I haven’t always been kind to myself. There are times I have let the noise into my head and allowed it to drag me down. At some point, I thought I was too fat, not pretty enough, not smart enough. I would walk around and whenever I hear laughter a part of me would think the laughter was aimed at me. It took a lot of deliberate effort on my end and people who love me way more than I deserve for me to realize that I am more than enough. That was how the self-confident human being that I currently am was born.
However, there are events in life that can shake even the most confident among us. Mine has been pregnancy and motherhood. Pregnancy truly transforms a woman’s body. I was lucky to have my hair thicken and my skin glow, thank you pregnancy hormones. However, the number on the scale would go up too fast for my liking and I was scared that at the end of the whole pregnancy I would be the size of an actual house! Fitting, as I was indeed housing a human being. I gained 12 whole kilos, on my short frame, 5’2″. I also had extremely bad all day sickness for my first half of the pregnancy and continued to have motion sickness for the rest of the pregnancy. My normally non-noteworthy boobs went up in size and for the first time in my life, my booty looked small as it was overshadowed by my growing bump. Physical transformation aside, my taste buds changed. I completely lost my sweet tooth. I couldn’t believe that I was passing up on cake and ice cream!
Almost everyone I told of my problem and my fear of my changing body told me not to worry about it and just focus on the life that I am growing inside my belly. This made me feel even worse, for now, I felt selfish. Is it however really wrong to be a bit selfish? To worry about this body that was mine before pregnancy and will continue to be mine after? Don’t get me wrong, I loved being the home to my little boy and I did everything within my power to make sure that he was growing well inside of me, including eating right, taking the disgusting prenatal vitamins and inserting medication…never mind. I did everything I was advised to do by my doctor and my mothers. I needed to look out for me though too. I think to put my needs a distant second to being home to my child isn’t that selfish.
I remember saying part of the reason I was quieter than usual was that I didn’t recognize myself anymore. I have lived with myself for so long and had gotten used to my body looking and functioning in a certain kind of way and I did not know this person that I was anymore. I had to quickly learn to love this person, as this person was going to stick around for quite a few months and I wasn’t even sure she’d go away after birth. Somedays I was completely ok with the person I was becoming on other days especially when you wake up and discover even more drastic changes, I needed the help of Mr. Man and my tribe for me to cope.
Postpartum, the changes continue. Thanks to breastfeeding and copious amount of night sweats, my weigh is back to normal range. I look the same, but I don’t feel the same. Something shifted. I have scars where I didn’t know people scarred, my taste buds aren’t the same, I can eat sweet-stuff again, hallelujah, but with a far lower capacity than I could before. The extra sensitive skin of my childhood is back and I constantly have to carry my aloe vera gel to avoid incessant scratching when I have breakouts. Motion sickness stuck around after the pregnancy makes trips with the little one a bit challenging at times. I am a different person again and I am learning to fall in love with this person too.
I have always recognized that change in one-self is constant an loving myself means loving myself through these transformations, the biggest lesson for me through pregnancy and childbirth is that sometimes, those changes can happen really fast and your emotions may not catch-up at the desired rate and that’s ok as long as I always remember that no matter what I am always more than enough.