This was the last dress I wore before I delivered Little V. My body was big, different and uncomfortable, but I remember loving how my bump looked and how the dress flowed and felt on me. There was still a sense of feeling attractive in a womanly way, as I carried a new life.
I write this post-partum as I’m wearing a pair of Depends.
It’s amazing what sorts of thoughts run through your head even when your new priority is keeping a baby alive. Your sleep-deprived self is functioning on 1-hour sleep increments and still you have time to think about how your gut is now a deflated tire, how ungracefully you waddle to the bathroom as you grimace from the stitches, and how you hate the hot chick that walked by your car on the way home from the hospital.
Oh, I know the weight usually comes off eventually. Watch what you eat, breastfeed, get some exercise, etc. I get it. But this isn’t about body-envy. It’s about feeling insecure even in the midst of a beautiful thing that just happened in your life. It’s about reading how (insert celebrity name) bounced back from her pregnancy in a matter of weeks in time to wear a bikini for the next runway show. It’s about catching up with your fashion blog reading and feeling a keen sense of personal ugliness.
“Be gentle with yourself,” a friend tells me recently. Tears well up in my eyes and suddenly I’m sobbing, but it feels good. I let myself cry. I had not been doing that.
I think of my daughter, who I have the great responsibility to raise, and pray that I can one day remember to tell her the same. To be gentle with herself. That it’s ok to cry, to let yourself feel, no matter how silly it may seem. That she will always, always be beautiful to me.