There are a couple of things that this post is not about. It’s not about the number on my scale. It’s not about a diet or exercise regimen that I swear by and you have to try. I’m also not writing to tell you how amazing our bodies are for creating, carrying, and birthing our beautiful babies, because although it’s true, we can’t force that feeling. Instead, I’m hoping to put into words how I have been feeling about my body: neglected.
I respond to comments like, “You don’t look like you have a baby!” with “Thank you, I actually have two.” But, postpartum body image isn’t about how you look, it’s about how you feel. Most days, I think it’d be more accurate for me to reply, “I woke up exhausted. I’ve been chasing after my children for hours, days, weeks, years. And so far today all I’ve had to eat is a handful of pretzels.”
When I walk by a mirror, with a quick glance, of course the reflection looks just like me. But, behind closed doors (and never when my children can see me), a closer, harsher look in my mirror shows me how much my face and body have changed since I became a mom. Some of it is aging (it’s inevitable), but some of it is neglect. My children’s wants and needs often come first. In the midst of the mayhem of mothering, I keep forgetting to take care of myself.
I love my children and wouldn’t change a thing. Except that lately I have been making an effort to bring back a few healthy habits that were once an expected part of my daily routine. Never skip breakfast. Drink more water. And whether it’s indoors or outdoors, for five minutes or an hour, be active. I’m making my wants and needs a priority. Slowly but surely, I’m taking back control of the mom in my mirror.
Can you relate? What do you see when you look in the mirror?