First, I’d like to say thank you, for the kindest, most heartfelt encouragement.  You are truly a gift and I am amazed at how blessed a woman can be by her faraway friends.   Today, I am so honored to have Emily Wierenga here guest posting.  If you haven’t read Emily, you’re in for a treat.  She’s launching her new book, which she co-wrote with Dena Cabrera, called Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty, and Life After Pregnancy. I’ve so enjoyed reading it and know you will, too!  Emily is a gifted writer and I’m so blessed to know her.  Welcome, Emily!



I was eating key-lime pie and commenting on how good she looked, on her new shade of hair, and I mentioned that she’d lost weight, that she looked slimmer, and she glowed. The way mothers do when they’re told they’re beautiful, even as her teenage daughter walked by, her other three children milling around the buffet at our family reunion.

And she told me she was losing weight the healthy way, and I said that was good. She said she was still eating carbs and proteins and everything in moderation, and it all sounded positive. But she looked longingly at my pie.

And then I said, “But you’re not losing any more, are you? I mean, you look perfect.”

And she glanced down at her blue striped shirt and her blue jeans with disgust. “Oh yes,” she said. “I’m losing more. I want to go back to the old me.”

The old me. The girl that had no stretch marks, that had thinner hips and bigger boobs. The girl that didn’t have crow’s feet and could pull off skinny jeans.

The girl who longed for stretch marks because they would mean she was fertile. The girl who longed for a man who loved her enough to make babies with her. The girl who dreamt of being pregnant, of feeling the life inside her, of nourishing that life at her chest even as it sucked away hers.

We forget about the beauty of the sacrifice. Sometimes I think it’s like the stomach we have left over, after giving birth. The stomach that sticks around, and it’s empty and loose and floppy, and we feel that way too. We forget about the beautiful, miraculous role which this stomach played. About the way it stretched taut around human life for nine months. About the home it made for heaven to come down and touch earth in the form of lips and eyes and limbs and heart.

We forget about the miracle, in the face of the mess.

And sure, we’re messy. We’re mothers. But there is a beauty in that mess.

And I set down my pie (just for a second) and I took this woman by her shoulders, and I looked into her eyes, and I said, Honey, you don’t need to lose anymore. This is the NEW YOU. Claim your NEW BODY. We have been REBORN through the fetus that slid red and screaming from our womb, and we need to take pride in the us of TODAY.

Mothers, unite. Let’s stop lamenting who we are, and mourning the loss of what we used to be. We used to be lonely. Now we have a family. We used to be ignorant of love. Now it tugs on us all hours of the day and night. We used to be untouched. Now we crave some form of privacy. We used to dream of pregnancy. Now our bodies are emblems of that sacred experience.

We are LIFE GIVERS. Say goodbye to the old, and hello to the new. Throw away those skinny jeans, and purchase a new wardrobe, because life is too short not to eat key-lime pie.
I’m giving away a hard-cover copy of my new book today, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy, co-authored by Dr. Dena Cabrera, and foreword by supermodel Emme.
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
Giving birth produces life in more than one sense. It’s the baby powder, milky-breathed spirit found in the softest limbs you’ve ever felt, and it’s the respect a man feels for his wife as he watches her give up her body for another.
And it’s the deep-rooted soul satisfying feeling of knowing you were born for more than the mirror. That you were born to see the face of God in your child, and to know, you yourself are a miracle.


I want you to have this book.

Tell me ONE thing that you love about yourself, and you’ll be entered into the drawing!

Otherwise, you can order it through the book’s website, here:




Emily Wierenga is a mom to two beautiful boys, wife to a handsome math teacher, and author of Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder ( and Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy ( To learn more, please visit









Also, I just added my pizza crust recipe to Ruth’s Thrifty Thursday!

118 comments on “Mom in the Mirror (and a giveaway)”

  1. Emily, you certainly have a way with words…I can’t wait read your book. My little girl is seven and I have become increasingly aware of what I say in front of her about my or her appearance. It isn’t easy admitting what we love about ourselves. If you asked what we wanted to improve, there would be one million and one comments. Since you are making me, I love my smile. That was harder than I thought it would be…

  2. This is SUCH a struggle for me! My oldest daughter is four and I’m becoming more aware of what she “sees” when I disparage myself ( even quietly) over how my body is these days. I’ve been praying for the balance that is needed when trying to lose weight, be healthy and still embrace the body of being someone’s mama! Thank you for sharing your book excerpt, it sounds great!

