You can listed to the podcast version of this article here.
Next week I’m going to have a tummy tuck. I feel that Part 1 of this journey is to say my goodbyes. As I write this letter, it does (in a way) feel completely vacuous. A few days ago my dearest friends lost their entire business in a massive fire here in Las Vegas. Also, my mother’s best friend died suddenly in a freak horse riding accident leaving behind her twelve year old daughter.
At the time I decided to write this goodbye letter to my tummy it was before the sudden emotional impact of loss. Sometimes life shows up with this kind of stark contrast to remind us that life is worth pursuing what is on the other side of fear.
My decision to have a tummy tuck is an empowered choice to impact my overall health. I’ve suffered from lower back pain and strain for so many years. So here goes…
Dear Beautiful Wrinkly Stomach,
You’ve housed 10 heartbeats, maybe 11, and only four made it to this world. You were a wonderful home for my babies, and for that I thank you. I am so grateful for our growth together over the last couple of decades from 200 pounds to 130 pounds and everything in between.
I was just 21 years old when you first made an impression on me. The doctor described you as a deflated balloon – or a crumpled paper bag. I knew you were different from other stomachs that bounced back after pregnancy. As those ab muscles separated due to diastasis recti, so did my connection with my body and ultimately my confidence. In truth, the disconnect was part of a much larger picture of never feeling like I was enough.
For the longest time I have felt deformed and I’ve felt ugly. So I’ve been hiding you for nearly 18 years. Long black camisole singlets kept you hidden, so did Spanxs. High-waisted pants and Bridget Jones style underpants have often saved the day. I have spent countless hours trying to figure out the best ways to dress you, flatten you, flatter you, and hide you.
I have also been very aware that spending so many moments worrying about this kind of thing is super silly because there are people out there in the world that are really suffering. As in real loss, shock, hardship, and pain. However, I am parting ways with you so I can step up at a higher level. To be clear, even if you stayed I could still do the same thing because I fully accept you, but my core needs strengthening.
It seems annoying to still harp on about this old story, but I was verbally abused about you by my first husband. He told me that no one could ever love me if I left him because of my stomach. Then I had to sheepishly explain you to my second husband. It was almost as if I was disclosing that a murder had happened in a house for sale. In truth, the emotional foundations were a lot more shaky than the physical structure of the building itself. In a normal, healthy and loving way Sean loves you no matter what. He once described you as “Google Ads” on a website. You know they are there, but you don’t tune in on them and let them distract you from the main content (sorry Google).
Tummy, you and I have been so fortunate to find a man that sees the soul of a situation and not the shallow version of reality.
Over the last few years I have really done so much inner work to love you. In truth you’re way worse in my head than you actually are on my 5 footish frame. I even posted about you on Instagram to show other women how to love their tummies too. If you read my book (Dear Universe) I talk a little bit about our journey together and how I would love to wear a bikini on a beach someday with or without you.
As the mother of three daughters and a Thomas it’s imperative to get to a space of self acceptance, because I never want my children to believe that are unworthy or not enough. Tummy, your powerful influence in my life has been a constant reminder of this.
But here’s the thing…I love you, but my back hurts. I love you but when I exercise I feel like I don’t play full out because of you. It’s time for you to leave me.
I’ve thought about this for a while and there’s an empowered solution – kind of like conscious uncoupling.
My painful path with eating disorders didn’t fix you, exercise, affirmations, a device called an “AbTronic” didn’t help, wraps, and other potions did diddly squat – but my mind made peace with you and I can see you for what you are.
You are my invitation to be my best self and try on a different version of who I can be in this body as a spiritual being.
I am making this decision from a space of empowered choice.
So goodbye beautiful wrinkly stomach. I love you. I see you. I’m ready for the next chapter of my body to carry me into my 40s, instead of me carrying others.
All My Love, Sarah Prout
If this letter triggers you in any way please know this was not my intention. This is my choice. You don’t have to take it personally, but that’s your choice too. If you’d like to send the vibes of love and healing energy my way for a successful operation that would be greatly appreciated. Big love, Sarah xo
ps. I’ll be posting Part 2 of my Tummy Tuck journey very soon.