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I am late to the game in reacting to your conceited little meme, but I am by nature a passionate and reactionary person and as I settle into the wisdom of middle age, I like to spend a little time mulling over things before I speak.

You will be pleased to know that your family portrait is still appearing in my social media feeds and that more than anything prompted me to write this post.

Equal parts cute and just slightly inappropriate
I doubt you'll ever read it, but I wanted to speak up anyway, on behalf of every mother you have left feeling red faced and shamed by your little stunt.

As a former English student, I still maintain a love of words, and I thought I would look at your choice of barb; excuse. I found one particular definition I liked
"reason or explanation given to justify a fault or offence."
A fault, or offence. Really?

Having a less than perfect body after having children is now a fault, or offence.

Like a lot of women I learned the meaning of beauty at a very young age. I grew up watching a mother who was beautiful in my eyes but who couldn't see it. All she could see was the baby belly three children had blessed her with, the tiger stripes her amazing body had created to mark its achievement. I saw the woman I loved beat herself up every day because she wasn't "perfect" and the only thing it taught me was to hate my own body and see it as ugly and flawed, whatever shape I was.

In my life I have ranged from a size 8 with a six pack to a size 16 with a jelly belly and have settled somewhere around a size 12 with a baby belly which one day may shrink as I get back into running. Then again it may not.

Regardless of the size of my belly however, I will never look at my body with hatred because I have three little sets of eyes watching my every move and learning even when I'm not speaking. A sigh of disappointment as I look in the mirror teaches more to my children about self-image than my words will ever be able to undo.

So instead I will choose to give them the lessons that will help strengthen them as people. I will teach them that their bodies are beautiful regardless of their size and shape. I will show them that health is a greater prize.

Most importantly though, while they are young (much like your own children) I will show them that time spent with them matters a damn site more than my own vanity.

Women don't need to be shamed, Maria, they need to be supported until they believe in their own beauty, whatever form it takes.

No excuse needed.

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