I see you standing there, disappointment resounding in your eyes. The thoughts going through your mind are made apparent by the downcast look upon your face. You turn to the side and, carefully studying what you see in the mirror, you heave a big sigh.
Your once bright eyes are now shadowed, the sleepless nights ever-apparent. Your body is soft and slumped in places that once were youthful and toned. Your back aches from the constant lifting-carrying-rocking-bending-kneeling your body is now accustomed to. Your stretch-marks looking bigger than ever. All of the things you deem as imperfections seem to stand out in stark contrast to how you used to look.
I’m here to tell you to stop it. That disappointment you are feeling, the ache to have back the body you once so proudly walked in, the ache to look any other way than what the reflection is showing you right at this very moment.
I’m here to tell you that motherhood has changed you. Spiritually, mentally, emotionally. Physically. You are not the same person you were before you saw those two pink lines, heard that first cry, smelled that sweet baby smell, kissed those itty bitty baby toes.
Whether it has been days, weeks, months, or years since you became a mom, you are changed. You cannot be the same person you were before. And that is ok.
Your body spent months growing a human being.
Think about that.
You had a person (who started out as smell as the period on this page) moving, changing, hiccupping, rolling, in. your. body. This didn’t happen over night. For many women like you, this took nine long, hard months of pregnancy, which didn’t always come easy.
Food aversions. Nausea. Exhaustion. Discomfort. Pain. Emotions.
But all of that was worth it in the end, wasn’t it?
Maybe the words of others are blaring in your mind as you look at yourself in the mirror. The words of loved ones and even strangers can cut deep when you are already feeling so vulnerable and uncertain in this “new” body of motherhood. Words that tell you you don’t look good enough, small enough, well-rested enough… The judgments come fast and quick, catching you off-guard.
I’m here to tell you that you are beautiful. Period. No matter what others say. They haven’t felt those first flutters from your growing baby, or experienced the joy that came when you heard that first cry, or the pride you felt upon first seeing the tiny little person who has your eyes.
Those naysayers’ opinions hold absolutely no stock in how you, as a mother, should look. So ignore them. They’re wrong. Their voices are loud right now, but let mine be louder.
We can’t expect ourselves to do one of the most amazing things in the world (grow a human being) without changing spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and, yes, physically.
Your body is perfect just the way it is, no matter what the numbers on your waistband or scale say. If you don’t believe me, ask that little one staring up at you. To them, there has never been a mother more radiant and perfect than you. They’re talking about the YOU right now, not the you from your pre-baby years.
And they are right. You are the source of their comfort and needs. You are the one that stays up late at night, checking temperatures and praying for health for your sweet babies. You are the one that foregoes taking a shower for the second day in a row in order to play Legos with your little boy, or play dress-up with your little girl. You are the one who selflessly gives of herself, even when all you want to do is run in the other direction.
Those things you do for your children are not dependent on what you see in the mirror, or what others see walking down the aisle at Target. Because the thing about motherhood that matters the most cannot be seen by the human eye. The thing about motherhood that matters most goes much deeper than appearance.
Your heart, your love for your children, is the most beautiful thing you or any other parent can possess. No scale or tape measure can accurately count that.
And when you think about it, the way you are right at this very moment is a testament to that love for your children. Your mom-heart is shining through.
Friend, the next time you look at your reflection, take pride in knowing that your body, albeit different than what it was before kids, is actually more perfect now. Hold your head up. Know that what you do matters, and how you look does not. You are the mom that your kids need and love, right at this very moment.
You are amazing.
A mom who has been there.