessing that I am still working through this issue. Seven births, four c-sections later there are sags, bags, clumps, bumps, and veins galore. My legs resemble a map more than skin. Add to that years of despising my appearance and well, yes, I am still working up to the place you are. I just didn’t realize how much there was to work through until reading this post and the comments following. Hmmmm. I’m getting there. I hope. I do want to create happy memories for my children and be a positive image of a woman beautiful from the inside out.

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Jackie June 21, 2014 at 4:34 pm

I love you and this! May you be blessed for encouraging all of us to seize the moments!

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Liz June 21, 2014 at 4:46 pm

I absolutely love this article-such a refreshing read! I do not have children but still have my insecurities about wearing that bathing suit out in the water… such a scary thought that really shouldn’t be. My husband and I have lived in Europe for almost 3 years and I am so inspired by the women who go to the beach in their bathing suits… no matter their weight or age. If they can do it, why can’t I? Life is too short to not enjoy it!

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Lorain B June 21, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Jessica, your husbands response to you in your bathing suit chocked me up (and you do radiate beauty my sister!) But tragically, it makes me sad to think that many, many wives will never hear those words.

I love the truth spoken here. It’s true, a woman’s beauty is defined by God’s eyes. Not our own shaming eyes. Nor the sometimes competitive, insecure eyes of other women, but God’s eyes. His eyes have the power to define us.

My heart breaks for those beautiful women, while feeling exposed out on the beach selflessly loving their children, have husbands whose eyes are dwelling on every other woman’s bathing suit. I would sadly guess this is a struggle not just in failing marriages but in some good marriages as well.

So, if I may offer a thought to those sisters. The sisters who fight that evil lie of I’m not enough for my husband while out out on that beach. Your husbands wandering eyes do not define you. He may or may not love you fiercely but it pierces something deeply in our souls. Please know, his wandering eyes cannot steal your true beauty.

Remember whose eye’s do not wander. The one who sees your every thought, struggle, sacrifice and sin. And His love (and eyes) never wander or waver.

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gayle June 21, 2014 at 5:39 pm

You know if more people just put on that suit and played w/their kids & GRANDKIDS, the world might be a more NORMAL place. If kids learned when they are small that skin sags and tummies bag as we get older maybe they would have a more realistic understanding of the aging process! I let my gbabies play with my bat wings & tease that when they get flappy enough maybe I’ll be able to FLY!!! They don’t think a thing about my wrinkles or grand dad’s tummy so hopefully when they get older they will swim w/their babies and not be self-conscious as they remember that’s what their parents & grandparents did w/out the slightest concern!!!

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Ashley June 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Thanks so much for posting this. Really powerful and inspiring. :-) You are reaching lots of mamas out there and doing a wonderful thing!

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Kelly June 21, 2014 at 6:15 pm

This is great!

This morning I sat on the sidelines at the pool, but not because of my suit (I was wearing it) – the water was just too chilly for this wimpy mama! I did finally manage to sit on the top step. :)

I will say for those looking for something to help with feeling good in a suit – I got a swim shirt from Land’s End to help with sun protection, and today I wore it for the first time and it sure is nice for making me feel comfortable, too! Here is the one I ordered, but I imagine there are lots of companies that make them: http://www.landsend.com/products/womens-crewneck-swim-tee-rash-guard/id_246954_51?cm_mmc=139971612&source=GS

I threw it on over my regular bathing suit top and enjoyed not having to put on sunscreen – but it would help with not worrying about how you look, either!

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Laura June 21, 2014 at 6:20 pm

I’d like to point out that a ridiculous number of women in their childbearing years have undiagnosed autoimmune issues, and one of the first signs of that can be sensitivity to the sun. I hid under umbrellas, sat in the shade, didn’t take my tee shirt off for years and years because so much exposure to sun was uncomfortable. 15 years later, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, along with about 80% of my friends (no lie! Go find a bunch of 50 year old women and ask them!). I think many of the women who seem to have body issues actually have sun sensitivity issues – they may not even realize it, they just feel uncomfortable in the sun – I didn’t consciously realize it till much later and then all the pieces fell into place. Anyway, just pointing that out!

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Casey June 21, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Thank you so much for this post!! I am so encouraged by your words! I am 31 weeks pregnant with my 4th child. Nearly everyday, I put on a maternity suit (cringing on the inside, but smiling on the outside) and take my kids to the pool. I get in and swim and splash and catch my littlest as she jumps off the side. We laugh, and have a wonderful time. And I remind myself that my kids don’t care what I look like. What they will remember is me, being there with them! I wouldn’t trade those moments for the world, no matter how much I hate putting on a swimsuit and feeling like a whale. So thank you!! And by the way, you look beautiful in these photos! May you make many more wonderful memories!!

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Jennifer S. June 21, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Thank you for this reminder!! I try to think this way every time I take my kids to the beach, the water park, or the backyard. I’m “squishy” from chest to knees and it’s my own fault for not taking care of myself. I throw on a cute swim top to make the “ladies” look perky and mens swim trunks to make me feel calmer about my booty and enjoy the days with my kids!

We are only here for a short time, the kids are little for an even shorter time. I want them to remember me being crazy fun – not as someone self-conscious or unhappy with the things that matter the least!

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Corinne June 21, 2014 at 7:34 pm

My mother hasn’t worn a swimsuit in a very, very long time. At least not visibly. Sometimes she wears it, but wears a shirt & shorts over it. Sometimes she just wears a sportsbra and still does the shirt and shorts. Which I think is fine.

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Sara June 21, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Thanks for you great and timely message. More than a year ago, while on vacation with my family to visit the Mouse I had an experience that has taken a long time to come to terms with. In the evening after a long hot day having fun with my family, relaxing in the hotel hot tub sounded heavenly. My kids had begged me all day to join them down at the pool. So I put on my swim suit slunk down under the cover of darkness to the pool to join the family. I got into the hot tub and was soon joined by several early 20-somethings – two boys and a girl. The boys were doing what boys do vying for the girls attention. I was just trying to relax when I noticed that the topic of conversation seemed to have turned to me with words like “cough, cough whale” etc. I was shocked to be honest and in my mind I know that their words said more about them than me but I’ll be honest, it hurt. I have had a tough time getting into a swim suit since then. I can always find some excuse to not fully participate. This summer I vow to push that unfortunate incident into the gone but not forgotten past, fully participate with my 3 kids who are growing up to fast and let that moment in time help me be a more compassionate person. Life is too short and too good to waste.

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Cynthia June 21, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Thank You Jessica,

I needed to read this right at this moment. I’m a mother of two (4 yr old and 1 yr old) and have spent the last two years in the sidelines of their lives. Always opting out to take the photo rather than in it. Sitting back to watch the bags or spot. Instead of making those memories that you mentioned. I have missed out in two years of memories. So thank you for posting this and giving me a new outlook again. My insecurities have been a wall between my kids and hubby. He is always saying “you look great-who cares”. So this being the first day of summer, I’m going to put those insecurities away and make the memories I have always wanted.

Thank you,
Cynthia

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Sallie June 21, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Oh, I envy you with every fiber of my being. I am 60 years old, and I put a major part of my life “on hold” because I am fat. I was thinner when my children were young, but of course, no one would have ever thought I was model material – but we went to the beach and the water parks and I wore a swimsuit. By the time my youngest child was born, I was 37 and heavier and I haven’t worn a swimsuit since before she was born. When she was 16, she saw me wearing a pair of jeans for the first time – “Mom, you look so cute”. I thought she was making fun of me, but she wasn’t. a

There are so many things that I enjoy doing, so many more things that I missed doing with my children because I couldn’t accept my body. I cannot ever get those days back. My family loves me – I wish I had realized it so many years ago and had enjoyed all of those days of their lives.

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Lacey June 21, 2014 at 8:50 pm

You know the best part about this post? The pictures! I love the joy on the faces, and the fact that you are practicing what you preach. Not only are you unashamed in the {relative} privacy of the pool with strangers you’ll never see again, you are unashamed on the web and that can be a very scary place. I applaud and love this!!

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Melissa June 21, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Thank you!!!! Leaving for the beach with my 5 kids in a week….your right. They love me for me!

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Cathy June 21, 2014 at 9:18 pm

I am 53-years-old, 115 pounds, and never gave birth to a child but am fortunate to have two wonderful children and three wonderful grandchildren from my second marriage. I was very overweight as a child, and I will never forget how much it hurt when I was laughed at for my size. To this day, I dread the thought of wearing a bathing suit on a beach or at a pool. Thank you so much for writing this article. I plan to remember what matters most…having lots of fun in the water with my grandkids!!

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Coach June 21, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this! I came to this realization the summer my son was two. I didn’t even own a bathing suit that fit, so I went shopping for one while we were at the beach and couldn’t find anything that I was willing to wear in public. When I got back to our hotel, my hubby had to hold me while I cried buckets, and I realized that what bothered me the most was not being able to go swimming with my son. I had an amazing mom, but she almost never went swimming with me…and that was precious time with her that I missed out on. I didn’t want to repeat that pattern. I now own a bathing suit that fits. I’m not a huge fan of having to wear it, but it’s worth it if it means making memories with my kids!

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Venus June 21, 2014 at 10:22 pm

I have always tried to be brave and not let others, and my own, criticism keep me from making great memories with my kids. However an earlier post mentioned being in pictures with your kids. I do tend to she away from unflattering or possibly unflattering photos. This post made me think of what comfort pictures of my own mother brought me when we lost her three years ago when I was 35 and my daughter was a newborn. We are blessed to live in an age to have this technological memory box. When I see my mothers pictures I do not see whether she was heavy or thin. (She did fluctuate through the years as many of us do). I only see the woman that was and is so dear to my life for far too few years. I also have a way of sharing memories of her with her granddaughter. I need to let this fear go for the love of my children and future grandchildren. Besides, love is what makes us truly beautiful, not our figures.

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Nichole June 21, 2014 at 10:36 pm

I love this!! I have 3 kids and my body has absolutley changed. But I still put my 2 piece on and ACT like I feel beautiful for my kids, especiallly my daughter. No matter how I see myself, I talk a different story to my kids. My youngest son asked me what “them lines” were on my sides. I told him they were my love marks because when I was pregnant with them, my love grew and grew because of that, it left a permanent reminder for me to always cherish. Who cares about stretch marks, cellulite, extra skin, etc. God gave me 3 precious angels. They are the only 3 people that heard my heartbeat from the inside, that kicked, flipped, made my body change in the strangest ways, but above all, He gave me 3 healthy kids. For that I am beyond blessed and will embrace “them lines” forever. :)

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Susan (5 Minutes for Mom) June 21, 2014 at 11:32 pm

The smile on your face in that first photo says it all. Pure joy.

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Stephanie June 21, 2014 at 11:52 pm

My parents took us kids to the beach every summer. They both wore their suits and all of us kids were thrilled when they came in with us. It is probably my best memory of feeling loved by my parents. The day was about us, kids, parents and them as a couple and I loved it all.

