Believing that you are beautiful is not always easy, especially when you have people who ridicule you and judge. It takes a lot to begin believing that you are beautiful inside and out but how can you even begin do that when there is always so much judgement? I have always been proud of my body and mind but, of course, we all tackle hurdles in life where this love and self-acceptance get tested. Mine was after I had my first son.
Pregnancy was beautiful for me. I enjoyed every moment that little miracle was growing inside of me. I knew that I wanted to have more children. I was happy and healthy and had such a smooth pregnancy, really. The cesarean section was rough but I handled it like a champ and I was up and moving in no time. What did have an effect on me were the silly and hurtful comments that were made about me and my body after I gave birth. Those had a slight impact on my body pride. This topic came up when I was speaking to good friend and author Pauline Campos who discusses these sorts of issues on her site GirlBodyPride (check her out) . Her message was what actually sparked this post and we began to talk.
For those people who have experienced pregnancy even if at a Pregnancy Resource Center in Portland, you are often left with a little, okay big, pouch (if you are of a certain size) after giving birth. It can make you feel a tad bit insecure, especially if someone points it out immediately after you gave birth. I remember a visitor coming to meet the new addition of our family when he was just days old. This person blatantly said, “You look like you’re still pregnant! Were there two babies?” I felt like such an ass and was too embarrassed to say anything. I actually felt the heat rise up to my face. He couldn’t have known I am guessing because he was in his twenties and a male who wouldn’t know better, but goodness that stung. Taking pride in your body at that moment can be rough!
I recall another time, a family member said, “the reason your belly was left like that was because you spoke as soon as you gave birth. You were supposed to stay quiet so you wouldn’t get any air!” Again….MORTIFIED!!! I felt like a total failure and fat ass. She THEN went on to say, “and you should have used a girdle right after giving birth because you wouldn’t have been left like that”. Really? A girdle on top of a c-section? Do you know how uncomfortable that would have been? Placing a tight ass girdle on a newly raw incision across your abdomen sounds like a nightmare to me. I knew I couldn’t have done it but that comment really stung as much as that incision did. Luckily, at that moment, my husband stuck up for me because I wasn’t up to sticking up for myself and because my pride in my body at that moment was at zero! How could it be anything more?
As I healed and felt more like myself, I reminded myself that I was human and that I have feelings. I also reminded myself that what they said really didn’t impact who I was. I was still beautiful regardless of what my body looked like. I had just given birth to a beautiful blessing, my first born. When I went on to have my second child, I was much more thick-skinned and didn’t allow anyone to say anything to me that would make me feel any less beautiful. I also knew that I was beautiful whether 150 pounds or 250 pounds. My weight didn’t define my beauty. It became easier after that pregnancy to love myself even more, back to where I was before I had given birth.
Now, I am not trying to be stick thin…I just want to be healthy to live a long life, but even that isn’t guaranteed. I honestly don’t mean to sound like a Debbie Downer but that’s the reality of it. The reality is also that no one can define me with their words and comments…only I can define myself! And this mama sees herself as beautiful, confident and so much more!