An Open Letter to My Daughter: What You've Taught This Run-Down Mama About Beauty
This week in our Mommy & Me group, we addressed the topic of body image after baby.
And it was heavy.
In a group of fellow first-time moms, all with babies around the same age, it's easy to make comparisons.
Wow! She put on jeans today. Her hair is brushed and curled! She's even wearing mascara...
...I'm such a mess.
What we found was that no matter how put-together, how fit, or how happy someone looks on the outside, we have no idea what they're feeling inside. What perceived flaws they are picking apart internally. In an effort to put my own flattering Instagram shots into perspective, allow me to address a few of my insecurities.
I'm now five months postpartum and I'm not back into any of my pre-pregnancy clothes. These days, my jeans are a few sizes bigger, my shoes are tighter, I'm wearing nursing bras and tanks every day, and not even my old button-up shirts fit properly.
Returning to my job, where beauty and appearance is a big part of the equation, I was OK with all of that. I'm learning how to dress my new figure (bigger boobs! wider hips! softer belly!) and to carry concealer for those permanent dark circles under my eyes.
But when I started facing postpartum hair loss, I was at a loss. I couldn't help but feel sadness and panic at each fistful of hair coming loose. I didn't know how to style my thinning hair and the growing bald spots on my hairline have become more difficult to hide.
It was the last straw. My confidence had been shattered.
But then I remembered this letter that I wrote to Everly a few months ago, and I felt that now was as good a time as any to share it.
I hope that it can remind you -- as it does me -- that you are worthy of unconditional love, and that unconditional love doesn't care if you skip a shower. (Or, in my case, if the shower drain is full of hair.)
What a gift you have given me, the perspective to view the world through your eyes. As you are discovering your surroundings, one of your favorite things to do is smile at the sweet baby staring back at you in the mirror.
I hope that as you grow, you always have the heart to smile back at yourself in the mirror.
At three months old, you have no self-doubt or insecurities -- and how refreshing it is to see that in real life. You haven't yet learned what I and countless women know of a world that sets harsh standards for female beauty, and you are unreserved in your love of seeing that beautiful baby face.
In my humble, totally unbiased opinion, you are easily the most beautiful child to grace this planet. But it's not just your cute chubby cheeks, your pointy chin, your soulful eyes or your wild hair -- it's your unbridled, unapologetic joy. It's your willingness to offer a huge gummy smile to anyone. It's how you look at me with hearts in your eyes when I feel less than.
You remind me to love myself some days, especially when I'm unhappy with what I see of myself in the mirror. You have taught me so much about what's important in this world.
Please be kind to yourself as you grow older. I promise to do my best to keep your heart pure, and I will try not to project my own learned beauty ideals on you. I will try to spend more time smiling at myself in the mirror, too. (Even when it's hard.)
To me, you will always be perfect. I love you the most, my sweet beautiful girl.