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Viktoria hart June 21, 2014 at 11:55 pm

I have teenagers now, and have ALWAYS put on the suit. I cannonball, run off the diving board, do handstands and flips with my soft, pudgy mom-body!! And guess whose mom the kids want to take them to the pool? Yep. Not my bikini-ready friend who lays out. All my kids STILL play WITH me. It’s worth it. I’m going to the pool tomorrow, and yelling “Geronimo!!” off the diving board. You should come!!

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Sis June 22, 2014 at 1:22 am

While you look fine in your beautiful suit, *I* can’t even find one that fits. :( I’d love to see the time when there is something else to wear in the water. Something that does not resemble anything in my lingerie drawer. sigh

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De Jackson June 22, 2014 at 10:55 am

Sis, I wear board shorts when I kayak, or float. That has helped tremendously with my comfort in the water.

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Sis June 22, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Board shorts? Nice. I’m learning a lot about the choices that are out there! Thanks guys. :)

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De Jackson June 23, 2014 at 12:01 am

I’ve even shopped for them in the men’s department, and found some that work well. ;)

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Amber June 22, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Have you tried Lane Bryant? I love their clothes. Just checked and swimwear is on sale 30% off.

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Donna Amis Davis June 22, 2014 at 1:44 am

Love this! I just turned the big 6.0. and hey, there are parts of my body that have shifted around in the past 30 or so years! But reading your post made me remember with a big smile holding the hands of my 3- and 4-year-old grandkiddos as we played in the ocean the other week. I may not look hot, but we sure had fun!

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Keleigh June 22, 2014 at 2:50 am

Thank you for writing this post. I tell myself this every time I put on my suit; but despite my motivational “who cares, it’s all about my kids” mantra, the nasty voice of self doubt resurfaces. That voice is mean, reminds me of my pre-kids body that I didn’t appreciate. We ALL need to silence the inner voice of negativity. We are moms!! We carry God’s most precious gifts in our stretched out and scarred tummies.
What bothers me the most is that the majority of the ridicule that causes our swim suit anxiety disorders come from other women! We MUST stop belittling one another and start empowering each other instead.
Thank you for helping remember to just enjoy every moment with my kids!

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mamaof3 June 22, 2014 at 5:47 am

Or you could just stop eating cookies and lose weight. Problem solved. Why is being fat becoming an accepted thing?

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De Jackson June 22, 2014 at 10:41 am

First of all, Jessica is NOT fat, by any stretch of the imagination. And she’s pregnant.
This is exactly the sort of caustic, rude, judgmental, ridiculous comment that can keep many of us normal-sized women from wanting to put on a bathing suit.

I see you are “mamaof3.” If that’s true, and “just stop eating cookies” works for you, and you can lose weight that way, look heavenward and praise the Lord. I don’t eat cookies, or for that matter, other sugar. I work out just about every day. Since having my kids via C-sections (they are now 11 and 12), in order to stay in a size 8, I have to do a whole lot more than “not eat cookies” and work out reasonably every day. I decided about a year ago it just.isn’t.worth.it. Now I eat for energy, take care of the body I’ve been given as best as I can in the time that I have (WITHOUT making it an obsession, or taking too much time from my family). This means size 10, edging into 12, which by many of the world’s standard is “Plus.”

We should all absolutely take the best care of ourselves we can. But frankly, comments like yours are neither valid, nor helpful.

When did being RUDE become an accepted thing?

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De Jackson June 22, 2014 at 10:46 am

Also, it should always, always be an “accepted thing” to put on a swimsuit and play with your kids, no matter what size you are. Period.

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marjan July 2, 2014 at 4:06 am

Amen!

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Victoria June 22, 2014 at 6:29 am

I was 46 when our 7th child was born. Now, she is nearly 10. I don’t look anything like I used to in a swimsuit, but I put it on and go in the pool with her because I don’t want her to be the kid who grew up with Mommy being too old, tired, embarrassed, whatever, to have fun with her. And I so treasure the times that I do it! Her name, Eden, means “delight”. We chose it because we wanted her to know that we delight in God’s plan for us, and we delight in her. And at times like those at the beach or the pool, I choose to let that delight trump everything else!

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nechelle June 22, 2014 at 7:21 am

I was 250+pounds last yr, now I am pregnant and 280lbs and couldnt wait to hit the pool this yr! I wear a one piece with no cover up and get laughed at all the time.My children and I go swimming at least four times a week. Last yr my son and I dove off parallel diving boards together, danced pool side when our favorite songs came on, and just enjoyed our days together. I can care less about how I make people feel when I wear my swimsuit, i only care that my children will remember how fun their mom was. I feel sorry for those women who sit on the side lines and dont enjoy their time because they allow cellulite define them.

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Sis June 23, 2014 at 9:57 pm

I imagine there are SOME women that you inspire. It makes me think of someone that *lives* in their home. Maybe they homeschool or work out of their home but it is lived in and messy. You always feel welcome there. You remind me of a very warm and hospitable hostess.

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Diane June 22, 2014 at 8:02 am

My friends and I are all 50′s and 60′s something year olds. Backyard pool parties are something we all do every summer and trust me, by our age we don’t care a hoot what we look like in our swimsuits. It’s all about the celebration of life and having wonderful memory making times together. xox I know your blog is a ‘Mommy Blog’ and I am far beyond that time in my life, but I just want to remind you ladies that the body you have right now is worth showing off. Just have fun with your children in and out of the water because you, like me, will be sixty something in the blink of an eye.

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Cassi June 22, 2014 at 8:03 am

I LOVE this and I 100% agree with you! I cannot imagine just letting my kids have all the fun themselves! I am 235lbs and carry most of it in my legs but I really don’t care about what other people think. I care that my kids think that it is super fun to have mommy swimming with them. Many times I have other people’s kids coming up to me in the water and wanting to play because their parent simply won’t get in the water with them. Sometimes I play with them too and other times I just want to yell-come play with your kids! because I want to just take some time to enjoy mine. I am a teacher so summer is my time with my kids and I don’t want to miss a second of it! I miss way too much of it during the school year! I only wish my husband would hear this message-he constantly misses out because he is insecure about how he looks (yet he weighs less than me! LOL) and the kids really do love it when he comes along. Our bodies are only a housing for our souls and I am not going to make my soul miss out on the fun because the housing needs some work ;)

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Moni June 22, 2014 at 8:15 am

Thank you thank you for this inspiring article! Bating suit season has been my personal battle every year but after reading this, no more. From now on I will looking forward to summer and will wear my bathing suit proudly. Contrary to you I am not a young mother. As a mother of a 29 and 26 year old girls and turning 60 next year, my body is also the story of my life. Every curve and line is part of me and I should be proud of everyone of them! The softness of my body should not be frowned on but celebrated! Again thank you for your article today it made not only my day but a changing one. Beach here I come 😊

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Jordan Smith June 22, 2014 at 9:27 am

I really needed to hear this. It made me cry. I haven’t ever worn my suit in public, and I am 30 years old. I plan on doing this next weekend.

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Natalie Adams June 22, 2014 at 10:37 am

I really don’t understand how someone women can despise their bodies to the point that it will stop them from doing something with their children. That just boggles my mind! People are so judgmental and as long a we allow their opinions to limit us we will always be trapped into thinking there are certain things we can and cannot do due to our body shapes and sizes. Never once have I been ashamed of putting on a swim suit and going to the pool (or beach on vacation) with my daughter, Addison or my husband, Sean because it’s something we enjoy doing together. When Addison is an adult and looks back on her childhood, I don’t want there to ever be a time that she ever has to say I wish my mom would have done more with me. I think it’s pretty sad when any adult has to have that kind of memory. Women need to take back their lives and embrace the body they have and stop waiting to live until they have the body they want or the body they think society thinks they should have!

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Melissa June 22, 2014 at 11:05 am

I have a very difficult time finding a swimsuit to fit me properly. I am not well endowed despite the extra 50 lbs so the tops never fit like they should. Why do all designers think that over weight women have large breasts? Grrrr…. So, now I buy a bikini top that fits and is flattering then I buy matching material to make it a “tankini” and sew something that is loose and flowing. I am more comfortable and can enjoy myself without flashing anyone or worrying about my rolls being over exposed!

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De Jackson June 22, 2014 at 11:15 am

Melissa, what a wonderful, creative solution. This sounds BEAUTIFUL!

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Denise Apuzzo June 22, 2014 at 11:51 am

I love this because I have been on both sides of the equation. I had my 3 children in a space of four years, and remained 20 lbs overweight for several years. I alway wore my suit to the beach or pool, but was a bit self conscious just the same. I didn’t envy the teenaged bikini bodies, I admired those heavier women who were comfortable in their own skin. Then a few years ago, I lost 45 pounds rapidly before I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and anemia, I am 5’7″ and weighed less than 110 pounds. Some women were telling me how great I looked – while I was feeling awful, weak and skeletal. I would have given anything to have those extra 20 lbs back. I am now on a daily regimenof drugs and have adjusted my diet. I have to stay between 130 and 140 lbs, so I am at my ideal weight, I go to the beach now with my college and high school aged kids and I am just grateful for the time I still have with them. I go in the ocean because I really treasure each moment I have with.

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gina June 22, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I spent too many years on the sidelines. When I finally went in, I shocked myself because I felt the most happy I ever felt in years! It was so moving that I cried tears of joy! All I can say is “jump in!”

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Jeffrey Franck June 22, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Don’t forget all the men/boyfriends/husbands who think you are still incredibly sexy!

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Sandra June 22, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Well, I wish I looked as good as you in my swimsuit, but I am almost sixty and 50 pounds overweight. Does that keep me from wearing a swimsuit? No it doesn’t. I have a ball playing water games with my 6 grandchildren. I don’t have a firm flat abdomen and my thighs have more dimples than an orange peel, but life is short and I am going to enjoy it.

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Lisa June 22, 2014 at 1:26 pm

What if you have not had children? (And past that age?) What do we tell ourselves?

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Amber Backes June 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm

The world needs you to be a part. There is too much life to be lived to watch it go by.

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Anna June 23, 2014 at 7:59 am

As a mom, I love when my friends who aren’t moms or who are single are out there embracing life! It encourages and inspires me!

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april June 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Definitely hit home with me. I have not only had a child but I have had 2 back surgeries. So this year I have been very subconscious of how I look, therefore not getting in the pool with my daughter. Thank you for your words. You are very right. There really isn’t anything like a happy child.

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Karla June 22, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Thanks for the encouragement!

I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life and having three babies has helped me appreciate my body in a number of ways… but has also given me more things with which to get discouraged! I gained over 50 pounds with each pregnancy, was able to lose some weight after the second, but it seems so much harder this time around and the scale isn’t budging despite eating well and exercising.

I groan at the approach of Summer and hate reading articles about finding The Perfect Swimsuit because none of them help all of my problem areas! I’m pear-shaped and have no chest to speak of but carry everything in my tummy, hips, and thighs. Just the other day someone asked if I was expecting another baby!

We went camping last week, and even though I felt self-conscious… I know my kids just want to have fun and my husband loves me for who I am so I sucked it up and squeezed myself into my too-tight swimsuit. I’m so glad I did!

