My dog puked on my jeans.
That's how it all started. My dog, who clearly ate something she shouldn't have, puked all over my jeans. Since I was 6 weeks postpartum at the time, fitting in a pair of jeans was a victory for me. These jeans, this one pair of H&M denim skinny jeans, fashionably ripped at the knees, were the only pair of jeans that fit me. And of all days, this was the day I had plans outside my home. So of course, as luck would have it, my dog puked all over my only pair of jeans that fit.
And I completely lost it.
Sure, I could have easily slipped on a pair of leggings, but those jeans made me feel like myself again. They gave me confidence. Without them, I was reverting back to my postpartum figure. I didn't want to associate myself with that word, "postpartum." I just wanted my figure back. So I did what any other hormonal mother of a newborn would have done - I cried. Then the baby started crying. Then my husband, unsure of the commotion, ran upstairs.
I explained. Between sobs and hiccups, it all gushed out. It wasn't just the affirmation from the jeans that I had lost the baby weight, it was the sense of self they gave me. He listened, then cracked a smile as our dog, the culprit in all this, stared at me the whole time. This wasn't the dogs fault. This was mine.
It was as if a lightbulb went off. Leggings would have looked just fine. It was a matter of how I felt in them. Here I was, giving this one pair of denim the power to make or break my confidence.
I find it ironic. I've known my husband for almost 8 years now and I absolutely adore him. My children, well, it was love at first site. Even my fur baby took very little time for me to be absolutely smitten. But for all of 34 years I've lived and breathed in this fleshy 5' 2" shell of mine, I can honestly say, falling in love with myself is no small feat.
I'd like to think time has treated me well, with effort on my end of course. I eat relatively healthy, however indulging whenever I want. Though I don't regularly work out, I'm sure as hell active. Sephora is my go to when it comes to maintenance on my skin and every now and then I take down the top knot and wash my hair. I'm no supermodel, but I've come to believe I'm easy on the eyes.
After having my second child just about two months ago, my body, my skin, my hair had changed once again. New lines stretched along my stomach. the excess weight became harder to shed and I was religiously applying under eye cream with the hope that I'd truly discover a miracle in a jar. That miracle never came and here I was, in the fourth trimester left to not only adjust to a newborn once again, but this new version of "self".
Despite how much I yearned to hide in my room with the baby, to avoid any interaction until I was "back to normal" "(what ever that may be), I forced myself to endure visitors. They came with their gifts for Noah, prepared meals for the family, and even showered me with compliments.
You look great after having had a baby! No, actually I need to lose a few more pounds. Your hair looks great! It hasn't been washed in days. Your skin looks amazing! Really? Because the wrinkles on my forehead say otherwise.
Even as I write this now and reread my response to the support I received from others - I cringe. Why had it become so hard to take a compliment? Why couldn't I just accept that hey, I was actually doing ok? Looking back to the first two months with Noah, my first two months postpartum, I realize now that "just ok" wasn't enough for me.
There are many reasons I can cite for my perseveration on this unattainable goal of perfection - those immaculate mom life photos on social media can really start to mess with your head- but I really didn't want to waste anymore of my time on why. I deliberately chose to focus on how. How was I going to get to a point in my life where I could confidently accept that, yes Rowena, you are fucking amazing?
To be continued ...
(Trying to) Stay Mighty,