It’s an ordinary Tuesday evening. I’m lounging on my couch after eating a late dinner with a furry cat on my lap. Although my 7 and a half month old child growing within me is having a nutrient fuelled party, my Poncho doesn’t seem to be bothered. She curls up tightly against my bouncing belly and chirps at me to caress her until she drifts off into dreamland.
I realize that I am stuck on this couch for a while and decide to embark on an adventure that I have been putting off. The storage in my phone has been full for weeks but I dreaded deleting the mounds of useless pictures that filled up my camera roll. Of course, it’s a task I needed to endure if I wanted to make any room for new pictures of our daughter that will be joining us shortly. I am sure it is no surprise to you that the majority of my feed is food. The same damn picture but of course my cropped versions, my filtered versions, and my snaps taken at every possible angle. I was positive that my fingers would cramp up before I had the chance to sift through all the foodie inspired photographs.
Amongst all of the smoothies, desserts, and meal pictures were some rare throwbacks of myself and friends and family. Of course, being a pregnant and inflated version of myself, these pictures sparked some emotions. Growing a human is a miraculous opportunity and prior to conceiving myself I admired expecting mothers. I honestly feel they are the most beautiful goddesses walking the earth. However now that I am one of these goddesses myself, I can sure as hell tell you that you that there are definitely moments, days, even weeks where all of the changes your body has undergone catches up to what you see in the mirror.
As I kept scrolling across these old photographs of myself I started crying but not because I was depressed of how my pregnancy has changed me. I started to feel so much regret. I felt sorrow for my old self. I felt ashamed that I used to be so hard on myself. When I looked back and analyzed these pictures I saw a young woman full of life and love. I saw beauty. And I am trying to sound anything but vain or conceited here but I saw one attractive being. I was in my prime. I found myself daydreaming of my old body. I heard myself thinking “ugh I can’t wait to get back to that.” And what made me cry is remembering how inadequate I felt back then. I never felt beautiful enough or fit enough. I remember my outfits revolving around how bloated I felt that day. I remember adjusting my clothes, my posture, and touching up my makeup before a picture was being taken. I remember specific moments. I remember that day where my thighs were huge or that dress that looked hideous or that bad hair day from hell. I can’t imagine how much more I would’ve enjoyed life had I just lived in the moment. How would things have been different if I didn’t worry about my appearance so much. I felt as if I, in some way, wasted those years. I let myself down. How sad is it to feel pride and admiration for your hard work back in the day but remember that at that time-you were never satisfied. How would things have been had I felt as beautiful as I really was. This brought me right back to the present. I immediately asked myself “how would things be if I felt as beautiful as I AM?”
This heavy hearted night taught me a lesson. It taught me that we are way too hard on ourselves. It opened my eyes to how much of our lives we waste nit picking our appearances. I would hate to look back years from now of pictures of myself carrying my first child and only remembering how bad I felt about myself. I want to remember growing life, embracing the journey of pregnancy. I want to remember admiring the feel of her every movement. I want to admire womanhood and the natural process of conceiving, carrying, labouring, and delivering my daughter. I cannot even fathom the regret of only being able to focus on the weight gain, the discomfort, and the self-pity parties. I fear I would never be able to forgive myself.
This Tuesday evening inspired me to share the following message via Instagram not too long ago. I was overwhelmingly surprised by all of the love my message received. I was overjoyed at the amount of woman who confided that they needed the reminder.
I pray that we can all do better focusing on the things that really matter from here on out. Let’s not waste another minute, hour, day, year, or lifetime feeling like we aren’t enough to be beautiful.