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KD June 22, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Great article. Thank you!

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Karina June 22, 2014 at 4:30 pm

I remember every single time my little brother and I went into water as a child, I would always LONG for my mom to come in and play with us. We would beg her and beg her, but she would always refuse, because she was so insecure about being overweight. She was indeed about 80lbs overweight, so her fears were very real. But I just felt sad, because I loved my mom so much and wanted her to play with us. I didn’t care about what she weighed!

Now that I am an adult with two children of my own (and a few extra pounds myself from two pregnancies very close together), I definitely understand where my mom was coming from and sympathize with her. But I would like to just ask the ladies that read this–put the suit on for your kids! They just want to play with you. I won’t let anyone’s judgement hold me back from enjoying my boys. It is hard to try to get to a place where you step out in that swimsuit in spite of judgement, but it is so worth it. Your kids will always remember those times playing with you, I promise.

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gin June 22, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Hello, I love this. I am sad to say I am a mom who just puts her feet in the water. After having my first and only daughter I Have no embrace my new body very well. Everything I knew about my body has changed. I gain weight easier, I don’t tan I just burn, if I stay in the sun to long I get rashes, I got an instant patch of Grey hair after birth, I can no longer jump and play without peeing (this terrifies me every time and it’s been 6 years ), my boobs stayed big and never went back to my B size bra, and my nice soft feet crack the first signs of flip flop season.
I am a wreck and would love to be able to embrace this new body of mine and not care what others think and just enjoy life with my daughter, but the stares and chatters get to me every time and I think about the time I went to a water park when I was pregnant and a teen shouted out at me ” you should leave this park you whale” and I just think about that every time I put on a swimsuit. If I really think about it I only gained 20 lbs with my daughter and was only 185 lbs when she was born. But the years since I have added weight and the more I think I look like a “whale” when I look at myself in a swimsuit.
I hope one day I will embrace my body and have confidence you women have in yours. Thanks for the story it did hit home!

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Janice June 22, 2014 at 4:50 pm

I’m a mom of 3 and grandmother of 4. My oldest and only son, died August 3, 2013 of cancer at 47 yrs old. His wife, 3 kids, another daughter and her child, are going to beach. We will have a good time, plus share stories and memories and shed tears of Stephen. I have gained weight since retiring and losing my son, but bought a bathing suit to wear. I don’t want to miss out on sharing this experience with my grand kids. The beach we are going to, they have all been to before, but my first time at this one. Looking forward to trip. PS.. To mom of Jonathan, I’ll say a prayer for you. There is no way to describe the pain one experiences when losing a child.

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Diane Taylor June 23, 2014 at 8:15 am

Hi Janice – I am SO SO SORRY for the loss of your precious son. My heart aches for you. I am glad you have family (especially grandchildren – I will never get to have them) who can ease the pain JUST A BIT in your heart. Know that you are loved by many – if you ever need an ear to just listen, I am here. My personal email is dmpfromri@yahoo.com

Praying for you :)
xxxooo dt

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Margo June 22, 2014 at 6:12 pm

I have guttate psoriasis, spider and varicose veins in addition to the extra weight of carrying children. That’s just to name a few things… I despise my body, and my own husband hasn’t seen it in years. I wish I could someday prepare myself for the stares of strangers and put on that suit. I live near the ocean, and wearing a dress to the beach is not fun. If I looked like you in a suit I would not even think twice about putting one on. Thanks for the good read. I just feel so far away from throwing caution to the wind in this area. :-/

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Ruth June 22, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Thank you. Thank you for refreshing my memory. Thank you for helping to conjure up those memories of joyful times with my children. They are grown and will be having children of their own in the near future and I want my grandchildren to remember how much fun their grandmother was and how confident and daring she was. I WILL be all this for them and for me.

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Diana June 22, 2014 at 6:53 pm

This is wonderful!! I totally agree and while I do not feel awesome/confident in a bathing suit I do it anyway. I also kind of hate the beach (i know im weird) but instead of just hanging by the pool on our family vaca last week we went to the beach and I would have rolled around in that sand all day to see my 9 month old in awe with the sand and the waves :-) Great article! and you look awesome in the bathing suit!

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Mary bishop June 22, 2014 at 6:56 pm

I think she looks great

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Jen June 22, 2014 at 7:30 pm

At the ripe age of 40, I bought my first bikini. Do I look good in it? Not really, but I wear a big floppy hat, sunglasses and smile a lot. If people don’t like what they see, they can look away. I decided long ago if I was meant to be thin, I would have been a lot taller. I’m not going to foist my insecurities onto my child- she’s precious and good and I want her to have a healthy self-esteem, so I have to have one too; even if my thighs are jiggly, and my belly is overly soft and have a “J” shaped roll near my bikini line, because of my c-section, who cares? She doesn’t and neither does her Daddy. Own your swimsuit beauty, OWN IT!!! We have to enjoy those precious kiddos, plus they don’t even know what cellulite is. And for the love of all that’s good, wear sunscreen!!! :)

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Sharon Taylor June 22, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Ok, girls, this is a wonderful sentiment. I commend all of you all. But fast forward a few years and I tell you gravity wins! But, really, I don’t care, lol.

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B June 22, 2014 at 8:21 pm

You look great in your swimsuit nothing to be ashamed of! It seems many moms often end up on the sidelines whether d/t insecurities or just too busy cleaning up after everyone else etc. THe best memories are when we get to join in! I have to add I think even if a woman doesn’t choose to or want to wear a swimsuit she should still feel free to get in the water, you can wear a tshirt over it or shorts/swim skirt and be more covered but still appropriate!

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Kelly Clark June 22, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Hooray! That beach is where I grew up in Laguna Beach right? I can tell by the houses in the backdrop! You look awesome and loved reading this!

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Joshua June 22, 2014 at 8:46 pm

So I saw a friend post this, and just had to comment. I had no idea what the post was about, I just saw a hot woman and decided to read about it. Don’t judge. Your gorgeous and your husband is lucky to be with you. And more importantly, your kids are lucky to have you next to them. Way to go MIL…I mean mom =)

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Shari McMinn June 22, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Part of the problem for us plus size ladies is finding attractive swimsuits that we like, and fit well. I have found that the online/catalogue store Woman Within has a great selection of styles, many with skirts over the hips, or even shorts, that have appropriate necklines, and are reasonably priced. They also have a number of attractive cover-ups. I order several each year, and feel I am at least looking the best I can when I swim with my kids.

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heather June 22, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Have you tried that crazy wrap thing? I just bought my first pair of shorts in 5 yrs, I had a heart condition that went undiagnosed for 28 yrs … it wrecked my body, I’ve been on every diet/fad I could search only to lose nothing or a little and gain it all back, exercise boy did I try but I had no idea my lungs were filled half way with fluid, so I became winded very very easily often turning into an asthma attack. My now boss showed me the amazing it works products and I have lost 23 pounds since Nov (my last cardiologist visit) if you have any questions at all about the it works products or how you can try them please please get in touch with me, if you go to my website and scroll all the way down there is a field to file out for questions I will get back to you ASAP

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Susan Bennett June 22, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Wonderful post! I’m a grandma & love playing with grandkids in the water. Really can’t run too well anymore. Kids love you just the way you are when you are spending time with them.

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Sis June 22, 2014 at 10:30 pm

How to work on the proper mindset? I know that when I see others in worse condition than myself and they seem to have no inhibitions, I am inspired. (I imagine others just scoff.) That really just shows who *they* are, NOT who we are.

There are women that have undergone mastectomies, been thru scarring events like fires and surgeries, have skin issues, and they have to deal with the stares of others. I suppose the hardest thing with “just” being overweight is that we know that others look at us and say/think that it’s our CHOICE to look that way. I say it to myself!

I did want to say that this is not a pregnancy affliction. I had 3 babies and bounced right back to pre-pregnancy shape/weight. But, a year+ after #3, I started gaining weight. I have other friends that have gone thru lots of body shape changing without having children. I think it may be hormone related and/or age related as much or more than pregnancy related.

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Stephanie@Mrs.Debtfighter June 22, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Beautiful post and you look great!! I wouldn’t pass up time in the water with my kiddos either but thank goodness for cute one-pieces with tummy-slimmer! :)

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Susie June 22, 2014 at 11:01 pm

I love this post! I am VERY petite. When I was pregnant with my first child, (in the 80′s), I had food cravings that put a bit of weight on me. I was still working. Customers just thought I was chunky. One man literally told me I wasn’t pregnant, I was just lazy. Many expected me to carry heavy items down from the up stairs and would get upset when they had to wait for someone else to do it. So my friend bought me a shirt that said, “I’m not fat. I’m pregnant.” I just about wore it out. I even wore it in the pool, because floating when you’re pregnant felt good on the back! LOL

On an awesome note, Donna Summer came into the store and she was arguing with her guy friend. I asked if I could help her find something and she blurted out, “Honey, are you pregnant?” I said yes and she did a light smack on the guys arm and said, “See, I TOLD you she was! Honey, can I feel the baby?” Of course I said YES!!!

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Sis June 23, 2014 at 12:17 am

One more post. :) I’ve been contemplating some of the things said here and things that I’ve tho’t of after reading the comments. It’s kind of funny that I could even entertain the idea of getting a suit because this is an everyday – 365 days a year – problem for me.

I am embarrassed to exercise in front of anyone. My husband is around quite often and I never know when he’s going to pop in for something. I have my daughter and her kids living with me. I never feel “safe” enough to workout. It’s really about as silly as not wanting to put on a swimming suit, isn’t it?

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j June 23, 2014 at 12:46 am

Come on now, I understand we all can be a little fat after having baby. But we cannot be lazy putting excuses for life. We have to be pretty women and take care of our bodies before having babies and after it. YOu girls got go work out and be FIT MOM!!!

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Dave June 23, 2014 at 3:00 am

The vast majority of my friends are women, many of whom are mothers. It saddens me to listen to them lament and disclose their insecurities to me when the come to me to a nonjudgmental ear. I so wish this was one of those things that could be answered by “flipping a switch” but it is not. One thing I often remind my friends or anyone who comes to me for counsel is that we should not be giving as much of the power over our lives, emotions, and decision making process to others as we are sometimes quick to do. All we can truly control in life is how we chose to react to the situations presenting to us, so take full control of that and the heck with what some fool my think or have to say.

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Anna Cook June 23, 2014 at 7:54 am

I’ve been reading your blog for a few years and I think this is the best post you’ve written. More than your words though, I am so encouraged by the pictures you shared of yourself playing on the beach with your kids. My husband recently asked me why I don’t take more pictures of the two of us rather than just of our kids and I told him it’s because I hate the way I look in photos. He was so encouraging but after just having had a baby, it’s so difficult to get past the weight gain insecurities. Thank you so much for sharing this!

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Tina June 23, 2014 at 8:17 am

THAT and You was just beautful! You are such a blessing to many. I am trying to come up with a saying for a chalkboard….Put on that swimsuit and choose Joy or something…..

