If my children grow up to believe they were parented by a single father based on the lack of evidence that they actually did have me, their mother, present in their life, I won’t be able to blame it entirely on my husband’s inability to take candid pictures of me and the kids without me asking him, thus ruining the whole spontaneity of a candid moment.
The truth of the matter is I hate 99% of pictures taken of me these days, so I either end up deleting them, or just not appearing in them to begin with.
I’m going to warn you now that what’s about to spew from my fingers is going to be full of woe-is-me, self pity sentiment. This is not me fishing for compliments. This is not me ignoring the fact that I had a baby a little more than 2 months ago. This is just me… being honest.
I was one of those pregnant women who actually really enjoyed the way she looked pregnant. I mean, yeah, there were days that I felt like a whale, but at least I had beautiful skin and shiny hair. My nails grew long and strong, my cheeks needed nary a touch a blush. Even at 187 lbs, I could manage to feel radiant and celebrate my beautiful belly.
Up to the day I had Leyna, I felt pretty beautiful, even if incredibly large and uncomfortable.
Fast forward 9 weeks later, and my skin has lost it’s glow. It’s dry and pale. The lines under my eyes are deeper than ever. The gray hairs on my head are fighting every box of dye I throw at them with more tenacity than before. Plus, I can’t seem to get any body hair under control because I barely have enough time to brush the hair on my head these days, let alone shave the hair on my legs and pluck my scraggly eye brows.
I haven’t had a hair cut since October, and I don’t have the time or the money to get my hair done now. I’d love to try to blend the gray hairs in with some highlights for the summer, but at $150, that’s just not something I can bring myself to do, knowing I’ll HAVE to go back within a couple months and spend that same amount to blend in my roots.
None of my clothes fit. They are all either too small or too big. Anything I can manage to find to fit this figure (like tunics and leggings… I actually WANT to try these) doesn’t lend itself to being very breastfeeding friendly. Must accommodate the milk makers, you know. Meanwhile, THEY continue to produce so much milk that I find myself having to change breastpads half way through the day after I get a whiff of a vile smell of sweaty, sour breastmilk that I’m toting around in my bra.
And then there’s just the overall state of my body. While I’m losing the baby weight relatively quickly, I’m still left with this sagging skin, these purple stretch marks, these breasts that fluctuate in size depending on the last time Leyna had a snack. My back aches constantly, my neck is always stiff, my posture is comparable to that of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Scott took some pictures of me and the kids tonight at dinner (after I requested he do so, of course) and I promptly deleted them.
“You look FINE! See, this is why I never take any pictures of you. You never like the ones I take anyway,” he said.
“It’s not YOUR fault. I just look like shit. I look old and tired and like a frumpy… mom,” I replied.
“You are a mom. You just need to get over it. You look fine,” he said.
“I have the right to hate what I look like right now, okay. I don’t want to look ‘fine.’ I don’t want to look ‘good for a mom,” I snapped back while I shoved my camera back into the bag.
People, well-meaning ones, have said to me lately, “You look great for being a mom of two!” or “You look good… for just having a baby.” And what that says to me is if they didn’t know I was a mom or just had a baby, they’d think I look like hell.
I don’t want “mom” to be a qualifier. I don’t want to judge my appearance on some grading curve made to make moms feel better. I just want to look and feel good for being ME. And the way I look right now does not make me feel good.
All that said, I get how ridiculously hard I’m being on myself. That’s just very much my personality, always has been, and it’s something I need to work on. Rationally, I know that.
I KNOW I should be proud of this body for all the amazing things it’s done. I KNOW it’s a very dangerous habit to be in, constantly criticizing and not accepting myself, especially in front of my kids… especially in front of my daughter. I KNOW I’m good enough. I KNOW I’m pretty. The part of me sitting here, typing this out KNOWS all of this.
But the part of me who sees all of this in the mirror? She’s just not a believer these days. And she thinks it’s pretty fucking unfair that her reward for bringing children into this world, for sacrificing sleep, time, money, and a touch of sanity all to love them the best she can every day and night, is THIS body, THESE lines under her eyes, THIS hair that in about 3 weeks will probably start falling out in clumps.
It’s just FUCKING UNFAIR. The end.
Kendall is 2 years 10 months old and Leyna is 9 weeks old (I think? But to tell the truth, I really can’t keep up anymore.) And I have 50 billion gray hairs at the age of 30. Did I mention that’s fucking unfair?
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