Tuesday morning of this week was like any typical morning in our home.
I woke up, grouchy because I am not a morning person, and sleepily made my way downstairs.
I make a extra large cup of tea, and poured cereal for my kids, rubbing sleep from my eyes and answering my kids’ questions about our plans for the day.
At some point I picked up my phone, which was charging overnight on the kitchen counter, to check my email and Facebook notifications from the night before. My eyes grew wide when I saw the number of unread emails and messages that I had received.
“You’ve gone viral!” said one message.
“We are requesting an interview,” said another.
“Are you adopted? You look like my wife,” said a third.
I spent a few minutes scrolling through my messages and e-mails, and realized that a short blog I had written on my Facebook page had gone viral. It had been shared by a popular blog called Her View From Home, which had made it blow up in popularity across the internet.
Throughout the day I fielded messages and e-mails. I was interviewed three times from different media organizations, a popular American website, a well known Australian site, and another mega-popular website Babble, owned by Disney.
The most exciting part of the experience was knowing that people were reading and resonating with my message of self-love. The blog I had posted had shared a photo of myself earlier in the week, and in it I wrote:
“I am not pregnant.
I just like cookies, and bagels, and butter chicken.
This is my ‘before’ picture.
This is the picture that captures the woman I am today.
A mother of three. A wife to a husband who adores me and calls me sexy. A writer. A friend. A daughter...
I asked my husband to take a ‘before’ picture. The photo of me before I start my weight loss journey. Before I start to make wiser decisions about what I eat and how I move my body.
‘Don't smile you're supposed to look miserable,’ my husband joked.
But am I? Am I miserable? Do I hate myself and my body?
But that's not what I want to remember about this moment. It's not what I want to remember about the ‘before’.
Yes, a change is a needed. I want to lose weight. I want to feel healthier, stronger, and fitter.
But I also want to remember ‘before’. I want to remember my round belly that appears to be carrying a baby, but is just evidence that I carried three very large babies in my tiny 4 foot 11 inch body...
I want to remember these arms. They look out of shape, but they are strong. They can carry a 45 pound five-year-old with ease. They can lift my 35 pound three-year-old above my head, swinging her around. They have rocked and cradled my infant many days and nights...
I want to treat my body with respect and dignity, while also remembering that this ‘before’ picture does not symbolize a rock bottom, or lesser version of myself.
I am me and I am beautiful.
Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.”
It felt amazing to connect with other like-minded women who have felt the same way, and to encourage other mothers to see the beauty in their bodies.
As a writer I have always wondered what it would feel like to go viral. I am connected to many women writers who are far more impressive than I am, and I have watched from a distance as they garner International news coverage, applauding them and never imagining that one day I could possibly be in their shoes.
The news cycle is fast and within a few days my essay will be old news, and my 15 minutes of “fame” will be over.
But still, I hope that my message of loving your body no matter where you are in your journey stays with the women who needed to hear it. I hope that they never forget.
If you’d like to follow along with me as I adventure through motherhood and writing, please visit my Facebook page, Brianna Bell Writes.