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Megan Kunker June 23, 2014 at 8:25 am

That made my day and made me rethink the way I am with the kids at the beach.

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Juanita June 23, 2014 at 8:40 am

Grandmama here. I had a few thoughts while reading your wonderful article. First, I see grandmama’s with their visiting grandchildren not participating in the swimming. Not only would the swimming be one more bonding agent between children and grandmama’s, but the exercise for senior citizens is gold. There is no better exercise for older people than getting in the water and moving around. My other thought may not be as popular, but . . . working here to find the best words . . . wearing a more modest swimsuit is a thousand times more attractive than one that has all of our (me included) fat rolls hanging out to gross out other people. If you decide to wear a bikini when you have fat rolls, expect to be stared at. Those that stare in disgust are giving you the volume of attention you obviously desire. There are many bathing suit styles for all body types, and I just think it is an exercise in self demoralization to expose fat rolls in public.

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MeeLee June 23, 2014 at 9:40 am

Funny response, but oh so true!

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Karinabee June 23, 2014 at 8:49 am

I learned to love my body while living in Latin America. I was amazed how every woman walked down the beach as if she looked fabulous no matter what. Even elderly women flaunted their curves. And I saw these women carrying so much less stress than myself and I saw them as beautiful irregardless of body type simply because they believed and projected that. After three kids my boobs hang low and my belly bulges but my confidence is greater now than when I was in my 20s simply because I choose not to let that self-doubt into my head. It’s bathing suit season an you bet I’m doing cannonballs, building sand castles with sprawled legs and racing to the other side of the pool. That old insecurity is gone and I feel better than ever :)

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Tara Frroemming June 23, 2014 at 9:19 am

Awesome. And you look great in your suit anyway! Congrats on your pregnancy.

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MeeLee June 23, 2014 at 9:35 am

Although the article encourages women with lower self esteem to reach out for the beach,
I think it’s really only addressing the superficial.
Do women want to be hunted by guys?
If not, put on that bathingsuit, just like you are, and stop complaining when they complement the skinny woman 100 ft from you, but not you.
If you want to be in the attention of other guys, you may have personality issues that need working on, or, you could easily lose 30lbs in 3 months if you wanted it.

So many women make up excuses, but really? There’s no excuse!
If you are afraid to lose weight, start looking into your nutrition, and exercise.
There really is no excuse nowadays, other than a serious medical reason, why you can’t look just as skinny, toned, and beautiful like the other girl who hasn’t carried babies.

Yes, you might have scars, but no reason to keep the wound open.

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Lauren June 23, 2014 at 10:16 am

You sure DO look pretty in your swimsuit. I just want to highfive you for this post. I hope it reaches far and wide and resonates with every mom who is beating herself up when she looks in the mirror. Beauty is not isolated to 36″ 25″ 34″…..and our daughters need to KNOW this.

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Pam June 23, 2014 at 10:55 am

Love this post and agree completely. For years, I would wear a big T-shirt over my swimsuit because I didn’t like the way my thighs or tummy looks. Fortunately with age (now a grandmother) I have gained wisdom and self-acceptance. True, I have lost quite a few pounds, but still weigh more than I would like; nevertheless, I put on my swimsuit (gasp – even a two-piece!) and have a good time with my kids and grandkids. Trust me, our kids/grandkids will only the remember the good times, not that you jiggled a little when you run.

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Lucia June 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

I just had my second back surgery in one year. Unlike last year’s, this time surgeon had to cut four places in my lower back and make a big side to side incision right under my belly button. Not only I’m not quitting my swimsuit, I’m not quitting my bikini – though I know I’ll have to adjust its size. My 8 y/o son has missed out on 3 years of me being unable to take on things like swimming with him. And though I praise God that daddy does all that I can’t these days, as soon as I’m ready, I’m taking the plunge right back into wife & motherhood. God gifts us with family so we can FULLY enjoy every moment with each other, in which our culture, generation, and responsibilities take too much from as it is! We should never concern ourselves with what others think. Only with what God thinks about us, and what He thinks in terms of us wasting the very blessings He gifts us with: each other and the earth, and time to enjoy it! Thanks so very much! Yours is a bold, truthful, and encouraging testimony!

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katie w June 23, 2014 at 11:10 am

This is great! i have friends that are maybe just a few pounds more than they would like to be and i hope they see this and decide to get in the water! i won’t, but I’m a lot more than a few pounds from where i want to be ;)

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Laura June 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm

You do look beautiful in your swimsuit. You’re glowing with the love and laughter having fun with your kids is producing in you. And you are radiating joy and confidence because you are focused on your children and playing and laughing, not on what you think others may be thinking (in a negative context). You look really good! I hope you continue in your confident stride to the beach because in doing so your beauty is able to shine forth. Well done!

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Neige June 23, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Great post- but what if u are just adverse to spending time in the sun- or find pools and oceans too cold ( I live in canada) I’m hoping I’m demonstrating to
My kids that it’s ok to march to your own drummer.
That you don’t always have to do what everyone is doing…
:) just another perspective

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Leslie June 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Thank you for posting your thoughts….and your pictures! Your children look like they are having a blast with their momma :) I’M OPTING IN!!!

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Meghan June 23, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Thank you for this post! I have two kids oldest is 4, youngest is one and last weekend I put on a bikini for the first time since high school. I was a little insecure out of the water but let myself have fun in the pool with my kids anyway. We jumped and splashed and had a great time. Sure I got stares but my kids were happy. I have cushings disease so am 40 lbs heavier than I would like to be and have dark stretch marks everywhere but I got into a bikini and made the best of it with my kids.

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Bonnie June 23, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Hard to do with so many tiny women in bikinis on Instagram, Facebook & Real life. Extra skin & stretch mark removal effects the mental status of some women as much as gender displacement affects some people who feel like another gender. The insides need to match the outsides. There’s no way to prevent stretch marks or sagging skin from pregnancy, except no pregnancy. Since transgender plastic surgery operations are covered by health insurance, I support mothers having plastic surgery covered by their health insurance companies. It isn’t just aesthetic, it’s internal & can feel like a punishment, like being in the wrong person’s body. Transgender and other people who have had burns, scars, etc. will know what I mean. There is no shame in wearing a swimsuit as a mom, but sometimes for some of us we feel we are in the wrong body suit entirely. Pressure to be ok with it is like telling a person who was born a man but identifies as a woman, that they should be proud of the outside of their body and flaunt it.Or the same for someone who was disfigured in a fire. They need treatment. It isn’t lack of pride, it’s that moms are being denied a physically repaired body, aware that other women don’t have to deal w/post-pregnancy body effects & told to deny that we feel withdrawn. I can get in the water, but I will never be fully present until I have my mommy body tuck. I applaude any woman who goes out to the beach or pool, but the internet has lately had a wave of women writing telling women to put bathing suits on with the goal of empowering positive body image or doing it for their kids in a way that comes off as pressuring. There is no shame in wearing whatever to the beach or pool because you or anyone has gained fat, but if we feel not wanting to reveal the extensive scarring or sagging skin from pregnancy, then it is ok. We can go in shorts & a tank. What really should be changed are the ways in which women’s bodies are cared for & treated after childbirth. Our health care companies and our culture would do better to facilitate our physical and mental healing with plastic surgery and fitness instructor sessions. These may sound like silly suggestions to some, but these dramatic & often painful (in the case of extreme stretch mark tearing & extra skin fold care) results from the beautiful gift of creating life can directly lead to long lasting depression. Recent studies show (which can easily be Googled) young women of child bearing age who are depressed more than double their risk of heart disease & heart attack. This is something that needs to change. Let me add this bathing suit pressure of thinking I’m being not present enough for my kids to the list of things to feel guilty about. Motherhood is ripe with them. The thing kids admire and remember isn’t what we are wearing, but whether we are active. Working out with them is great as a health motivator & kid lesson. Pool time is ok, not really thrilling and sort of boring honestly. Most of my enjoyment in the pool was having fun splashing around & flirting with my guy, but can get monotonous just taking my kids there with just them to talk to. The author has a husband, which supports her self image, a rock of security, so it is easier to speak of body satisfaction with a mate. As a single divorced mom of four, who worked hard to lose the baby weight but has intense stretch marks & sagging skin on my abdomen,thighs & upper arms anyway, pool & beach time is not a thrilling place. Bikinis long since discarded & will be, until I can have my body repaired. I feel no shame in saying that. It will take years to save the money & during those years I will not fully be myself in my body. Let’s not be positive to the point of delusion. Good grief, let’s wear whatever we want.

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Sis June 23, 2014 at 9:39 pm

No, that’s not the spirit of the article at all!

She says, “They go to the pool with their kids, ***but they only put their feet in the pool***. ***They sit on the sidelines***, too concerned about what they look like and what others will think to embrace the joy of swimming with their kids. Or they go to the beach, but ***stay under the umbrella*** instead of running into the ocean.”

She doesn’t really go into “do what you need to” to feel comfortable but rather encourages one to get ***out*** there with your kids.

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Heather Gibbens June 23, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Wow! Thank you so much, I needed that! After my fifth child I have struggle to get back where I’m happy and your blog really made me think about the cost my vanity and insecurity has on my babies!

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Lindsay June 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm

I just threw out every single bathing suit I own. And I find this article unbelievably insulting to women like me.

If I go to the beach or pool, I’ll go in a huge baggy tshirt and shorts. Actually, I’d probably have to buy shorts for that to happen.

Also, you can’t talk. You’re thin. You have no idea. Your words mean nothing when she looks as good as she does.

Just because I choose not to put on a bathing suit, doesn’t mean I’m missing out on anything. Just because I choose not to put on a bathing suit doesn’t mean I’m “on the sidelines”. Just because I choose not to put on a bathing suit, doesn’t mean I don’t laugh with my child.

Just because I choose not to have my stomach hanging over my bathing suit onto my thighs, doesn’t mean I’m giving my son a bad self-image, or a bad image of women.

Just because I choose to be comfortable, doesn’t mean I should be judged as having low or no self esteem. Just because I choose not to put on a bathing suit, doesn’t mean my son won’t remember that I “was there”.

And just because some woman who’s probably about 140 lbs decides she wants to judge me because I don’t wear a bathing suit, doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and buy one.

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De Jackson June 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm

I think you may have missed the entire point of this post. “Put on the suit” isn’t meant to be pressure to put on something you’re uncomfortable in. It’s a call to all of us to not allow our discomfort to keep us from enjoying life. If that means shorts and a tank top or tee shirt (which for me it sometimes does), then YES. The author is not condemning that – she’s celebrating being comfortable in your own skin, whatever you’re in, to enjoy the ocean, the pool, the beach, your kids. It’s not about what you’re wearing, it’s about getting out there and enjoying the experience.

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Bonnie June 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm

No, the author is telling women to put on a suit…that is the point of this post. The author is saying we should not feel uncomfortable in bathing suits and if we do, we are harming our children’s self-image, etc. This woman has the right to feel uncomfortable putting on a suit when she knows her body not being firm makes her feel uncomfortable and that it will not snap back quickly.