    Oh, and for what
    I like about myself, I guess
    I would say my curves… Even though they are also what brings the frustration sometimes!! Haha!

    • dearest cynthia, i LOVE that what brings you the most frustration also brings you the most joy (your curves). may the Lord continue to open your eyes to your own beauty. bless you, e.

  3. I love the “me” my husband sees, my children see … but that’s not exactly what you want to know, is it? I love my hair. Sometimes it feels like my coat of armor.

  4. Wow those words are sinking in right now. I’ll never be the old me but I think about her constantly. I want to embrace the new me for the sake of my girls, husband and for myself. This is hard but I love my eyes!

    • you are already on your way, dear beth! i love the way you’re encouraging yourself to embrace the new you. often, it’s about speaking truth to ourselves, out loud. bless you!

  5. I love my curly hair, and how easy it is. But I love it straight too, even when everyone tells me they like it curly better. 🙂
    I’m trying to learn the love the belly, wearing it proudly as a battle scar and remembering there are so many who would love to have the flab but don’t.

    • oh girl, i LOVE that you love your hair straight even though others say they like it curly. THIS is loving yourself… this is being true to yourself. bless you and that beautiful belly!

  6. I love my natural curls. I have stopped the madness of the flat iron and embraced the beauty of the curls. These words in the post stopped me and caught me off guard (in a good way!) – We forget about the beauty of the sacrifice. There is unbelievable beauty in the sacrifices we make for others. And these words also reminded me of what glorious beauty is found in the sacrifice that Jesus made for us all.

  7. I am reading this as a single woman, and I think moms are quite beautiful, especially my own mom and my older sister of four lovely girls. I agree that they just like single women should not find their worth in the mirror. I think all women should find their beauty from God’s declaration of it being so – indeed we are beautifully and wonderfully made!! And I don’t think that having a floppy belly from childbirth or a tighter one from the lack of childbirth has any effect on that fact. I think we are all lonely at times, whether with or without a slim trim body, whether with or without husband, whether with or without child. And we are all learning to love in the way that God has chosen to teach us to love. I love the idea of this book, to encourage mom’s to embrace who they are and not define themselves by their body, and I would add too not to define themselves by their husband or child either. We are beautiful because we are- every single one of us:-) … I like my finger nails!

  8. I love that I have earned every single line on my face! The laugh lines around my eyes, and even the worry lines on my forehead! Having two beautiful girls to laugh with and worry about make it all worthwhile. Thankfully the laugh lines out number the worry lines 🙂

  9. Such powerful words, and now I just have to read this book. So many of my friends struggle with this very issue, and I won’t lie – so do I. I have always loved my eyes, and I can see that they tell the story of me even as they are becoming ‘framed’ a bit with laugh lines (so much better term than crow’s feet, eh?) 🙂

  10. Even this morning, I was sighing as I pulled on my jeans, feeling how extra tight in the thighs they felt…sigh….

    Anyhow, I’ve always loved my feet and toenails. I think it might be related to a compliment I got way back when I had a pedicure – of course I bet the nail tech says that to all the ladies about their feet, but well, it sure made me feel good about mine:)

  11. Great post. As a mother of two little boys (almost 5 and just turned 1) I have struggled with my body image after having babies. This spoke right to my heart. I love my beautiful green eyes.

  12. My hands. People have always told me I have great hands. I’m learning to love my post-baby body- but how hard that is!

  13. Beautiful post. It’s certainly something I struggle with after three kids and especially after I hit 40. It’s actually hard to pick something I love, which really made me think. I would have to say my eyes and lashes.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    • friend, i totally understand it being hard. but i see your photo here and you are stunning. funny how it’s easier to see it about someone else than it is about ourselves, no? bless you. e.

  14. Hi there ….. I’m really interested in reading this book. What a struggle we all go through. I love that I have really strong arms and legs. I keep trying to half marathon and marathon myself into a ‘runners body’ …. but guess what, probably not going to happen. 🙂 Love my four kiddos …. and this body God has given me to mother them and exercise. Time to get a few new pair of jeans though …. love it! Thanks Edie!

  15. Yes, to agree with all the others, beautiful words…and to echo Claire, as I was reading through the comments, it is difficult for me to think of what I love about myself…the one thing I have always been able to say, is I love my eyes. (I am learning to appreciate my curly hair…not quite to “love” yet!) Thank you!

