There I stood, the first time seeing my new body after giving birth. Being in the hospital after my c-section, I could see much but being home and showering for the first time outside of the hospital there I stood staring at my “new self”. I expected to hate it, to look at the stretch marks that became apart of my body late in my pregnancy, the long horizontal scar that was my daughter’s way into the world, and be more self conscious. I have always been self conscious about scars throughout my life but this time it was different. I took it all in. I read so many stories of women hating their bodies after being pregnant and I expected that to be my reaction too – but to my surprise, I didn’t hate it. I embraced it. It was my new body, the body that was the vessel to bring our sweet blessing, sleeping in the other room, into the world. My body marked with new stories, my hips a little bit wider – it was the new me. It was almost like I was a mama tiger that earned her stripes, there was nothing to hate.
As odd as it sounds I felt more comfortable in my skin, than I did when wearing clothes. My clothes made it a little hard to “love” myself. I lost my baby weight very quickly, but that didn’t mean my clothes fit the same – they didn’t. My body changed proportion after carrying a baby for 9 months. I hated the feeling that I wasn’t necessarily comfortable in my own skin. It was a problem that I wasn’t going to tolerate. So, in April I went through my whole closet, trying on every item of clothing. Giveaway. Keep. Toss. Giveaway. Giveaway. Giveaway. Giveaway. Keep. And I went shopping and found some clothes that hugged my hips just right, made me feel more confident again.
A several months ago while scouring Pinterest I came across this quote by Kate Winslet and it hit home and hasn’t left my mind since.
It’s not just about me anymore, it’s about me and about my daughter. I’m raising a tiny little human that as she grows will watch me, learned to love herself by the way that I love myself. I want her to feel good about herself, to love herself for exactly who she is – and that all has to start with me. If I don’t love myself, she will learn that it’s okay to not love herself, something that I don’t care to have her learn. I need to love my body and accept it for what it is.
It, too, has never left my mind since. Hits home a bit doesn’t it? I think we all struggle with seeing ourselves in our entirety and accepting ourselves for who we are, and letting that be good enough, versus the idea that we tend to have inside of our heads. Growing up, I only remember a handful of times seeing my mom without her make-up, she was always put together all of the time. She’s beautiful with or without her make-up – I do hope she knows that – but watching her wear it day to day, I did the same. In fact, it was a really long time before Ryan saw me without my make-up. I felt like I had to have it on all of the time, I wasn’t confident in my own skin. I would put make-up on to even walk to the mailbox. I’m completely serious. I found value in my mom wearing make-up frequently; I learned that it’s important to look put together. When we leave the house for errands, I get ready with make-up, look put together and go out the door. I feel like it’s important to look put together. On the same hand if I have to run out the door quickly I don’t fret like I used to if I’m not completely put together.
In today’s society there are so many women with self-image issues – not feeling confident enough, not loving themselves for exactly who they are but for the image that they have inside of their minds of how they should be. It’s something as a society as a whole we need to work on. We see it every single day, including within ourselves. Whether you are a mother, sister, aunt, nanny or any other type of woman – I feel like it’s our responsibility to learn to love ourselves, break down the walls and set an example for the upcoming generation. If not for ourselves, for them.
So, every day I’m making a conscious effort to love myself for exactly how I am, for myself and just as importantly, for my daughter.
Today I’m linking up with A Royal Daughter for Desire to Inspire.