If you like Her View, you'll love our new book, So God Made a Mother. Pre-Order here ➡️

“Mama? Whatcha doin’ with your shirt?” she giggled, reaching up to poke my exposed belly as I stood in front of the mirror.

I’ve been tall and thin all my life. I’m still thin by most standards. But I used to get “you should be a model” comments and “how can you eat anything and still look like that!?” retorts. A sensitive conscience and a sense of modesty kept me from flaunting shamelessly as a young lady, but I grew accustomed to turning heads. I got comfortable with the admiration and jealousy of my peers. I have so long allowed others’ thoughts about me, the outward me, to be my sense of acceptance and value, that it’s no wonder I started spinning out of control.

I don’t have a body image issue. I have an identity issue.

Who am I when I’m no longer a size two?

I started sucking in my gut around my husband. It began about a year ago when I was dressing to take the kids to school. He said, “I love your tummy. I really do! It carried all our babies and I think it’s great.”

Somewhere along the way, in my insecurity and pride, I never really learned how to live in that tension of being outwardly imperfect and loved anyway. His comment, which was earnest and sweet, was met with horror inside because I realized he sees me as I truly am. Forget the love and acceptance part; I need to get busy taking care of this “flaw”! 

Working out made me feel better. It also made me slightly obsessive about my body image. I found that comparing myself to fitness models on Instagram was temporarily motivating, but eventually just disheartening. I was stuck. I lost a couple of pounds and toned up slightly, but my body is still the body of a 34-year-old mom of four. Working out a few times a week didn’t reverse the clock or make me receptive to a much deeper issue that needed “working out.”

God is so kind, so faithful, to keep bringing us around to the same heart issue until we “get it.” He orchestrated events in my life in such a way that I kept bumping up against this issue for a few weeks until I finally looked at it full in the face and said, “OK, Lord. Show me what’s missing.”

And all of a sudden, a trickle of understanding turned into a cleansing waterfall of revelation: I am more than my counterfeit identity.

I saw how my condescension of others’ “flaws” had cultured the bacteria of contempt in my heart toward myself. Every time I looked in the mirror and immediately sucked in my gut and promised to not eat any more sugar that day, I was reaping the judgments I had sown toward others for years.

I became aware that feeling disgust about how I looked was just as unhealthy as obsessively checking out my “gains” in the mirror.

I had to sheepishly admit to myself that my refusal to receive my husband’s feelings about my body was like saying, “Your opinion does not matter. I need the acceptance of every other stranger to feel good about myself.”

How foolish of me to spurn the dearest person in the world to me, to brush off his thoughts and perspectives about me simply because he sees me with covenant-love eyes. Foolish. 

I remembered a cute Facebook post I had read recently called “An Ode To Mom Jeans” and it brought me full circle:

Sara. Stop. Stop trying to be the 20-year-old you.

I was spending SO MUCH energy trying to blind my eyes, to see myself differently than I really am, and I was being wrapped tighter and tighter in the suffocating lies of my counterfeit identity.

These thoughts were all percolating as I dressed for bed. I was bloated from dinner and I walked to the bathroom and pulled my shirt up to see my stomach.

I didn’t suck in. I didn’t judge. I didn’t try to see something that used to be there. I just stared at the woman in the mirror. Me.

And you know what? I felt more settled and secure than I have in some time.

I looked down as my daughter patted my tummy; she laughed up at me as it jiggled.

“Whatcha doin’ with your shirt, Mama?” she repeated.

I looked back at my reflection and said, softly, “I’m just . . . looking.”

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Sara Frank

My name is Sara Frank.  I am a stay-at-home mom of four in a small town in Nebraska. I love good coffee and look forward to that quiet glass of wine with my husband after all the kids go to bed. Find me on Facebook at Frankly, Sara

Children Don’t Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger

In: Inspiration, Mental Health, Motherhood
Children Don't Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger www.herviewfromhome.com

“This too shall pass.” As mothers, we cling to these words as we desperately hope to make it past whichever parenting stage currently holds us in its clutches. In the thick of newborn motherhood, through night wakings, constant nursing and finding our place in an unfamiliar world, we long for a future filled with more sleep and less crying. We can’t imagine any child or time being more difficult than right now. Then, a toddler bursts forth, a tornado of energy destroying everything in his wake. We hold our breath as he tests every possible limit and every inch of...

Keep Reading

The One Thing Young Kids Need to Know About Sex

In: Health, Kids, Motherhood
The One Thing Young Kids Need to Know About Sex www.herviewfromhome.com

I currently have four kids in elementary school from kindergarten to fifth grade. My kids have not experienced any sexual abuse (to my knowledge); we have been very careful about any potential porn exposure; we closely monitor their involvement with pop culture through music, movies, books, and even commercials. While we might seem to err on the side of overly sheltering them, what we have also done is be very open with our kids about sex. We have told them the truth when they’ve asked questions. And have they asked some questions! Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been asked...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Have Anxiety—But My Husband Does

In: Health, Mental Health, Relationships
I Don't Have Anxiety—But My Husband Does www.herviewfromhome.com

I don’t have anxiety but my husband does.  We should have realized this years ago but we missed it. The realization came suddenly and as soon as it popped in my mind, it came out of my mouth. “You have anxiety.” I said. He looked at me trying to determine if I was joking or serious. “I am serious, you have anxiety.” His eyes left mine and found his phone. He picked it up and said, “Hey Siri, give me the definition of anxiety.” As the virtual assistant read off the definition she may as well have been reading my man’s personality...