  16. I am grateful for these beautiful words. I needed them. I’m holding my first baby as I type this – my sweet, perfect, sleeping 4 month old daughter, who kept me awake all night and has already wanted to nurse four times this morning and cries when I try to take a shower, but who doesn’t mind my messy ponytail or spit up spotted shirt. I know that when she wakes up in a minute, she will look up into my unwashed face and give me the most delighted, unconditionally adoring, ear to ear smile I’ve ever seen. Something I love about myself is my lips. My daughter has them and it makes me love my own.

  17. o … this book sounds incredible!
    I weighed 95 lbs when I got pregnant with my first child … 9 months later I gave birth to an 11 lb 8 oz boy … no C-section … it was a true miracle! let me just say …. NOTHING from the neck down has been the same since & after 12 years, i’m ok with it … I embrace it … I call my stretch marks my “Matt marks” ….
    the thing I love most about myself are my eyes …. they are blue & both of my children have them!
    emma @from my little pink couch

  18. Didn’t know I needed this today!! I was wondering if you wanted what we love about ourselves in general, or a physical trait…physically, I like my feet (!) and generally, I like that I can see the potential in lots of things…people, old furniture and houses, fabric…double-edged sword sometimes 🙂 thanks for the giveaway, Edie!

  19. I love that God made me in his image. Nobody can take that from me. I maybe short and chubby but I can love that because I was made in the image of the savior.

  20. Thanks for the words that are a reminder of the deep Truth dwelling in the depths of this mom-worn body. I easily forget. I love my red hair.

  21. I love my stretch marks… My husband calls them “love bites”…. When I see them it reminds me of that special time when I had my babies inside of me… Now they are 25 and 22…. What I wouldn’t give for that feeling of them moving inside me, for just one day!

  22. I love that tears formed in my eyes as I read this exerpt, and that as a nursing mother, I also felt the twinge in my breasts that I feel when my baby cries her hunger cry… did you do that?! It must be the connection of motherhood.
    I love my eyes…for what they see, what they’ve seen, and their shade of green.

  23. I love my hands – the ones that caress those growing limbs and tousle the boys hair, the ones that squeeze those shoulders with encouragement and that wash and cook and serve over and over again and that are becoming wrinkled and spotted with age and that have blue veins that my little girl loves to push on and giggle at. Thank you so much for the encouragement Emily. I’ve gained weight this year – my 45th – that I cannot easily lose. And nothing fits from my old life. I love your words, “This is the new you.” Thank you!!

  24. I use to love lots of things about me,
    I used to love my hair, until I noticed that it was not growing as fast, and falling out faster.
    I love that God knows all the numbers of them, and knows when they fall out…..God must really being paying a lot of attention to me lately, and I love that!
    I used to love my legs, and wore all those wonderful short shorts because my legs were worthy of coveting, and I showed them off.
    After my last child I didn’t have the time to devote to the amount of exercise that would maintain my wonderful and lovely legs….After five years, I am fit, healthy but my legs don’t at all resemble my legs before kids.
    So I love that God took away a cause for pride, for pride goes before destruction.
    And now I really appreciate a stylish pair of long shorts and skirted bathing suits.

    There were so many things that I loved, about my body, and one by one, they are wasting away me, so as the list could go on…..
    I still have a healthy body, thin, full head of hair and fit, but the Lord knew that it was a great cause of my pride and for that I am glad that it’s deteriorating.

    So what’s left to actually love? While I was still a sinner Jesus Christ died for me. God loves me to the uttermost and forever…..That’s something that I hang my hat on, everything else is shifting sand.
    Have a blessing of a day,

  25. Much needed discussion…love the post…hmmmm…I love my height…I’m six feet tall and I wish I could tell my 12 year old self how awesome it is!!!!

  26. why is it so hard to say something you like about yourself in such a public place? It always seems so easy to list what you don’t like about yourself? Is anyone perfect anyway? No, but I have come a long way in this battle of picking on myself and now I am actually happy to be able to say I think I have a nice face, especially when I smile! So, of course, I smile alot!!

  27. I love that I am good at rocking my babies. And that I am beginning to not care so much about the post-physicality of birth. I think I have pretty eyes. We could all stand to be more gentle with ourselves! Thank you for the reminder.

  28. In middle school I lamented the fact that my face had a smattering of freckles. I thought they made me “different.” Now that I’ve recently turned the 4 decade corner, I see those freckles as blissful reminders of youth. Kisses from heaven as my momma used to say. I’m trying to remind my own daughters that freckles are a beautiful thing. Hey, I just heard that MAC now has a freckles pencil. Ha!