It is refreshing for someone to not be delusional. Many woman who have children do not feel like they are in their right bodies anymore, and that is valid. You may not have intended to, but your reply to this woman’s post comes off as very condescending. She didn’t get the point? Yes, she did. She just didn’t agree. The truth is, many of us would legitimately feel better and in our own bodies again, if we could afford plastic surgery. The insides need to match the outsides. Asking anyone to buck up and force comfort in a suit is thoughtless. This reminds me of people who put #blessed, when really they are just lucky and bragging. Am I impressed this woman put on a bathing suit? No. We either feel out insides match our outsides, or they don’t. Things that build self-esteem: consistent workouts with weight training and cardio, clean diet, strong support system of family and friends, loving romantic partner…plastic surgery tummy, thing,butt, upper arm tucks. Things that lower self-esteem: unfit bodies, lack of support system, lack of loving loving partner, lack of need plastic surgery. Bathing suit wearing has nothing to do with it. That IS what this woman is saying, that wearing a bathing suit when you are fat will make you feel good about yourself and you will magically forget what you look like to others and yourself and how uncomfortable you are in the thing. Delusional. Insulting. I know I run faster and play more on the beach in a tank top and shorts that I know I will not come spilling out of. That is confidence building, not
“oh look at the brave sausage woman busting out of that lycra wrapping trying to be confident!”
We have standards and want to get ourselves looking toned before that memory is seared into people’s minds. So what?

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De Jackson June 23, 2014 at 4:45 pm

I respectfully disagree. Even after reading the article again, I feel her intention is MUCH more about enjoying the activities involved than what she is wearing, or encouraging us to wear. I think she would agree 100% that you should wear what you’re comfortable in, and get out there and enjoy the ocean, pool, etc. For her, that’s a beautiful, colorful swimsuit. For me, when I kayak, it’s board shorts. It’s not about what we’re wearing. It’s about not sitting out of an activity we would truly enjoy, because we think we’ll look fat or silly doing it.

I truly believe this was a call to all women to just have the right to feel beautiful and vibrant and alive and adventurous in our own skin, whatever we’re comfortable wearing – not worrying so much what the world thinks, and just embracing the sunshine and the sea. As for me, I plan to take her advice.

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De Jackson June 23, 2014 at 4:52 pm

I’m earnestly trying to do the best I can with what I’ve got (daily workouts, eating right), but if I wait until I’ve got myself “looking toned” as you say, I would have to sit out of a whole lot of things I enjoy. And honestly, the only
“memory seared into people’s minds” I care about is that of my family, enjoying the Lake together.

Lindsay June 24, 2014 at 7:29 am

I would encourage you to read it again to try to see it from my point of view. As stated, just because I don’t wear a bathing suit, doesn’t mean I’m not at the beach or in the water or playing with my child.
This blog post is making the assumption that if I don’t have the “confidence” to wear a bathing suit, then I’m not enjoying my family. And it’s a load of utter BS.

Beyond that, “confidence” doesn’t come in bathing suits. I’m completely confident on who and what I am, and I have no qualms about that. Just because I decide I’m not going to wear a bathing suit, doesn’t mean that I’m NOT confident, or that I’m giving my kids a bad impression on what self-image is supposed to be. I dress for my body type… but more importantly I dress for ME.

I can go to the beach or the pool, and go in the water, without the suit. Why is that not okay? She’s going to look at me and say “oh, poor, poor soul. It’s so sad, she’s so sad, because she won’t put on a bathing suit”. It’s judgmental. I’m not sad. I’m being who I am.

Lindsay June 24, 2014 at 7:30 am

Thank you, Bonnie. For understanding.

It’s appreciated.

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De Jackson June 24, 2014 at 10:03 am

I can’t really speak for the author, since I don’t personally know her, but based solely on what she has originally written, I would say that if she saw you enjoying the beach, enjoying the pool, enjoying the ocean, with confidence, she would be FAR from saying “oh, poor, poor soul.” She’ would be CELEBRATING you, and this article is her way of encouraging the rest of us to get the heck out there and enjoy life, rather than sitting under our umbrellas, hiding our bodies. It’s not about what we’re wearing, what allows us to be comfortable in those situations – it’s about running in the ocean, and swimming with our kids (or spouse, or friends). For me, that is absolutely the spirit of this article.

Lynn June 23, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Oh how I needed this today! We are blessed enough to have a pool and I am the only one in my family that seems to avoid it like the plague over the last year or so! While my older daughter is a camp this week, my 5 year old son was swimming today (of course, I just had my feet in watching) and he said, “I wish you were in here playing with me Mommy!” I trudged upstairs and put on an an old, and too small, suit and got in – he was soooo happy! And you know what, so was I! I am going tonight to get a suit that will fit my right now body and will be spending the rest of the summer enjoying every minute in the water with my little “fish” kids!

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Vanessa June 23, 2014 at 3:50 pm

The first thing I noticed when I saw the photos and before reading the post was how genuinely happy you looked, not how you looked in a swimsuit. Wonderful thoughts, I hope we can all take your advice and have some fun! Thank you!

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Lisa P June 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Jessica, I have to say, I love this!!!!! I am a 54 year old mother of 2 grown kids and the grandmother of 3 ages 10, 8, & 7. When I was younger I always dreaded bathing suit shopping because I was stick thin and built like a boy. Now at 54, I have jiggly belly that I CAN NOT get rid of, and drooping thighs so the thought of a suit did not thrill me. Last year I found one that will cover the belly well and leave the back open. Still have the droopy thighs, but I am going to wear that suit this year if we ever get some days without rain! Your blog made me feel better about it and I just wanted to say thank you very much!!!! And by the way, you look GREAT in your suit!!!!

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renee @ slowing down to savor life (through creativity) June 23, 2014 at 4:53 pm

oh, wow this is SO GOOD!! i’m definitely guilty of not wanting to get in my bathing suit after 2 babies. our family vacay is coming up and i was already starting to think about how I really don’t wanna put my bathing suit on…it’s been a LONG time!! but your words have inspired me to push my those icky thoughts about myself aside and focus more on the JOY that my kids will be filled up with having their mama swimming right there with them. thank you for this!! it came at the most perfect time!! and also…seeing the JOY on your face in the picture up above is REALLY what this mama thing is all about!! thank you!!

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Mary June 23, 2014 at 6:05 pm

I feel the same way, I am much bigger than you and I take my boys to the beach every chance I get!

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Karin June 23, 2014 at 7:37 pm

What perfect timing. Just bought a suit today. Took my 13 month old to the beach last week and he never left the shore because I felt fat. My sweet boy LOVES the water. I finally decided it was not fair to either of us to miss the joy of the water because of my body image issues.

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natalie adams June 23, 2014 at 8:34 pm

can someone please help? I love this post and I commented on it earlier; I mistakenly clicked on the ‘notify me of follow up comments by email and new posts by email and now my inbox is being over-flowed by emails….can someone please tell me how to stop these notifications???

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Sis June 23, 2014 at 8:36 pm

At the bottom of your emails it says:

Want less email? Unsubscribe from all follow-up comments or modify your Subscription Options.

Just click on the unsubscribe part. :)

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natalie adams June 23, 2014 at 8:42 pm

unsubscribe part isn’t hi-lited to give that option :(

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natalie adams June 23, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Sis..I tried that but the ‘unsubscribe part’ isn’t hi-lited or be able to click on :(

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Sis June 23, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Oh, sorry! It is on mine. :\

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natalie adams June 23, 2014 at 8:44 pm

sorry didn’t mean to reply twice LOL; just saw your reply….not sure why it doesn’t show up that way on my email though…and I tried several different ways to view it….

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angela@spinachtiger June 23, 2014 at 9:00 pm

I’m with you on this. Getting IN the pool. Swimming WITH kids is a joy beyond joy. I’ll never have THE body, but I have a body that can swim and laugh and hug. Great transparency here. Love it. Love that you put yourself out there and you spoke from your heart, a good place to live.

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RiverTam June 23, 2014 at 9:01 pm

As much as I might want to “put on the suit,” I can’t. I’m too big, too scarred, and have an atlas on both of my legs. Believe me when I say no one wants to see that. If I was down to 100-110 again, absolutely but until a miracle suddenly happens, I’ll be on the sidelines letting my girl play with her daddy.

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Jess White June 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Love this! Having just spent a weekend at the beach, and gearing up for daily swimming lessons with my triplets {for which I have to wear a suit and be in the water}. I have to constantly give myself pep talks, that I shouldn’t care what I look like or what other people think, because my kids or more thrilled that mommy is there with them, than on the side.

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Elaine A. June 23, 2014 at 9:41 pm

KUDOS TO YOU! And congrats on your pregnancy! You DO look beautiful and this post is completely inspiring and positive. Just the way I like ‘em! Thank you!!!

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anonymous guy June 23, 2014 at 9:53 pm

I am a 28 year old straight male with a long-term girlfriend. I find this article, and the perpetual discussion about female bodies in the media, to be tragic. I am convinced that women diet not to impress men, but to impress other women. Straight men are, in my opinion, more attracted to the Scarlett Johanssen body type (i.e. with curves) than to the rail-thin runway models. I mean this with all respect to the married author of this article, with the full realization that self-esteem shouldn’t just be determined by what men think of you, but YOU ARE WICKED HOT. Of course I can’t speak for everyone, but I think most men like women with breats. I’m sorry, but runway models are just too flat. Of course there’s a point when you can just be overweight, but you ain’t there, honey. Whine all you want about putting on your swimsuit, but the men on that beach are thanking you. ;)

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Julia June 23, 2014 at 10:09 pm

You are a brave and brilliant woman. Good for you for realizing early what so many of us took a lot longer to learn: you are not defined by the judgement of others but by who you are and what you do. Enjoy your children; it is clear you’ve got your head on straight and your heart in the right place.

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Mollie Fortino June 23, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Thank you for this post. It came at a perfect time for me as we’ll be going to the beach next week and I have yet to find a bathing suit. I was almost to the point of giving up and considering just wearing what I wore the first time we took my 2 year old to the beach a month ago (Capri pants and a tshirt). But it’s not the same. I couldn’t really go in the water with my daughter that day and it was disappointing. I missed out and I don’t want to miss out again. You’ve lifted my spirit and I will go out again tomorrow and tackle finding a bathing suit. Not the perfect one that hides all the stretch marks while also sucking in my tummy. No, if I continue to look for that one I will miss the summer. Instead I will find a suit that fits, no matter what it does or doesn’t hide, and I will bask in the sun, splash in the ocean, and build sandcastles with my 2 year old and my dear husband as if it were only the three of us in our own tropical paradise. Thank you again for this!

