My kiddos and I were at the water park this weekend for a family birthday celebration. As I stood in line to get some overpriced hotdogs and yummy hot pretzels, you and 3 of your friends were behind me in line. “Eeww, look at those gross bumps on her legs,” you said to your friends as you waited to fill up your slushies.” She should really have a cover-up on,” replied your friend.

First of all, I truly don’t think you knew I could hear you in that loud area and I don’t think you were trying to deliberately hurt my feelings. Secondly, in addition to being physically painful, I know how grotesque varicose veins can appear – mine included. However, I feel the need to pen this (is that a phrase anymore these days?) and let a few things be known.

Truth be told, after I had my first two children, I was embarrassed about my body. It felt so foreign, so very different. My body had completely changed and yes, I suffer with painful varicose veins. My boobs were also a bit saggy, my stomach flabbier than it had ever been in my life, and heck, my feet even grew a full size! LOTS of changes. And you know what? I sat out for many events because I wasn’t comfortable in this new body. When I did participate, I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable and could not wait to get my old body back.

However, a few years and 2 more kids later, I have realized that will never happen. The fact that my body was carrying, creating and giving life for a total of 160 weeks within 6 years is CRAZY. Amazing, yes, but truly crazy, right? I put on and took off more weight than I care to admit with each of those pregnancies. So changes happened. A lot of changes.

And, thankfully, after some time, I’ve learned to embrace my new body and all of these changes. Now, any chance I get with the kids to throw a suit on and make some memories, I do it. Without hesitation.

So, while these “gross bumps” on my legs may disgust you or make you uncomfortable, I choose to NOT cover them up and be embarrassed by them. Instead, I choose to embrace this body that has been forever changed by bringing four amazing children into this world. I also choose to openly put this all out there in hopes that even if you yourselves do not read this, that others that may judge and openly say hurtful comments about people will maybe think twice before doing so. Also, I hope my fellow mama friends won’t hide, cover-up or be embarrassed by their own AMAZING bodies.

I hope for all 4 of you young girls (if you so choose that is) that you all have beautiful families of your own one day. And I hope you embrace and love ALL the changes that happen with your bodies as they occur. And when you get the chance to get in a pool or hang out at a water park with your own kiddos – don’t be embarrassed or sit out on the side; instead, throw that suit on and go make some memories!

Vanessa France

Vanessa France is a mom of 4 children - ages 12, 11, 9 and 6. After losing herself in alcohol addiction and now almost a year sober, she recovers out loud in hopes to help others that may find themselves in the grips of the lonely world of addiction in motherhood. She is fueled by her faith, family and fitness; all which help carry her through her sobriety. Facebook: Instagram: