Being nude has always been more comfortable to me than wearing clothes.
As a child I loved being naked. My parents often referred to me as "naked girl," and apparently I drove my older brother crazy with my tendency to run around nude at the most embarrassing times, like when all of his friends came over. My love of being naked never really diminished, although as I aged, I became more modest and chose to enjoy my nudist tendencies privately.
As a young adult, I relished taking my clothes off at the end of a long day and laying in bed watching Netflix. Sometimes I'd even come home for lunch and get naked for that blissful hour in the middle of the day.
I hated tight clothes, uncomfortable shoes and bras that dug into my rib cage. Being nude has always been more comfortable to me than wearing clothes. Fortunately, I didn't marry a never-nude man, and my husband has always been on the same page. If we're chilling at home alone, we're likely naked.
When I got pregnant and started popping out babies (we have two lovely children now), I became a little more hesitant to bare it all, even around the house. It started out of necessity. My breasts were tender and my nipples were sensitive so the feeling of cotton sheets rubbing against them was almost unbearable.
When I was nursing, I was forced to wear the dreaded sleep bra every night in order to keep my breast pads in place and avoid leaking milk all over myself. (Sexy, huh?)
Since having children, I've become accustomed to wearing a black tank and shorts to bed every night, which is strange for a person who used to only wear clothes to bed when staying over at someone else's house or sharing a hotel room with a friend on a road trip. It took a good three years after having babies for me to be physically comfortable with ditching my sleep bra — and the mental acceptance of being naked still needs to catch up.
As many mothers do, I've suffered from body image issues since having babies. My stomach will never look the same and my boobs grew three cup sizes.
In the early postpartum days, the sight of my stretched out stomach made me feel self-conscious and unattractive. I'd look in the mirror and cry at the sight of this new person. It was so much easier to just cover it up and pretend like my body hadn't changed.
Three months postpartum...
Six months postpartum...
I know this kind of self-hate is unhealthy and pointless, so I'm working to overcome my body image issues. I've started stopping myself when I look in the mirror and think negative thoughts.
I'm not quite to a place where I'm saying "Wow, I look hot!" but instead of thinking "My stomach is so gross," I'm trying to be neutral about it and just say "Well, it is what it is."
Lately, if I have already undressed for bed and I need to go downstairs for something, I don't bother with a robe. The other night, my husband and I were both working on our laptops in the kitchen after the kids were in bed and I got really overheated. He said, "Just take your shirt off" and so I did. Later, when I handed him a beer from the fridge he said, "Damn, I'm living every man's dream right now. My hot wife is bringing me a beer in her underwear." It made me feel good.
I hope being comfortable in my own skin will rub off on my children, especially my daughter. We have a close friend that's pregnant right now so she's been asking me lots of questions about growing bellies and babies and recently she patted my belly and said "Mom, why is your belly so big?"
A few months ago I would've probably been embarrassed and responded with an awkward laugh or "Hey, that's not very nice!" But I stopped for a second, thought about it, and said, "This is just what my belly looks like. l I grew two big babies in there and it had to grow pretty big to do that."
She smiled, content in their answer. And, finally, so did I.