  29. At 68 I look back at my body in my forties and wonder what my problem was with it! Now losing weight is almost impossible and let’s not even talk about gravity. Lol My daughter at 45 likes to tease me about giving her my curly hair instead of my chest. I tell her she is lucky because the hair will only get gray and can easuly be changed, the chest, well let’s just say the girls are as perky as they was were……by a long shot!

    I say enjoy wherever you are in the life cycle, cause really what other choice do you have if you want to be happy.

  30. I love my versatility. I can be strong when I need to, but weak in the arms of one stronger than I. I can birth and nourish life. I can think and ponder while I’m doing the dishes. I create beauty. One thing that has helped me with the changes of having 3 babies in 4 years (and number 4 on the way) is that my body was meant by God to be used, not preserved. I am indeed being used to reflect His glory, by His grace alone! Thanks for a lovely post.

  31. It looks like a great book. My struggles with body image seem to ebb and flow. Pregnant with my third baby and feeling lovely most of the time right now. I love my strong legs.

  32. What a great post! We’re starting our MOPS year and the theme is: “A Beautiful Mess: Embrace Your Story.” This post was so inspiring because, as we’re planning the year, I’ve struggled with embracing my “mess” and learning how to love the beauty that God created in me. I love my eyes. They aren’t anything special. In fact small, slanted and lacking a defined brow line. They are brown, no color or specks and no long lashes that enhance them either. But my girls have my eye shape and color and I can’t help but feel forever connected to them for this similarity. In pictures and in the mirror, I gaze at our eyes and find beauty in this simple trait that we have in common.

  33. I love my strength, the fact that I can still run, chase kids and do so many more physical things. This body has been through a lot after twins but it still has amazing strength!

  34. Gosh this is hard….I must need this book! That People feel they can be themselves around me? They feel grace…it’s obviously from God, but Im thankful for His work in my heart that results in overflowing grace to others.

  35. I just love this post…everything about it. It made me teary in a good way, and I had to share it on Facebook for many of the moms I know. I turned 50 last year…and its good! Freeing in so many ways. Freeing in the way of acceptance of myself, of being OK with the size I am today, of being so thankful for my husband, my family and my friends. And I love me, just the way I am, the one God created me to be 🙂

  36. I love my hair. I love the way that I think about things from above and mostly don’t get too caught up in the little bits because that is how I get lost. What a beautiful post. Can’t wait to read your book!

  37. I love my curly grey hair and the fact that I still have hair! 🙂 Thanks for the chance to win this awesome sounding book.

  38. I live my short hair. I’ve always been envious of those with long pretty hair (and ponytails!), but lately I’ve really grown to love the fact that I can wear a pixie cut. My husband loves it and my teenage daughters, who have thick, beautiful, long, hair thanks to their dad) think it makes me look cool. 🙂

  39. I needed to read this today! What I love about myself is my capability to love. I am a teacher, and I feel this is a calling not a job. I don’t always like the things my “kids” do but I always love them. I have fussed when they needed it but I am quick with a hug or words of encouragement. I truly believe in the success of all of my students. My love does not stop at the end of the school year, I tell my students “If you become my kid, then you will be my kid forever!”

  40. We’ve been talking a lot about this topic a lot lately! All of my post-baby friends and other young marrieds struggling with body image… Thank you for this giveaway!

    I like my sense of humor – thank God that hasn’t drooped! and I really like my smile wrinkles – they make me look more like my Grandma Lucille. The butterfly arms from my other Grama – not lovin’ those so much.

  41. I love my body right now; I am 34 weeks pregnant with our fourth at 40yrs old!! and I am so thankful. I usually DON’T love my body post-partum, but would love to read this book to gain a new perspective on our most-probably-last pregnancy 🙂

  42. beautiful post! i’m looking forward to reading your book! i like my hands and am so very thankful for the way i get to use them to love and serve the family that God has given me.

  43. My heart was touched to read about the book “Mom in the Mirror”. I am a registered nurse & work in an acute care hospital for women with eating disorders. What I like about myself is my compassion to continue to help these women find their “beauty within”. If I should be chosen to get this book; I will donate the book to the library we have for our eating disorder patients.

