I sat for a few minutes and looked at myself in the mirror, but I saw someone else. I didn’t think motherhood can change you so much that you no longer recognise yourself. And not just physically … but it’s as if in the mirror I managed to see my soul, my fears, my frustration, my anxiety, my longing for the old “I”.
It had been a week since I had left the house because I didn’t feel well physically. Recovery after a caesarean section was not ear-blowing for me. I couldn’t get up from bed without help, and if I went outside to walk for 5 minutes, I had to stay in all day with painkillers. Besides, my baby wanted to be latched to my breast at all times, and at first breastfeeding was very difficult for us. I was breastfeeding and crying. However dear she was when I looked at her, I could not understand why it must be so hard, I couldn’t understand what I was wrong. I had moments when I felt the need to go and hide in the bathroom and cry. I was cooling down, and then it would start all over again.
This is how I looked at myself in the mirror for a long time and it was as if I didn’t recognise myself, I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Would it always be like this? I was trying to listen to the advice of moms who have gone through this and told me that it will get better with time, but I couldn’t believe one word. All I felt was sadness. I could not find myself in the new role as a mother, and this new body did not belong to me. I used to try on old clothes to see if I maybe fit in an old pair of jeans. Every time I had the “surprise” to see that I was trying in vain. And just like that, I was dumping the old jeans back in the closed and picked out the maternity ones. I couldn’t wear anything else anyways because it bothered me around the caesarean section.
Now, 2 months after giving birth, I begin to easily accept myself again; to get used to my new version. Motherhood changes you! I am lucky to have a partner who does not cease to repeat to me over and over again how beautiful I am and how much he loves me. When he tells me that, I forget that I don’t love myself as much as I used to. But I learn to love myself again when I look into the eyes of my little wonder. I realize that for her it does not matter that I am a few pounds heavier, that I have stretch marks or circles around my eyes.
She sees me as her everything! And she is my everything.
Being a mother is not easy! When I was pregnant I was scrolling down moms’ Instagram accounts or browsing Pinterest photos and I marvelled at those perfect pictures with beautifully dressed babies, who were smiling mouth to ear, alongside their happy and put-together mothers. I saw too few photos of crying babies, sad moms, set-ups that included tossed clothes, dirty diapers or any kind of clutter. It is a difficult thing to create expectations about motherhood from the perspective of perfect images.
In our daily routine every day is different, as we discover something new in our child which adds a little patience to us. In fact, motherhood is about how powerful us, mothers, are – imperfect, but perfect for our offsprings.
It is about giving, sacrifice and unconditional love.
Words by Realmomster Arina Lazar.