My Open Letter

My Open Letter


Yong-Li Zhou


Let me preface this open letter by telling you my tummy sags. I have stretch marks that make my belly button look like a butt hole and my ribs are permanently flared from growing a small human to full term.

For decades, society has fueled a false perception that women need to ‘bounce back’ after pregnancy and achieve a level of physicality on par with a celebrity supermodel. Thankfully, social media is rewriting this archaic narrative and providing women with the resources to embrace their perfectly non-perfect bodies.

As an advocate for social change and acceptance, I firmly believe that all bodies are beautiful, and we should celebrate all shapes and sizes. However, as a woman, I would be lying to myself (and others) if I did not confess that I too struggle with body acceptance.

When I was pregnant, I absolutely adored my body. Having endometriosis and adenomyosis most of my adult life, being pregnant made me feel like my body was finally doing something right. My hormones were balanced (except for the gestational diabetes), I no longer had monthly pains and excessive bloating, and my belly was growing for all the right reasons. I have always been a little on the bigger (stronger) side so for the first time, I welcomed weight rather than hide from it.

During this time, I lathered myself in our Complete Body Firming Lotion and mixed myself a concoction of body nourishing oils in an effort to prevent stretch marks and maintain elastic skin. When they inevitably appeared with a vengeance at 37 weeks, I was surprisingly accepting of them as they were proof my child was growing strong and healthy. However, this acceptance soon came to an abrupt end once I was no longer pregnant.

Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of what my body created and what it went through to deliver my beautiful baby boy. But deep down inside, I am not satisfied with the physical appearance of my body.

I have worked very hard to get my body to feel physically fit, but I can’t help but think it isn’t enough. I still question how I look or feel in an outfit, and I sometimes wonder how much easier and enjoyable life would be if I didn’t. It is easy to focus on what is in front of us and forget the journey we have been on.

So, I guess that is my goal with this open letter. Stop comparing and nitpicking every part of my body and learn to find the beauty in its imperfection. I want to feel that fearlessness I had during pregnancy. I am on a journey to do so and to embrace my body for what it is. I am not there yet, and I have no idea when, but for now I take refuge in this promise: I will get there.


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