For months, my mind was fixated on the idea there was something wrong with me. Never before have I stared at myself in the mirror feeling so broken, wishing I could shred to pieces every inch of my body that was not deemed perfect or desirable anymore.
“No one will want you”, I whispered to myself as I hid buried in my towel looking for the baggiest bottoms and jumper I owned. This was the very first time it dawned on me what had become very apparent. He replaced me with somebody he was able to put on a pedestal for the world to see, her impeccable silhouette made her the perfect trophy to display and walk proudly with his head in the clouds. I was never blind to the changes my body endured after pregnancy and birth and like many I’m sure, I would often get lost in thought about it all. But, for the first time ever I was made to feel like a woman with no longer any desired value, place or purpose in this man’s world.
I never thought I’d see my body as used, damaged goods, until it became somebody’s laughing-stock. Somebody I had loved and trusted with all my gut, who I’d completely and unconditionally given myself to. All my fears, insecurities and anxieties were confirmed and became reality. My heart shattered, falling to the pit of my stomach everytime I caught a glimpse of my reflection. Each and every time I’d remind myself of those cruel words he’d entertained and used to describe my imperfections. I could barely look at myself anymore without drowning in my tears. “You’re not good enough for him”, “You’ll never be good enough for anyone” was all I could hear.
It was all very suffocating for quite some time if I’m honest, I wanted to barricade myself within the walls of my home and disappear from the world. I knew I needed a break from social media, I just couldn’t cope with the standard of perfection seen with every scroll – it was torture. In order to centre myself again, gain some clarity in my mind and focus on what truly mattered, it was absolutely necessary to immerse myself in complete solitary. Every night I held my baby a little closer and hugged her a little tighter; slowly, but surely remembering life’s truest treasures.
It was during this time I was able to detox my mind from the poison I’d been fed that led me to such a frail place – where I whole-heartedly believed without a shadow of doubt my ‘mum body’ defined my worth, or lack of it. It saddens me now, more than anything, to remember how low and insignificant someone’s words were able to make me feel. I truly don’t wish that upon anyone, nobody deserves to feel as though they are not good enough based merely on how they look; especially after having a baby, life’s greatest gift!
It doesn’t get any more magical than child-bearing, our bodies are divine and perform miracles. How dare we – or anyone for that matter – belittle our sacred bodies?!
Not everyone bounces back the same, some snap back like they didn’t even have a baby, some snap back with some minor changes, and some make it part of the special bunch. We snap back with permanent stretch marks – otherwise proudly known as ‘tiger’ stripes – and saggy skin galore. We may live in a world where often we are misled to strive for perfection (whatever that is) and made to feel as though our mum bodies are no longer worthy of love and happiness, no longer provocative and appealing. But remember, whilst teaching our little ones important life lessons, it’s them who teach us to recognise and cherish souls instead of physical appearance and it’s us who mustn’t forget that, and later remind them of this as they get older.
Love in its purest form does not come from what meets the eye but from what lays behind them. Self-love is for everyone, for every chapter of our lives, and greater still when our bodies become mothers of a tiny universe.
Today, I look in the mirror and apologise.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough to remind you of your beauty, but now I stand here to tell you it’s you and I together. Whoever doesn’t see our flaws as exquisite uniqueness; we shall gracefully walk away and not look back”.
– Lorena Vargas