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Megan June 23, 2014 at 10:17 pm

THANK YOU for revisiting this article! I wish I had seen this article a long time ago! I started wearing swimsuits again just 5 years ago. At that time, my DH and I had been married for 10 years (together for 12), and he had never seen me in a swimsuit! I was insecure about the way I looked, and it took me a while to get over it. My children’s happiness at being in the water and playing and having fun overruled any body issues I had! I am happy to report that I have been wearing a swimsuit every summer since! Thank you again. Please repost this every year – you never know who is going to read it and be changed! :-)

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Sandra June 23, 2014 at 11:20 pm

I have to say… This is inspiring…
I personally have always been insecure about my body… For whatever reason may be, and now with my baby in my arms I can say that when I finally got to see my stretch marks from the pregnancy I felt… Sad… As “I wasn’t even pretty before… But now I’m just horrible” even if my hubby said the opposite thing my own self awareness was-is- to harsh… Stretch marks on my tummy, thights, breast, a c-section scar, soft tummy… Is too much sometimes… But reading this made me remember this summer vacations with my dad… Playing in the pool or the beach… Those are my one of the most treasured and happy memories with him… I want that with my kids… I’ll push my self so I won’t miss this beautiful moments…
I’m happy I read this… :’)

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Dianne June 24, 2014 at 12:29 am

I actually think the print on your swimsuit is absolutely gorgeous!! At age 60′ but looking younger, I have the skirted ” granny” suit, because I refuse to stay out of the water!
I worked very hard to get pregnant, and I really don’t want to be 20 years old again…
Saw a wonderful T- shirt (paraphrased) : ” I have come to finally accept my original weight. After all, getting back down to 7 pounds, 6 ounces is totally unrealistic!”

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Nikki June 24, 2014 at 12:29 am

That was really beautiful! Thank you for writing that. You sound a lot like my Mom

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Kay June 24, 2014 at 1:03 am

I just read you whole resting on my bed after the best beach day ever. Usually i seat under the tent, hiding from the sun first but surely from peoples eyes cuz of the soft tummy and extra pounds… while my husband enjoys with my 3 girls in the sea.
He wasnt there today, but i felt the call to not make them miss him, or the fun with him, so i put on the swimsuit (actually was on but removed the layers!!) and hold their hands and jumped waves with them… They were happy but i was even more, since i remembered myself holding my mom hands and doing the same… I even remembered her bathing suits, her hair, everything i use to see every day every summer… Wow… MEMORIES. I was right there building my daughters memories… Nothing else mattered, believe me. No my weight, my tummy or the way my bathing suit wasnt behaving when confronting the waves.
Amazing feeling. How magic childhood us. So blessed to walk along our children thru that path.
THANK YOU for this reassuring post.

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Kat June 24, 2014 at 1:15 am

YES!!!! And AMEN! I am 100% right there with ya! I am putting on that swimsuit and heading out with the kiddos. I don’t look like I did 15 years ago, and that is just fine. I also didn’t have the 4 amazing little people 15 years ago so life is better now. I want my kids to remember the fun we had together, not how flat my stomach was.
Fabulous post! Thank you!

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Alison June 24, 2014 at 3:38 am

Fantastic. FANTASTIC. Thank you thank you thank you. You look wonderful, you are awesome, and you are RIGHT. Life is too short to ever miss out on joy, especially with our children. And by the way, your husband sounds awesome, and like he is setting a great example as well.

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Pip June 24, 2014 at 5:56 am

Lovely post. My only thought is that I suspect that those other women you junk are judging are most likely the women who are jealous you have the confidence to play with your kids in the ware in a swim suit! Good for you! And I agree, you do look gorgeous in your swimsuit!!

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rudey June 24, 2014 at 6:58 am

Mom, are you coming in? Yes!! I love it. Maybe it’s because the style is forgiving, but I’m loving the ’50′s-style suits this season. I bought my first one-piece suit since my lifeguarding days, and I feel stylish, confident and most important, ready to hit the pool/beach with my girls all summer. It’s from Target – http://www.target.com/p/merona-women-s-1-piece-swim-dress-polka-dot-print/-/A-14662911#prodSlot=large_1_15

Thanks for writing this beautiful piece.

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Annie June 24, 2014 at 7:00 am

It is truly a blessing to read such kind words shared by women. Thanks for the motivation and reminder to keep a healthy perspective.

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Kristi June 24, 2014 at 7:37 am

Great post! I identify on so many points. I’d just like to say, “Nice legs!!” I’d go for a higher leg cut for your next suit to show them off!

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tati June 24, 2014 at 8:06 am

Thank you so much for having the balls to go out there. I really needed this post today. You are amazing! It’s been 2 summers of me sitting on the sidelines feeling sorry for myself, every time I see a mirror this mean voice in my head kicks in. I will not allow this voice to be present anymore! Thank you!

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Elaine June 24, 2014 at 9:11 am

Thank you for posting this. I am going on vacation with my husbands family and we are going to the beach. I will be 14 weeks pregnant and was worried how I would look. I wanted to play on the ocean with our two nieces (5&7 years old) but didn’t want to look like a beached whale. Now that I read this I am going to get a swimsuit and wear my future child with pride instead of hide under the umbrella!

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Joyce Fisher June 24, 2014 at 10:23 am

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this article!!! I’m in a little different situation than yours, my kids are grown. As I’ve aged I’ve gained weight, things are sagging and the cellulite…ugh…cellulite. I love the water but gave up swimming because I was so embarrassed by the way I look now. I’ve cried reading this realizing how much joy I gave up because I was too concerned about what other women thought of me. Thank you for giving me a change of attitude…you’ve given me back the joys of summer!!!

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Alicia June 24, 2014 at 10:26 am

Wow. I never thought about it like that before. I started crying while reading this. I have avoided buying swim suits for years because I was ashamed and embarrassed by my body’s imperfections. I bought one last summer and wore it but still felt self conscious and yet I got out in the lake and in the river with the kids. They are in their teen years now, but they still need me and they still deserve to see me comfortable with myself. This year we went to my fiancé’s family lake house and I ALMOST didn’t bring my suit because I didn’t want his family to think I was a fatty. I brought it anyway and wore it every day at the lake. My fiancé looked at me while I was standing by the water and said “You look beautiful in your swimsuit, babe. I can’t believe you almost didn’t bring it.” All I could think was YAY. It made me feel great, and so much more ok with myself. Thanks for addressing this. Moms need to hear things like this to remind us of our most important job and our biggest blessing- raising our kids.

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Janeal June 24, 2014 at 11:15 am

This is just so great!! Thank you for putting words to this, because it really is a problem for so many women. After my first two children, I was much heavier than when I got married. I was so ashamed and self conscious. Then a few years later I had twins and that was the end of my swimsuit days altogether. I was just too embarrassed about how my body looked, I would purposely avoid outings to the pool so I didn’t even have to worry about whether our not to put on the suit or sit on the side. Thankfully now, even after two more kids and a few more pounds, I’ve finally realized that I have been missing out on life. I found a swimsuit that I can feel good in, and I no longer sit on the side of the pool, but get in and splash with my kids!

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Sis June 24, 2014 at 11:25 am

I am so happy for you, and all of you that have come to this place in your life. It’s very hard to get there once you feel you have crossed some line in weight or body shape. I’ve struggled with it since I was 125 lb! Now at 195 I am fairly mortified! I hope to put on the swimsuit, I just ordered!, on my trip to CA next week. I’m scared. I don’t know if I can do it. But, when I look at other women, my size, nearly my size, bigger than me, that are out there having fun, getting some sun and splashing in the water, I am so happy for them! I don’t think, “Oh my! If they only knew how awful they looked they’d never be seen like that!” I think of how free they are, with me sitting there in my little self-made prison. For all I know they used to be 110 lb… or maybe 500 lb! I don’t know their journey. I just envy them their freedom. Let it be ME!

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Kyleigh June 24, 2014 at 11:26 am

Thankyou for posting this, I haven’t swam in two years because I don’t have a swimsuit that fits me and this year I will be purchasing one!

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Sis June 24, 2014 at 11:34 am

BTW – I found my swimsuit at SwimsuitsForAll.com :)

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Jan June 24, 2014 at 11:56 am

This is so true for grandmas aunts and everyone else. Do you really think everyone is watching you???? Some are watching and thinking I could be having fun to…SHE IS and you could change a life!!!!!!

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Christina June 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm

I am so grateful to have read this post! I started crying realizing all of the memories that I have missed out on because of my insecurities and the influences those insecurities have had on my three beautiful daughters. You have inspired me to put my bathing suit back on and jump in the water with my babies! Thank you for your inspiring words and your courage to say what needed to be said!
-Just another soft tummy mom :)

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Emily Pazitka June 24, 2014 at 1:03 pm

I am 61 and never been thin, actually was thinner after giving birth than before I got pregnant. We lived walking distance from the beach and spent every weekend there. My daughter didn’t care what I looked like in a bathing suit. She loved me being with her. Maybe I got the confidence from my mom, she wore a bathing suit even though she was not skinny. Your kids aren’t going to remember how you looked, they remember the time you spent with them. Yesterday, I laid down on the ground so my granddaughter could trace me in chalk. I really didn’t want to do it, but I knew she would remember that I could still be silly and have fun.

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Stephanie June 24, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Great post! I’m always so conscious of not talking negative about my body in front of my children regardless of how I really feel about it. How can I teach my daughter that she is beautiful as she is if she hears her mother tear herself down? Or how will I teach my son to value a woman, no matter what her size is in life if I don’t show him that I value myself? How we talk about ourselves and treat ourselves speak volumes to our children. When I do exercise, I tell my daughter it is because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good. Even though I do it to also to be in better shape. But my kids don’t know that. They think I’m beautiful as I am and who doesn’t want that sort of unconditional love on a daily basis? I want to share my life with my kids, not watch from the sidelines.

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Marie Kent June 24, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Hi, everyone, so touched by these stories. It is a little sad that we are socialized to want that model-thin body, when motherhood and maturity dictates otherwise. For me, I have graduated from bikini, to tankini to swim dress as I have aged. But my now adult children always took for granted that I would be in the water with them. And now it’s the grandkids. Who wants to miss any of that! At age 70 I also still walk the 5K, babysit a two year old and an eight month old, and love every minute.

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Julia June 24, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Thanks so much! I REALLY struggle with this and it’s great to have a reminder that it’s what’s on the inside that counts! Thanks again! <3

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Mark June 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Great article, the same principle holds true concerning your relationship with your husband. We love our wives, you are beautiful to us and always have been through the stages of life! Your body image blues can negatively marital intimacy and your relationship with your husband. In a sense when you aren’t as engaged intimately “sitting under the umbrella” our relationship is missing out. Wives we love you, your bodies are beautiful!

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Becca June 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm

You do look beautiful in your suit!!! Good for you for not missing out ❤️

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jen June 24, 2014 at 3:19 pm

this is an excellent reminder of what’s really important. thanks for sharing!

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Lori June 24, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Yes! Thank you so much for this life-altering post and especially your pictures. Joy and beauty is all I see. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Brought me to tears.

Swimsuit, here I come!

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Cheryl Rutherford June 24, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Last week we took our 18 year old daughter – our baby – to Atlantis as a graduation gift. As one of the older moms there, I looked around at all the younger and firmer mommies running around with their little kids and decided I didn’t care if I was 56, I was determined to enjoy the raging rapids, the lazy river and the scary water slides with my girl. She didn’t care if my butt was bigger or I was a little more “worn around the edges” than the other moms. This was about making memories – probably the last time she will want to go to a water park – and I wasn’t going to miss it. We had a great time!!!!

