Being a Mother, there is a slew of new responsibility and worry and concern and milestones and excitement and joy - and a whole new love that you've never known or felt before. Not only the love for your child and your partner - but self love.
Here are the things I've learned over the last year about who I am as a person, and what my body has done.......
- My body created life. The body I didn't take care of for years. The body I put through immense amount of stress and anxiety. I was able to work on myself, change my previous habits, put trust in my body - and that, in turn, allowed me to carry my son to full term. Our bodies can do amazing things. Look at your child. You created that, your body ROCKS.
- I embrace my new body. I have more cellulite and stretch marks than I ever have before. My boobs are, well, not the same. I have bags under my eyes. My linea negra and c-section scar are new parts of my stomach that will probably be there forever. These are all new characteristics I possess. If this was a few years back, I'd probably spend every single day criticizing myself and my body, trying to work out and eat as "clean" as possible to minimize the look of my cellulite. But if i'm being completely honest now, none of these things bother me one bit. I've made the voyage from maidenhood to motherhood, and I'll tell you that its a beautiful, beautiful thing. I have cellulite and stretch marks because my body carried and grew a 7 lb baby. My boobs will never be the same because I nursed and pumped for 6 months, which helped nourish my son. My c-section scar, though it can be a scary reminder of my Labor and Delivery, reminds me that Jack made it here safely and how thankful I am for modern medicine and medical technology. It also reminds me that I am a mother. My body will NEVER be the same, and that's OK - its not supposed to.
- I am not ashamed of my postpartum anxiety. Mental health and well-being is so, SO, important. I used to never, EVER, want to ask for help - let alone seeming weak to an outsider. Over the last year, I have truly learned how important it is to take care of your mental, physical and emotional well-being as a Mother (or person, for that matter). I want to be the best Mom for Jack, the best wife to Joey, and the best ME for ME. In the grips of my postpartum anxiety, I knew I wasn't taking care of myself and I knew I needed to get help. Through working with my Dr and Therapist - I was able to work through a lot of my anxiety issues and have made GREAT strides the last few months. At this point I feel like a new person and love who I have finally become. I have no doubt that Jack is happier because his Mom is happier.
- I am confident in my parenting choices. I don't second guess a thing anymore. I am Jack's Mom, no one else is. What works for one child may not work for another. How one child eats may not be how the next eats. The way we choose to raise our son is our choice. We are amazing parents; not perfect, but amazing, and present and full of love. I am so thankful of the way Joey and I work as a team to raise our son. My old ways of having anxiety and self doubt (across almost all areas) have diminished greatly and I give myself kindness and grace throughout my parenting choices; reminding myself i'm doing a great job, I am learning, I am new at this - but hey, Jack seems to be doing pretty good, so I have to be doing something right....
I encourage you to remind yourself of how amazing you are, and how the journey from maidenhood to motherhood is a beautiful thing. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves as Mothers (and Fathers!) - so be sure to give yourself grace, patience, kindness and love; daily. Remind yourself of your successes (and failures, because no one is perfect) - grow from them, learn from them.
Find the self-love within you. Its such a beautiful thing.