Keep Reading

This is What Life is Like For a Mom Who Wears Hearing Aids

In: Health, Journal, Motherhood
This is What Life is Like For a Mom Who Wears Hearing Aids www.herviewfromhome.com

I’ll never forget the time I was standing on a dock in the middle of a lake, casually draining my long hair of water, soaking in the summer heat surrounding me. Little did I know, my right breast had escaped the clutches of my bikini top; it must have popped out when I dove into the cool lake. But because I wasn’t wearing my hearing aids—I can’t wear those babies in the water—I couldn’t hear those back on land who were calling at me to shove it back in. So, there I stood, clueless of the fact that I was...

Keep Reading

Welcome to Periods in Your 30s and 40s

In: Health, Humor
Welcome to Periods in Your 30s and 40s www.herviewfromhome.com

Do you remember that day in the fifth grade when the boys and girls were separated for the “Sexuality and Development” talk? Some nice old lady health teacher came into your room and gave you some straight talk about how the next few years were going to go for you. It was awkward and shocking and you knew your childhood would never be the same. When you hit your mid-thirties, there should be some kind of Part Two to that conversation. All the ladies need to be rounded up, lead into a dimly lit classroom that smells vaguely of pencil...

Keep Reading

How Can You Love an Abusive Man? I Did—Until I Decided to Choose Myself.

In: Health, Journal, Relationships
How Can You Love an Abusive Man? I Did—Until I Decided to Choose Myself.

He walked over to the table I was sitting at with some friends and casually, yet confidently, pulled up a chair. His voice was deep and he had a luring accent that immediately caught my attention. His distinctly cut jawline along his perfectly trimmed beard made him seem older, I thought, than the age I’d soon learn he was. Our paths had crossed before like two ships in the night, forbidding us from ever quite meeting as we did that day . . . eye to eye, energy to energy He chatted with me and our mutual friends for a...

Keep Reading

I’m Not Sure How Long I’ll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal…and That’s OK

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Grief, Mental Health
I'm Not Sure How Long I'll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal...and That's OK www.herviewfromhome.com

I tried to wean off of Zoloft and couldn’t. And that’s OK. I had never really been aware of the world of antidepressants. My life has been relatively uneventful—with the normal ups and downs that most of us go through. I knew people on medication for depression but never understood. How can you be THAT sad that you can’t just be positive and make the best of your circumstances? How can someone be THAT unhappy ALL the time to need medication? I didn’t get it. I felt bad for people going through it. Then my 2-year-old was diagnosed with Stage...

Keep Reading

To the Mom With the Anxious Soul

In: Journal, Mental Health, Motherhood
To the Mom With the Anxious Soul www.herviewfromhome.com

I see you, mama. You’re the one sitting alone at the family party. You’re the one hovering a little too close to your sweet babies at the park. You’re the one standing in the bathroom at work for just a moment of quiet. Your thoughts are swirling constantly, faster and more fearful that a “regular” mama. You find yourself spaced out at times, and hyper aware at others. You’ve heard the words “just relax” and “everything is fine” more times than you care to count. Sometimes you wish you could make everyone understand why you are the way you are...

Keep Reading

I Am My Child’s Advocate—and Other Valuable Lessons a Stay in the PICU Taught Me

In: Baby, Child, Health
I Am My Child's Advocate—and Other Valuable Lessons a Stay in the PICU Taught Me www.herviewfromhome.com

What started out to be a normal Thursday ended with a race to the children’s ER with my six-month-old. I was terrified. My adrenaline was pumping. My baby was struggling to breathe. The day before, he had been diagnosed with RSV. A simple cold to most healthy toddlers and adults turned out to be life threatening to my infant.   Once we were admitted, I knew this was serious. I knew he was in danger. I could sense the concern and urgency in the doctor’s voice. I knew the gravity of that wing of the hospital he was being wheeled...

Keep Reading

To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes

In: Cancer, Child, Child Loss, Health
To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes www.herviewfromhome.com

Most people never get to meet their heroes. I have, in fact—I have met many heroes. These heroes didn’t set out for greatness; they fell victim to a terrible disease and faced it with courage, might and bravery like I have never seen before. And when we talk about this type of battle, there is no such thing as losing. whether the battle ended in death, life, or debility, each of these heroes defeated. My heroes are the innocent children who battle cancer. I high-fived, hugged, wept over, laughed and played with my heroes for 10 years as a nurse. And you better believe I...

Keep Reading