There are a few things you need to know about yourself before you became a mother.
You stood exhausted on intense adrenaline to prove your self-worth.
You were a real trailblazer, pushing aside fear of the unknown to dive headfirst into life. At times, you fractured your heart, soul, and mind. You hit the ground too hard and relied on those closest to you to scoop up the failed fallen pieces. A roller coaster of emotions, getting by on sheer will. You had so little patience for yourself. An incessant worrier, with high doses of frantic stress—you were really, really good at playing happy.
There were real moments of happiness, too. I refuse to leave out the good things, too…
You lived in passionate pursuit of positivity. Making others smile, laugh and enjoy life aided your abundant spirit. Your courage to see, do, experience and frequently leap without looking took you on a wild ride through the world with the man you still love.
I know you before you became a mother, for there are pieces of you still burning brightly within me. I cherish those pieces of you. However, there are parts of you I had to let go.
Behind closed doors, more often than not, you stood alone in the bathroom pulling at your skin in the mirror, sizing up every inch of yourself by the scale. A price was paid for perfection, in hours of workouts, measuring food and hating the shell you were in. You felt trapped and discouraged, fighting to pull your head above the waves of body loathing.
We carried those demons for too long. But with one small plus sign on a stick, a flicker of healing began.
Remember that positive mark on the cold, hard plastic at 5am the day after Mother’s Day? You looked up into the mirror with your disheveled hair and felt keenly aware you were no longer alone in your own body. That body had to become a place to harbor hope, love, and you had to let it grow.
Over nine months the resentment for your body washed away. It felt strange at first, releasing yourself from a disorder that had long plagued you. But with each new pound gained, each kick felt within you, you kept your resolve. When you found out the baby would be “she” a new level of determination struck.
She would not feel as you had once felt: unworthy, unseen, trampled under the weight of her own expectations. As she came screaming into existence, you started to love yourself more deeply because of her love.
We stood eye to eye in the mirror after her birth. It was there I finally said goodbye and banished you. Perhaps I simply outgrew you as my belly grew. Either way, standing there in a droopy hospital gown with my mound of after-birth belly flesh, bloodshot eyes from pushing, and sweat dampened hair, I felt beautiful. Your old voice that tried to whisper, “unworthy” was finally silenced.
As I nurture my daughter, I nurture myself. I have never gone back to me before motherhood that hated my body. I no longer worry myself to the brink of sickness. I no longer try to control to the point where I do not enjoy life’s splendor. Those are the parts of me that were not serving me.
Although I had to go through those painful chapters, it’s over now. I know how to love myself, and it feels like a light has come on within me. That shadow girl does not live here anymore. In her place is a radiant woman that answers to the call of LIFE.