  44. Funny how this question leaves me staring off into the distance wondering…what DO I love about myself?? I think I love my hair…though if how often I wash it was a measure of how much I love it…that might not be true. 😉 still figuring out the sleeping, showering bit as a Mama. (And my kids are 5 and 8!!!! HA!!)

  45. I like my pretty feet and toes. I like being creative. I’m a mom of 3 beautiful kids and I respect my body.

  46. Mmm. I’m thinking. I like my nose, but is it ok to say I like my boobs? 🙂 I am honored to have been able to provide nourishment for all four of my babies. I also love that my husband thinks they are pretty great. 😉 Can’t wait to read this book. I must add it to my summer reading list. Thank you so much for sharing.

  47. Wow! My best girlfriends and I were just talking about this very subject. You nailed it, well written! I love my eyes…they are my great grandma Bertha’s eyes and I am pleased to have passed them on to my two girls. I have pretty fabulous hair too;)

  48. Can’t wait to read this book! I’d have to say having a positive attitude in most situations – even the sad ones sometimes.

  49. Yikes…this is HARD to do. I am thankful for the way God built me-I used to lament my lack of curves, but now I am thankful and even like being tall and straight.

  50. I love that I have been pregnant 15 times and have 8 living children and 7 pre-born babies that went straight to the arms of Jesus. I would LOVE to read this book because I’m 46 and still really struggling with this post-partum body of mine .

  51. I need this book! im 35 weeks pregnant with my first and have some body image demons from my past that i fear will come back to haunt me post partum. what a beautiful perspective you have!!

    I love my feet– the places that they take me and how they turn golden brown from the Hawaiian sun.

  52. God is so perfect in his timing…

    Yesterday, we celebrated my son’s first birthday. It was lovely and wonderful as it should be, and yet somehow it served as a reminder that my body is just not what it used to be. Every time I assed a mirror or window I couldn’t help but glance at my “mom” ensemble. But then I realized I was robbing myself of the joy of celebrating this little life my husband and I were given to shepard.
    But today is a new day, and so are his mercies. So I want to embrace my new body. It’s, about time since our oldest is 8 🙂 I want to love the belly flab that my husband so affectionaly embraces. I’m not there yet, but today I can say that I love my hips. They allowed me to deliver our 3 children and the last one without a stitch of medicine…no IV or anything! That’s a body part worth celebrating! And they are in good company with my breasts which have allowed me to nurse all 3 of our children as well. God, I thank you for giving me such a s trong body to deliver and nurture are children!

    P.S. it goes without saying that I cried both while reading the excerpt and typing my comment 🙂

  53. Wow! You really make a girl think. I am humbled by the love of God yet ashamed that I cannot think of anything. I guess I have a lot to work on and pray about. Thank you helping me see I need to be thankful. Today I am thankful for my…ears.

  54. What a great post! I love my red hair, even though it’s not as red as it used to be when I was younger.

  55. thank you thank you thank you. i look in the mirror and squeeze my floppy tummy and sigh almost everyday. i love my son more and more everyday so i try to tell myself it is all worth it. thank you for your encouragement. i would love your book and i will buy it if i don’t win it. thank you.

  56. Wow! This subject has been heavy on my heart and mind in recent weeks. I have 4 daughters (and 5 sons) and have been more aware than ever of the negative things I say about myself all too often. I grieve for how I have modeled this to them. Thank you for this beautiful and gentle reminder. I love having a teachable spirit, ok, and my feet…seriously! 🙂

  57. I have struggled in this area for some time. Crazy thing is, I’m tall and slender in the eyes of others. I love my blue eyes, and I do love hearing and can actually see for myself now, that I am more beautiful after three children than before :). Thanks, Edie!
    Love, Edie
    Praying for your family this week….

  58. I would love to have this book. This is just what I need. I love her “defying attitude” of throwing out your old skinny jeans. Thank you to giving us permission to do that! Such freedom. My husband is constantly telling me that I am beautiful but after 2 kids and not fitting into my old clothes, it’s hard to believe! Looking forward to reading this book and diving more into scripture to change my heart.

    One thing I love about myself are my green eyes. 🙂

  59. I’m not in much of an “I love myself just the way I am” frame of mind lately, nor have I been for years. But this post reminds me that one of the things I love about myself is that I was willing to do it 8 times, to carry, give birth to, and breasfeed 8 babies in 12 years. I don’t like what it’s done to my body, but I love that I had the courage to make the sacrifice. And I love my heart. I was blessed with a faithful heart and a desire to do what is right.

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