In her eyes, I am everything. I didn’t realize that. When she looks at me I can see wonder in her eyes. Sometimes, I will catch her attention. She will pause, stare me straight in the eyes, and then crack a smile so big I just want to squeeze her cheeks. Sometimes she’ll give me a giggle. Oh how sweet her giggle is. Sweeter than any dessert I’ve tasted.
She is my everything, and apparently, I am hers.
And not until I saw this info graphic, did I realize how she sees me compared to how I see myself.
I’ll be honest, since giving birth, no scratch that, since getting pregnant, no scratch that even, since before getting pregnant, I’ve had body image issues.
I was made fun of a lot when I was younger, and I think that we carry that with us for years even if we don’t consciously do so. I’ve always been extremely self conscious about how I look because of it though and I’ve always strived to achieve this perfect “look” but we all know perfect doesn’t exist and the more we try to reach for it, the more disappointed and let down we feel.
I always thought that the ideal body type was being skinny, but you had to have large breasts or a large butt or a pretty face or nice hair, or all of the above. I never thought I had any besides the skinny factor and I thought well as long as I’m skinny then at least I’m halfway attractive. And then once I got pregnant last year, that kind of went out the window.
It honestly was so hard for me to accept my changing body. In the first few months I gained 6lbs and I began to weigh a lot more than I felt was comfortable. By the fourth month I was 115lbs, more than I had ever weighed in my life! I started to feel fat, which was stupid because I was pregnant! My body was changing and stretching and molding to carry my little girl. How could I hate it so much? It was doing something so incredibly beautiful!
I cried about it a lot. I felt unattractive. I was wearing a size large in clothing and that bothered me. But then something changed. It was after my sixth month, when my ObGyn started giving me a really hard time about my anxiety issues, saying that it was becoming dangerous for my baby. My focus started to go off me and onto her.
What did it matter what I looked like? I need to focus more on being healthy rather than looking beautiful! Beauty is superficial anyway. It fades with time, for everyone!
I started to focus on my body in a new light. This was my baby’s home right now and I needed to make it the best home for her. I needed to think positively and see my body in a more positive light. It was working so hard to create this human being. A miracle really.
I strongly believe now that our thoughts have a huge impact on our health. If we think positively of ourselves, saying affirming thoughts like, “you are perfect just the way you are,” or “you are beautiful inside and out,” then I think our bodies will really take in those thoughts and bless us with good health.
I feel like even on a molecular level, something will change, in a good way.
I started accepting my body, even thanking it for what it was doing, for growing my baby.
I started thanking the way my skin would stretch. The way my breasts would start growing. The way my hair would change. All in preparation for my baby.
And then I gave birth. And I was proud of my body at first, for being so strong, for enduring the pain of bringing my child into the world, for being so capable just as God created it to be.
But then my brain switched back. It started to remember the reasons why it wasn’t enough. It started to slowly forget how strong and capable it had been for the last 9 months. It started to compare my body to other bodies once more.
I began to hate it. I began to notice the flaws. The flabbiness of my stomach. The way my skin looked. The bags under my eyes. The lack of muscle tone. The disappearance of my butt. The way my legs looked chunkier and had a bit of cellulite.
I hated it and would look at it with disgust every time I saw myself naked in the mirror. I forgot how it gave me such a precious gift just a short while ago.
I still look at it on days and wish I was someone different.
But then I saw this photo above that my friend shared and it changed everything once more.
It reminded me that it’s not about me anymore. I am somebody’s mother now. My little girl looks up to me and in her eyes I am perfect, and right now, her eyes are the only eyes that matter.
In her eyes, my tired face and sunken eyes are not those things at all. In her eyes, she sees the face of her beautiful mama looking back at her, happy to see her and showing her love and kindness.
In her eyes, my flabby stomach and squishy midriff isn’t considered fat or unattractive. In her eyes, I am the perfect pillow, a place of safety and comfort.
In my eyes, I feel unworthy, not enough, too emotional, unfit, and weak. But in her eyes, I am strong and stable, I am perfect in every way. I am her everything.
I’m realizing that children look at us the same way that God looks at us. How He sees us as worthy, capable, perfect creations. And how our children see us the same way. They don’t look at us like we are lacking something or imperfect. They don’t notice the extra layer of skin sticking out of the top of our jeans. They don’t notice our sleep deprived eyes or undone hair.
They see mama. Beautiful mama that loves and cares for me. Beautiful mama that provides for me. Beautiful mama that keeps me safe and warm.
And none of that other stuff that we worry about matters.
I hate that there is such pressure on women to bounce back quickly to their “pre-pregnancy” bodies. And even those that do get to that weight, like me, doesn’t mean that they don’t feel the pressure still.
Once we become mothers and go through that process of pregnancy and birth, our body is different. It is not the same as it once was and never will be. And that is how it is supposed to be!
We need to stop placing pressure on ourselves to BE more and just BE.
We need to start seeing ourselves from the perspective of our children and most importantly, God.
We are enough. Just as we are.
God thinks so. And our littles think so.
That should be enough reason to convince ourselves to think the same.
Mama with Grace