Author’s Note: OK, so not THE hardest day but a hard one nonetheless. I have to start this out by saying that what I am posting is deeply, intensely personal for me, and therefore very hard to share with people at large. Only one person saw this before I put it up here, and that took me almost a week to write and three days to share. So, please, keep that in mind. I am sharing this because I want other mothers (and women in general) to know that they are not alone, that their feelings are valid, and that their head space is shared by others. You are not the only one. We all feel this way.
What I am posting is only part of what I wrote. The rest is too personal for me to put out there. Ever. But I hope that reading this may help someone, encourage them (somehow, if possible), let them know that they are not alone.
I never thought that it would come to this, that I would ever feel this way. I never thought that the day would come when I put on my favorite top or dress, looked in the mirror and said, “I look horrible in this. I’m too big for it.” And I don’t just mean breasts-too-big, I mean TOO BIG too big. I’m sure it’s happened, honestly, but I don’t remember it being so dramatic or so devastating. Clothes that were a nice fit (maybe not a perfect one but at least a nice one) just last year are now too snug. My waistline has gone into hiding, my bust blooming through necklines that were perfectly suitable before, and my hips and lower belly create unsightly bumps where the waist of my jeans sits too high for my short torso because low-rise jeans don’t fit well either anymore. I am sitting here almost crying as I remember looking into the mirror, sighing, and taking off my top to change into something else. And then changing again.
I stared down at my dresser drawer, which I have cleaned out of some old, worn out favorites lately and considered cleaning it out even more, getting rid of those tops that I really like but that I’m just not suited for anymore. Not that they don’t suit me. I don’t suit them. I don’t make the tops look good anymore. My bust makes old favorite sundresses look downright indecent. I wonder more and more when I should just buy my polo tops, clam-digger khakis, and sensible Keds and “act my age”. That’s probably offensive or something to 30-year-olds out there somewhere so sorry if I did but the statement stands. I am 30 years old (which still baffles me). I know that our bodies change with age and with life but…I guess this is one of those cases of my having stupidly high expectations of myself. I never wanted to be a woman who looks in the mirror and wonders where the years and her body have gone. Who looks at pictures of herself from only a few years ago and desperately wants to turn back the clock.
It took so long for me to get a point where I was happy with how I looked, where I felt pretty, and actually was in shape. As much as I love my daughter, and I do – immeasurably – it doesn’t change the fact that pregnancy and then being mommy ruined years of work and struggle. I’m working really hard now to get back into shape, get my energy up, and lose those extra pounds that I put on again after my first few months postpartum. I walk at least a mile every day, I track my food to make myself aware of my eating habits, I am drinking more water, and getting to bed earlier. I know that some people would tell me that I’m being silly or that I look better now than I did before or something, but that is not how I feel. Neither is that the way that my closet feels. I have all these lovely dresses and skirts and tops that I really like and would like to wear but, right now, I can’t even zip them up.
I know that I’m probably being incredibly vain and whiny but…that’s how I feel. I’m trying to be better, to see myself better, but it’s hard, I find. It’s hard to hear someone say “you look good” when I don’t believe it myself. Really hard. And I feel even worse when it’s hard.
Postscript: That’s it. There is no happy ending to this piece of writing. It just a bald, painful statement of my body image and self-view, something that I have been struggling with my entire life. I AM working hard at getting back into shape, eating better, etc. It’s the first time that I have made such a concentrated effort and focused on the weight/size loss itself and not have it be a byproduct of something else I was doing. I am starting to see some results but it doesn’t stop the bad days. I just…have to push through it, like when I’m on the last leg of the first half of my power walk in the mornings. Sometimes I have to tell myself, “Push! Push! You’re almost there.” And the hard days are like that, I guess. I just need to keep walking, keep pushing. We all do. I know it’s hard, so very agonizingly hard. But I’ll get through it. You’ll get through it and we’ll keep on figuring out how to be happy with ourselves.