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Marcie June 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm

This goes for moms with grown children too. I thoroughly enjoyed having my mother-in-law put on her swimming suit and go boogie boarding in the ocean with us every day of vacation!

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Jenni June 24, 2014 at 4:25 pm

BRAVO! BRAVO!!! Just yesterday, I went to the pool with my kiddos for a birthday party. I have gained 40 lbs. over the past year and really hated the thought of being in a bathing suit, but I did it anyway. And while there, it occurred to me: few of us look like models in our bath suits. Most of us look like REAL WOMEN. And looking like a real woman is nothing to be ashamed of … period!

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RiverTam June 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm

I find myself a bit jealous of everyone who can just “put on the suit.” I have no body confidence. The only way I can wear a traditional suit is to drop 50-60 lbs. I like the idea of full body suit but those are a couple of hundred dollars and I can’t justify that much to hide my fat when I can put on a pair of pants and tee-shirt to sit out while my daughter and husband have a ball. It’s not fair for me to inflict my fat on other people unless I can have plastic surgery to make me skinny. My daughter knows she’s beautiful and that’s what matters.

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Sarah N June 24, 2014 at 5:48 pm

This is great. Wish my sister in law would listen to such advice vs listening to the negativity her Sons and Husband have heaped on her about her body. She wont even wear shorts in the summer due to it. Sad since the issues she has with her body are 100% due to having her kids. I am over weight and put on a suit and shorts and play with my family. Do I wear skin tight ones – nope. Wouldn’t even in the days when I modeled. Dont like them – never have – good body or not. Few yrs ago we were on vacation and there was a lady at the beach that had to be plus 300 pounds – I was so proud to see her out having fun with her family at the beach in a swimsuit. Dont worry about others – get you bums out there and have a good time. Even if it means you swim in a MooMoo (SP?) or a T-shirt and pants.

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jjands June 24, 2014 at 6:53 pm

So happy my friend put this in her news feed. This really is true, and just because you lose weight does not mean you will be happy to take candid pictures either. You really do have to value your family over looks and have a good time doing things rather than worrying what other people think. Loosing almost a hundred pounds does not give you a bikini body, I have stretch marks and loose skin in my mid section and between my thighs that I think actually looked better when I was fat and would probably gross people out more if I showed it. I have to get swimwear that hides it.

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Lia June 24, 2014 at 7:05 pm

The author’s choice to put love for her kids over her struggles with her appearance is inspiring and beautiful. I love that. Personally, I find anonymous guy’s comment “the men on the beach are thanking you” helpful to this discussion. I believe that because my body has been promised to one man, it’s not really available for “you are wicked hot” comments and admiration by every guy on the beach. I realise anonymous guy is speaking out against society’s impossible standard of so-called beauty and thinness, but in our eagerness to pursue a healthy acceptance of ourselves and freedom from the pressure of other’s opinions, let’s not forget that modesty is just as beautiful, courageous and feminine, and in no way hinders us making wonderful family memories or truly overcoming insecurity about our bodies!

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regina June 24, 2014 at 7:24 pm

You’ve certainly advanced the discussion around body image. Good for you. Thought you might appreciate this Harris poll: Nearly 1 in 3 Americans admit they haven’t worn a swimsuit in 5 years! http://yhoo.it/1sCS6gJ

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Meghan June 24, 2014 at 7:33 pm

How wonderfully refreshing to read everyone’s supportive and beautiful comments to this! I am so tired of the snarkiness that one finds so prevalent on the internet, especially re body issues. Thank you for a great read!

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sufo2 June 25, 2014 at 1:49 am

Oh i like this post!
You say the true about body immage. It is a good
Inspiration. I hope many moms learn about this.

Es ist ein fabelhafter Artikel. Sie sprechen mir aus der Seele.
Ich finde es nicht gut, das mittlerweile ein so verkehrtes Bild vom eigenem Körper suggeriert wird.
Ich hoffe das dein Artikel manche mom zum umdenken bringt.
Lg

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Barbara June 25, 2014 at 3:14 am

You are a beautiful beautiful woman and your children look happy and loved. Enjoy your summer, you worked very hard for this time to relax and celebrate being alive. God bless you!

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maureen June 25, 2014 at 6:24 am

It’s not so much that ppl need to hide their figures bc they are overweight…but bc they have embarrassing issues like psoriasis. Do you think if I go to a pool or something people, mothers especially won’t judge or become fearful that their kids will somehow get what I have. It looks bad, and it makes me in turn feel insecure and embarrassed. The weight, I don’t even care…:(

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Sis June 25, 2014 at 11:12 am

Oh Maureen, I feel for you. My 17yo granddaughter has psoriasis issues and she’s overweight. I’m afraid it’s turning her into a hermit. :( She has a wonderful, spunky, quirky personality and is fun to be around when she’s not down on herself.

It’s time to educate people. Don’t let other people’s ignorance keep you from wearing a suit IF YOU WANT TO! YOU know you’re not contagious. You might be surprised how many people you will encourage.

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Adrienne June 25, 2014 at 6:29 am

Thank you for this. Even after losing 30 pounds I still hold onto insecurities and worry too much about the way I look. Thank you for the perspective and reminding me that the best thing to do is to look outside myself- to give to others (and who better than our children?) for happiness.

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Elizabeth June 25, 2014 at 9:48 am

I love this! You look absolutely wonderful in your photos. Everything you said is so true. I never remember thinking anything but that my mom was beautiful when we were younger. Seeing her involved and active with us made her even more so. That is what I remember. Thank you so much for sharing!

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Tasha June 25, 2014 at 12:13 pm

All I can say is just THANK YOU for this!

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Sheila June 25, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Great post – we are at the pool all summer and I’m in my suit all the time & swimming (except when the water is only 65 degrees!!), but more of us need to shed those insecurities.
As an aside – I usually read your posts on my feedly vs from your site but I’m on your site & I’ve noticed the amount of ad overlays on your pictures and posts. Is that something new or my computer doing that? They are for lincoln motor company & marzetti salad dressing? And some come up at the bottom of the screen too.

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Michelle June 25, 2014 at 2:15 pm

My mom died in 2011. She loved all things water and she loved to swim. I can close my eyes and see her splashing about with us, lapping the pool, dipping up and down laughing as the water stuck her hair to her forehead. I have sweet memories of her chasing our children through the surf jumping into the waves with them. I remember. They remember. And as we smile and sometimes cry remembering, we never make mention of her body changes… only the love shared, the memories made, the legacy she gave us all. Thank you for your post…. I’m wearing my swimsuit!

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Kristin June 25, 2014 at 2:27 pm

I have been thinking about your post since I read it last week! I did it! TWICE! I took our kids to Devil’s Lake and wore my suit proudly. Yesterday, my husband and I took the kids to our city pool. Was I nervous? Yes!! I knew so many people. I was terrified to take that first step. I did it though. I was proud of myself. The warmth of my daughter’s arms around my neck while in the pool kept me going. My son’s cannon ball splashes made it even better. I promised myself that I’d be the “in the water” parent from here on out. Thank you Jessica, for reminding me to enjoy this life and my kids. I’m thankful for your post!!

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Sis June 25, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Thank you for posting your experience Kristin. I’m still looking for shorts and my suit has not arrived yet. I hope to be taking the “plunge” in the next 2 weeks on my vacation. Your post gives me some courage.

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Secret Admirer June 26, 2014 at 2:05 am

Jessica,

I think you look absolutely stunning in a swimsuit. Your hubby is a lucky guy. Thank you for putting a big smile on my face.

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Rebecca June 26, 2014 at 7:30 am

This is a wonderful post and shows to me at least the power of suggestion. I would never stop going in the pool personally because I was a swimmer and love the water… but I do get self conscious of my tummy which just won’t cooperate. I’ve lost weight and recently put some back on due to stress. And in my head it bothers me especially wondering what my daughter thinks of my naked body. I remember my mom and how she was overweight… and I don’t seem to have cared about that but rather that she was never joining us on activities. Maybe she was dealing with fatigue from two jobs or maybe it was lack of self confidence due to her passive nature. Who knows, but just hearing you say these words, I can transfer them to all walks of life and hopefully apply them. Thanks.

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Shelley Ashfield June 26, 2014 at 8:58 am

THANK YOU for a great post.
I’m a mom – my baby is now 20. And I’m a redhead – my thighs literally glow in the dark. But I’m also a dance costumer. It’s been my job to be judgemental about stretchy outfits. I give you a “thumbs-up” for selecting a suit with beautiful colors that compliment your skin tone, in a a happy, zingy floral. I salute you for choosing a suit with the right amount of coverage and shoulder straps appropriate for your bust. But I have yet to see bathing suit manufacturers figure out how to get things right – and why should we blame ourselves for their failings?

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Sis June 26, 2014 at 10:00 am

I just wish there was more coverage on the bottom end. The flirty skirt only “covers” when you’re standing in front of the mirror – certainly not once you’re in the pool. I feel half naked in underwear-shaped suits. I want some bicycle legs on those puppies!

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Lauren Elliott June 27, 2014 at 9:12 am

Loved this the first time I read it, when it arrived in my inbox, and have read it several times since! This morning and I’m listening to the Today show, cleaning up my kitchen, I hear your name, look up and there is your picture on the TV! So glad. That this blog post has. Resonated with so many people, and you are becoming known to more people as a result. You are a huge inspiration to me, and I’m sure after Today, many more women!

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Joy M June 27, 2014 at 9:34 am

I hate swimsuits. Not only am I SO not beautiful in one (spare me!) I sunburn easily and don’t generally love water sports. And this somehow means I am “not living”? It negates everything else I’ve done with my kids or nieces and nephews? I think not. I would like to know when is the last time this mommy blogger slid down the fireman pole at the local playground. I did that just last month with my daughter and her cousins looking on. Who organized and participated in the Fathers Day water gun fight? Who walks the dogs to the local shaved ice stand with the teenager? Who turned her kitchen into a craft room every Sunday afternoon for months and made paper dolls with the neighborhood girls?

I daresay, a lot of living can be done in street clothes.

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Ariel Knapp June 27, 2014 at 12:50 pm

As the proud designer of the bathing suit you are wearing, you have made my day!!!

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jessicaturner June 27, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Are you kidding me?! I am obsessed with that suit. I have it in two patterns – would have bought 6 if they had them in my size. :) SO fun!

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Bet June 27, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Thank you for such a well written, positive e-mail. Funny before I even read the article I had a mental comment about the picture- I thought – what a beautiful mom with those adorable children – they look like they are having a ball. And you were and you shared that moment to inspire us all.

