By Danielle Sherman-Lazar
“Why do you still order maternity swimsuits?” My husband said, eyeballing me as I slipped on the new polka-dotted swimsuit I got on Amazon to see if it fit.
I quickly looked down at my body and went through the checklist in my head: it fit ✓, covered my thighs ✓. Perfect, I thought, and then robotically stripped it right off. It ran through my head that this bathing suit was a “winner winner chicken dinner,” in my book (which brought me back to another very important decision in my life– hmm, what should we have for dinner?)
“Hello, Yoo-Hoo, Earth to Dani?” The hubs said, waving his hands in front of my face. Waking me up from my zombie, or more like zombie-chicken-like trance.
“Because they are more comfortable, a little lose, more flattering.” I answered, swatting his hands away like he was a pesky bee zigzagging around my head.
Plus, he was kind of acting like one. He clearly doesn’t know my checkered history with swimsuits. At least I will now wear one in public.
My worst nightmare was to have to go to a store and put one on in front of the mirror. Both, terrible nightmarish situations—especially for this self-proclaimed anti-shopper with a poor body image.
My shopping experience used to go something like this:
1. Try it on.
2. Look in the mirror and be terribly unhappy with my body and what I saw.
3. Then, feelings of sadness and failure.
Needless to say, my shopping experiences were quite difficult and triggering, and as Barney from “How I met Your Mother” would say, “Not so legendary.”
If you still don’t get it, here is a simple equation:
I would stare in the mirror completely horrified. Now, I find myself in this bathing suit situation every Thursday.
My daughter takes swim lessons and obviously an eight-month-old can’t swim alone, meaning I must go in with her. Though her instructor informed me she is buoyant, I don’t think I should chance it just yet. So, every Thursday we go to swim, and I change myself, then her, into our bathing suits.
When I walked out of the locker room our first lesson, to my surprise, I didn’t even think about the fact that I was wearing the dreaded swimsuit. And five months later, I still don’t. Recovery is the key that unlocked all my doors clasped tightly together by shame. Recovery has let me live, and thus experience. These amazing momentous things happened to me because I am in recovery.
There was a trickle-down effect of sorts: If I wasn’t in recovery, I couldn’t have a baby: one, because I wouldn’t have let anyone in (so unless I was The Virgin Mary herself that wouldn’t be possible) and two, because I wasn’t healthy enough to conceive.
If I didn’t have a baby, I wouldn’t have fully understood how amazing my body was and appreciated it.
So yes, because I am in recovery and my body could give me my daughter, wearing a swimsuit has become a non-issue. I hardly think twice about how I look while playing in the pool with her.
I see my daughter’s smile, hear her laugh as she “splashy splashes the water,” and that’s all that matters.
In that way, I’d like to thank my eating disorder recovery for giving me the experiences and perspective to make a swimsuit that—is just a swimsuit.
So no, I won’t be the girl rocking the tiny string bikini, thinking I look hot, but that just isn’t me or what I am about at all. Plus, I think some old-fashioned modesty goes a long way.
So yes, I will be the girl in the one-piece, or comfortable two-piece playing confidently with my daughter, smiling, laughing. And you know what, I don’t care what society says about my frumpy suits; I am happy and have come a long way.
This piece originally appeared on https://livingafulllifeaftered.com/
About the Author:
Danielle Sherman-Lazar is four years in recovery from anorexia and bulimia, Vice President of a transportation company, and a mother to a nine-month-old. Hobbies (when she has a minute to breathe!) include reading, writing or blogging, anything on Bravo (she is not afraid to admit her reality-TV/Real Housewives of Anywhere addiction) and the occasional workout. Follow her on her blog Living a Full Life After ED and like it on Facebook.