my flaws, my beauty

“How old is he?  Wow! You look so great!

In the past week this has been said to me exactly three times.  And yes, I remember each time because each time they were words I so desperately needed to hear.

I do not feel good in this body.  At all.

Just like with Eddie, I immediately dropped all the weight and then some.  My friends joke that if I want to lose weight, I just need to get pregnant, wait nine months, and boom.  20 pounds lighter than I started.

Seriously.

But it only lasts five minutes.

Then I get the real postpartum body.

The droopy skin.  The new spider veins.  The new stretch marks that didn’t look so bad on super stretched taut skin, but on loose flabby skin, no thanks.  The pimples.  The bald spots from hair loss.

Each time someone tells me I look great, I have to swallow hard to just say, “thank you,” and not try to talk them out of the compliment that they just gave me. 

Because I am paranoid that they are lying to me.

It’s true. I hate my body so much right now, that I am carrying around a lump of anxiety and paranoia that people are judging me.

“Be kind to yourself, you just had a baby.”

Just? I don’t know about just. It has been 13 weeks.  Charlie will be three months tomorrow.

Maybe it’s Hollywood’s fault. Maybe it’s because I have tiny skinny friends who went from pregnant to hot mom in 12 seconds.  Maybe it’s because I feel like everyone in the world is prettier than I am.  I don’t know.  But what I know?  Is that I feel so ugly lately.

I told myself I would give myself my 12 week maternity leave before I worried about weight.

And I feel like I did a pretty good job of just focusing on being comfortable and happy for 12 weeks.

Then I went back to work this week and saw people.

And felt like they were looking at me.  Not just looking…but scrutinizing.

They probably weren’t.

But I feel like they were.

I feel like everything I put in my mouth is judged by someone.

It’s probably not.

But it feels like it is.

My mind is creating whispers that aren’t there (or are they??): She looks bigger than she did before the baby. Sheesh, she still looks pregnant.  Someone get her some spanx!  She should probably order water and a cracker, not the enchiladas and a diet coke.  What was she thinking wearing that? Does she think she looks good?

No. I don’t.

“You look great!”

It’s so hard for me to hear…and yet…I need those compliments.  And I so badly need them to be real.

I find myself searching the face of the compliment-giver to see if she is being sincere. I listen intently to the tone.

Please don’t say it if you don’t mean it.  My heart can’t take it.

I find myself even wondering how Cort can continue to call me “Pretty Lady”.

My body image insecurity is peaking right now.

And then I found this picture that Cort snapped last week.

I remember when he took the photo, but I didn’t know I was in the picture.  I thought he was just zooming in on Charlie.

I distinctly remember feeling flabby and icky that day.  I was on Day 2 hair (you know, the shower, but don’t wash the hair kind of day) and I was frustrated trying to cover the sun damage on my face.

I had been very tired this day after running around all day and I was grateful to finally cash out with the small one for a bit.

I didn’t want my picture taken.

And now, looking at it over a week later, I see a small glimpse of why people tell me I look great.

It has nothing to do with how much I weigh.

It’s because I am happy.

I am loving being a mom right now.

And it shows.

Through all of my flaws and perceived “uglies”, through my bad skin and hair, through feeling fat and icky…

I am a beautiful mother of two.

Did seeing this picture erase all the bad feelings?

I wish, but no.

Did it take away my paranoia about people judging me?

No.  I am still sure others are looking at my waist wondering why I don’t have at least some semblance of one back yet.

I think it’s my stupid anxiety that does that to me, but at least until I can make a dent on the flaws, I know I am not a lost cause.

There is beauty amongst the flaws.

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