Thank you

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Ariel Knapp June 27, 2014 at 2:15 pm

So happy you like it! We do that style every year, it’s very popular. As a fellow (new) mom, who is not so thrilled about running around half naked, I totally get it:) Passed on your info to our social media gal. Love your site! :)

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Angie June 27, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Like this post! Life is meant to be lived!
Angie in TN

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Starla June 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm

When me, my hubby, & my daughter went to Disney in 2009, we were all in the pool and I noticed something odd. Only dads were in the pool and moms were hiding on the sidelines. I made that observation to my husband while we were all playing in the pool. It was a little sad and I vowed to never let other peoples’ view of me dictate MY fun time anywhere. Thanks for the great article and making Moms ok with their bodies and helping them have confidence!

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Tricia June 27, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Lilly-I was reading these posts and yours hit me very hard. I am worried that you are not accepting of yourself (the good and no so good). My mother and I haven’t spoken in years its a crappy choice and its her loss but she does nothing but make me sad. Also your husband married you with the weight and the scars, is how it sounds, & yet he is critical of your body? You almost sound like you are just thankful that he married you. Abuse comes in many forms. Maybe your low self worth has led to to feel like you don’t deserve to be loved or cherished. You need to talk to someone. A professional, clergyman… SOMEONE. You deserve to be be treated well and loved for who you are and not how you look. All people have insecurities, even supermodels, but yours seem to have taken you down a path of self hate and emotional distress. It was the sentence about how your husband feels about your looks that really hurt me. How dare hesay such cruel things to the lady he married. I am not skinny, have RA, ADD and am hypo m and can be an emotional wreck at times too, yet I found a man that was 11 years younger, in great shape that loved me for who I am and how I look we are married 10 years now. I was ablevto have just 1 child (at 36) & felt guilty that I couldn’t give him more yet he never has made me feel bad about that. Trust me he is no saint and I datedva bunch of losers before he chased me down. And at times I worry thatvhe gave up so much to marry me and he tells me he gave up nothing and gained everything. So shake the “dead weight” he can shape up or ship out and put a smile on your face love yourself the world will follow. You have alot to offer any onevshould be grateful for you.

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Stevie Luplow June 28, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Thank you for this article! I never once thought about *not* wearing a swim suit because of my weight or my third time growing belly. I love swimming and I love being with my kids and sharing something fun with them…so does my husband.

I do have to ask…where do you get your full coverage suits? I haven’t found one I’m that comfortable in because I’m always scared the girls are going to fall out. I take the chance every time, but it would be nice to not worry about them someday!

Thanks!

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Shari McMinn June 28, 2014 at 7:46 pm

I have had success finding full coverage full figure swimsuits at http://www.womanwithin.com Not all of their suits are full coverage as some reveal more cleavage than what is desirable, but they do have some, and usually they are in nice styles and colors for a very reasonable price.

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Stevie Luplow June 30, 2014 at 7:44 am

Thank you so much! I’ve looked on the website and I just couldn’t tell if they would actually cover or not. I will have to give it a try though again and hope it really does :)

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Ariel Knapp June 30, 2014 at 6:14 pm

The suit she’s wearing in the picture is by Maxine of Hollywood. There are a ton of prints in this style every year! http://www.houseofswim.com/store/brands/maxine-of-hollywood.html

There’s also a line for JCP called Azul by Maxine of Hollywood.
http://www.jcpenney.com/women/shop-clothing/swimsuits-cover-ups/azul-by-maxine-of-hollywood/_/N-1noph1Z1ja/cat.jump

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jessicaturner July 1, 2014 at 9:30 am

Yes, my suit was bought at JCP

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Amanda D. June 29, 2014 at 8:39 am

This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen! Thank you so much! Congrats on baby #3!

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Janine Henschel June 30, 2014 at 6:20 am

Hi I just want to say WHERE ARE THE PASTORS TEACHING HE CHURCH ABOUT HOLINESS AND MODESTY ??? Hello ? Modesty means NOT to EXPOSE YOUR BODY and the ONLY person that should see so much skin would be your mate and JESUS ! ok would you wear short shorts or a mini skirt to church ? Would you show your chest or cleavage also ? this is just basic one o one on MODESTY and WITHOUT IT YOU WILL GO TO HELL for that is just DISOBEIENCE for you could have put a shirt over your top and shorts to your midthighs and went swimming too and that is what a GODLY WOMAN DRESSES AT THE BEACH not like the other women dressed like harlots trying to show off their bodies which is by the way the TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT NOT YOURS to do with as YOU PLEASE ok JESUS PAID THE PRICE ALREADY and so we are to REVERANCE AND KEEP OUR BODY HOLY for WITHOUT HOLINESS YOU WILL NOT SEE JESUS-HEBREWS 12:14 ok its a part of modesty sister , so you must go to a dead dry church that doesn’t teach on that right ? that is the problem today, not teaching on this at ALL ! AND ITS A shame as its NOT A GODLY EXAMPLE to your children on how a woman of GOD is to dress so your girl will grow up dressing like the world and I am SHOCKED at FAR the church has FALLEN !!!

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Sarah N June 30, 2014 at 10:41 am

Wow – what a post. I would like to see where in the bible it says you need to be covered from collar bone to ankle, I believe in Modesty wholly but there is no passage in the bible that says you are going to hell if you wear a swimsuit. I have family members who even cover their heads once they are married – that is their choice, their beliefs and I respect them for it. If you do not believe in wearing swimsuits or anything that shows an ounce of skin – that is your choice, your beliefs. Your post is inappropriate and this is the wrong forum for you preach your choices. If you feel you need to wear dresses and to cover your self – awesome. That is your belief. Do not try to scare or verbally trash others that dress or believe different from you.

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CindySz June 30, 2014 at 5:49 pm

I love this article! I am a relatively fit mom of 3 so during the summer I swim almost daily with my kids in the heat of Texas. My kids love our time at the pool and have become great swimmers because of how often we go and that I am in the water helping them. My Mom always struggled with her weight and I never once seen her in a bathing suit. I have great memories of my Dad playing in the water with me and building sand castles, but sadly do not even remember my mom at the beach and pool because she sat fully dressed in a lawn chair. I love seeing Moms of all shapes and sizes enjoying their children and the water. Thanks again for this great article and Moms keep swimming!

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Ariel Knapp June 30, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Some of you have asked about where to find flattering full coverage suits – The suit she’s wearing in the picture is by Maxine of Hollywood. There are a ton of prints in this style every year! http://www.houseofswim.com/store/brands/maxine-of-hollywood.html

We also, do a line for JCP called Azul by Maxine of Hollywood.
http://www.jcpenney.com/women/shop-clothing/swimsuits-cover-ups/azul-by-maxine-of-hollywood/_/N-1noph1Z1ja/cat.jump

Hope you all find something that makes you feel comfortable and fabulous!

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Deb you July 1, 2014 at 10:11 am

Thank you for this article! I am live in Florida, but am spending the summer in Chicago with my husband and 2 young daughters. I haven’t put my suit on and joined them in the pool or at the beach because of my internal demons. I am down 9 pounds in June and have another 25 to go. This article reminded me that I will never have this summer again …. This afternoon … I will suit up and swim with my amazing daughters. Thank you a million times over.

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Nancy Holte July 1, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Excellent! I love that not only are you getting in the water with your kids but you are getting pictures of the two of you together, too. So often moms are the ones taking the pictures so they end up not being in the pictures with their kids. Good job, mom!

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Sis July 1, 2014 at 9:08 pm

I am thankful for this discussion. I haven’t worn a swimsuit in probably 35 years. After reading thru these comments I decided I had the freedom to wear one so I ordered from swimsuitsforall.com. I just got it today, just in time for my trip to CA. I tried it on for my husband and grandkids and they all tho’t I looked fantastic – even at 50 lb overweight. :) I am very happy with my purchase but will reserve my “review” for after it hits the water.

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Angie July 1, 2014 at 9:54 pm

That smile is worth a thousand words! Love the bathing suit too!!!

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Marjan July 2, 2014 at 5:07 am

Thank you for this post. After reading it all, I just realized that (although not a size 1 myself) I am one of those judgmental women. Not a nice insight I can tell you. Thank you for opening my eyes and helping me being fair to others. I don’t know their paths, so who am I to judge. So, put on whatever makes you feel comfortable and enjoy your time with your loved ones (whether in a pool or elsewhere), I will do the same with mine. Love, Marjan.

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Laine July 2, 2014 at 9:56 am

I am not only a mother, I am a grandmother – and something about that title changes you – or maybe its the wisdom that comes with age. I learned this lesson a long time ago, but it never formed into words in my head put quite as beautifully as you said it here. Sharing this on Facebook, because it’s worth reading, whether or not you’re a mother, and whether or not you’re a woman.

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Mary-Anne V. July 3, 2014 at 6:48 am

Thank you for this wonderful post…everything you said is true. I will need to put this into action.

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Annette July 3, 2014 at 8:16 am

This puts tears to my eyes. My family and I have a vacation trip soon that has plans of spending a lot of time at the pool! Of course I planned on losing weight before the big trip. I think I managed to gain extra. So last week I refused to buy a new swim suit. I even skipped out going to our local pool and just put my feet in the water! I thought to myself at that time how I wish I was thinner so I can get in too. It wasn’t until I read your post that now I feel a bit more confident to go in the pool and not waste a single minute enjoying time with my kids!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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DARA GATES July 5, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Where did you get your suit?

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jessicaturner July 6, 2014 at 6:23 am

JCPenney last year

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Aimee July 9, 2014 at 10:37 am

Well, um. I DID. I put on the bathing suit. And well, my daughter had quite the reaction. https://justus4carters.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/kids-say-the-darndest-things/

(I linked to your article on huffington post and your page in my post. I hope that’s ok). This piece is so powerful and I hope you know how many moms you’re helping!

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Marei Nagy July 11, 2014 at 2:41 am

Thank you for this awesome post, I sure hope it will help a lot of women to get over themselves and just have a good time over summer.

I spent way too much time sitting in the shade covering my body – until my kid came along. So baby likes baby swim classes? Here we go. And guess what – nothing happened. No one tried to push me back into the sea. No one kicked me out of the pool for displacing too great a mass of water. No one even looked at me twice because a bunch of babies enjoying themselves in their swim class pretty much takes up all the attention. (And some of the other moms were not exactly elves themselves *gasp* so we were all able to breathe a little easier, not being alone).

Something that came to my mind reading this post: People who are blissfully in the moment, totally focused on what they are doing – especially loving on and playing with their children like there is nothing else in the world – are usually beautiful (at least I think so). Like that matters – I know. But maybe this thought helps shrugging off the unease…

If it doesn’t I got another one:
I didn’t feel any better about my body when I was 20. And at 20 I was really slim and cute (if I do say so myself – but I was not the only one who thought so). So maybe… it wouldn’t even help if I’d shed the extra weight first, because I’d still feel insecure? And then I’d have spend so much time missing out on the fun for nothing? Nah, Making memories is best done right away. :)

Again, thank you for your post and have a great summer!!!

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Meredith Bernard July 12, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Ok, Jessica, this did it for me. And I’m posting a FMF post and a photo from this week with my kids at the beach..after second guessing it a million times. Thank you for being brave and for the reminder that it’s not about me, it’s about them. Ultimately, it’s about Him through me for them. Bless you! xoxo a new friend, Meredith

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