Standing in front of the mirror naked was uncomfortable. I hated looking at me… I hated looking at the stretch marks that covered what was once a flat belly, my breasts that have started to sag, my hairy legs that I couldn’t bend to shave, and my swollen feet that I couldn’t reach to put cream on. My body was getting bigger and nothing was attractive any more. I refused to drop my towel in front of my husband…
Learning to love my body has always been a struggle for me. After my first pregnancy, my body changed but I was happy. I didn’t mind gaining weight.
Before pregnancy, I used to be a size 26 and that was one of my reasons for low self-esteem. I hated been “skinny”. I know many people may think this is weird but it’s true… Being thin isn’t always the “happy” option.
I wasn’t anorexic or bulimic, I just couldn’t pick up weight even though I ate more than most people.
Strangers used to ask me all the time: “Why are you so thin?” and I never had a proper answer for them. It became a frustrating question that I used to try to avoid. I hated dressing up especially for special occasions at school because I knew people would finally see my body shape.
I was never confident about myself until my postpartum body. It made me confident even with the stretch marks because I was finally a size 30, the size I always dreamt of being! I was finally a size that people wouldn’t judge and now I could shop wherever I wanted to.
Then… I fell pregnant again and this time things changed. It wasn’t like before. Nothing was the same. My low self-esteem came back and tears started rolling down my cheeks once again. But this time it wasn’t because I was too thin… It was because I was getting fat! Fat in odd places, nothing fits anymore and the pregnancy “fashion” I hoped to have went flying out of the window with my confidence.
It took me weeks to look at my body again but I finally managed to. I started to love myself again… and it happened because of my daughter and the words she uttered to me twice while I stared in the mirror with a frown on my face…
“Mommy, you look beautiful”… Beautiful, the word I never used to describe myself finally made me smile!
When I looked back in the mirror again, I finally saw my body as a whole instead of the usual random conglomeration of body parts haphazardly sewn together like Frankenstein.
Pregnancy may force you to embrace body changes but it also makes you beautiful. I’ve learned that my body is beautiful and it creates the miracle of life. I am ME and that isn’t going to change because motherhood made me a woman.
Becoming a woman comes with change, even though it changes we may hate at first, we have to accept that it’s part of life and the road we travel. Our bodies are made to nourish the life growing inside us. Embrace it and find the beauty in your new body. You are not ruined, your body isn’t ruined. It’s beautiful.
Mothers are warriors that earn their stripes, for many it may be visible (like stretch marks).
“A stretch mark for every breath you took, every blink, every sleepy yawn. One for every time you sucked your thumb, waved hello, closed your eyes and slept in the most perfect darkness. One for every time you had the hiccups. One for every dream you dreamed within me.
It isn’t very pretty anymore. Some may even think it’s ugly. That’s OK. It was your home. It’s where I first grew to love you, where I lay my hand as I dreamed about who you were and who you would be. It held you until my arms could, and for that, I will always find something beautiful in it.”
We each have a story to share and a battle to fight. I am amused by a story that my cousin told me about her son. When he was 4 he looked at the stretch marks and said mom you should be so proud of them – you have them because of me. When he was 8 he changed his tune and stated that she needed to do something about the stretch marks…. I guess that just shows me that the innocence of childhood gets corrupted by the influence of adults. We subconsciously feed ourselves and our children with images of the ‘perfect’ body, ‘perfect look’ and imperfect us. What are our kids going to think as we grow up? If we show dissatisfaction with ourselves, will our daughters be able to embrace their own identity?
Today, I want you to love yourself! Stop watching the numbers on the scale and start striving to be your best. Don’t compare yourself to Kim Kardashian or the mom at the mall in 3-inch heels.
I’ve realized that Pregnancy is not an invitation to criticize myself or someone else. It’s a miracle that needs to be celebrated and that’s exactly what I plan on doing the next 5 weeks.
I received a package from Dove and at first I never really understood what it meant because I opened the package in a hurry but today, I went back to it and decided to watch the video that was sent to me. The video that made me rethink everything! It made me understand how important it is for me to love myself so my daughter can grow up loving herself. Are you creating a positive beauty legacy for your child?
Dove believes all women have a role to play in setting a confident example for the next generation by feeling good about their own beauty and acting with positivity towards the way they look. “Whether she is a mother, aunt, coach, teacher, or sister, every woman has the opportunity to make a difference to a girl’s self-esteem,” said Kate Swan, marketing manager at Dove South Africa. “By ensuring their own beauty legacy is positive, all women can help the next generation of girls grow up to be happy and content, free from the pressure of beauty stereotypes and the burden of self-doubt.”
Please note this is not a sponsored post…