When I look at this picture I see beauty, love, faith & vulnerability. I see a women who has been through so much, a body that has given birth to two wonderful children. But I also see insecurities, panic attacks, postpartum depression & anxiety. I see eating disorders, body dysmorphia, & self doubt. The truth isn’t always pretty & it may be more than what you see on the outside.
My truth is this; I had a full blown panic attack before I took this picture. I trapped myself inside my room and I cried. You see, my journey toward self love has been a rocky one. I grew up the most self confident girl you’ve ever met. Fast forward through teenage years, hormones, being an actress in a business that demands perfection, & a very abusive relationship in my teens…somehow I was left feeling completely unworthy. Unworthy of self love & not enough for anyone. I look in a mirror and it was like staring in some evil fun house mirror. I would only see every flaw, every mark, every scar. How could I love a body that has been through this much? Then I had kids and that only makes everything giggle more, cellulite becomes a more usual occurrence, & suddenly did my hips become wider? For someone who psycho focuses on her body, pregnancy was hard for me. My second pregnancy with my daughter was even harder.
When I got pregnant everyone told me that the second pregnancy you always show quicker & get bigger. And once we found out it was a girl, everyone told me to hold tight because girls make you even bigger than boys do. There was this constant talk about what I looked like in those beginning stages of pregnancy with Addie. Then, when I was well into my second trimester and still naturally not really showing much, everyone kept glorifying how I looked. People continually told me how wonderful it was that I was so far along and barely showing. So I felt this crazy need to compare myself to those standards. My self confidence & self worth became directly linked to how I looked. My internal narrative was that I was unworthy if I got bigger because people only talked about my size. As my body & baby continued to get bigger (because hello, I was actually pregnant & babies grow), I started to panic. I had so many unhealthy thoughts about what I looked like & how they translated into others love for me. Terrified to loose my self worth, my eating disorder came back. I was taking my prenatal vitamins and eating about one organic meal a day sometimes two. I became so focused on living up to this unrealistic expectation that others put on me. I felt like I was constantly drowning & no one could see me. I was in such a horrible spot & I let myself silently suffer for months on end, never letting anyone know the magnitude of my issues. It wasn’t until I went into preterm labor with my daughter that I allowed myself the idea that there was an actual problem.
Pregnancy changes your body. Pregnancy stretches everything & gives you lumps, sag, cellulite, & boobs that are forever different sizes because both kids favored the same one (insert major eye roll here). But instead of celebrating the fact that I was blessed & could carry two healthy children, I was glorified for being a “small” pregnant woman. I was told that I somehow was better because I wasn’t huge with my son, which fueled the most terrifying thoughts when I was pregnant with my daughter. There is something so wrong with that. It doesn’t matter what size you are. You are beautiful at every stage and in every shape. I know gorgeous women who were mocked for not loosing the pregnancy weight, then there are women who are mocked for loosing it too fast. We are all so vicious to each other, it’s no wonder that there are so many insecurities. My question is…what is the perfect postpartum body? What size is deemed “healthy” while we are pregnant? The answer…all of them. All of us are pretty. Carrying a baby doesn’t wreck you for life. You are still worthy of love, especially self love.
I’d like to say that after my daughter was born and after I faced my disorder, it went away…but I still had a panic attack before taking these pictures. I’m still vulnerable & I still struggle with self love & acceptance. But I know that loving myself & my new body is possible. I know that above all, God loves me no matter what I look like. Size, shape, curves, skinny, fat…Gods love sees none of this, He only sees our hearts. Sharing this photo, sharing my truth helps me to let go of the stigma & the hold that Satan’s had on me, even just a little bit. So this is postpartum. This is learning to be a little easier on yourself, learning to love yourself again. This is 7 weeks postpartum with my baby girl & 2 and a half years with my boy. This is my body now. This is me now, & that’s ok because I AM ENOUGH. 💛