This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.
I have always had poor self-esteem. From the moment my body turned foreign and bloomed in ways I didn't understand, ways that suddenly made the girls stop talking to me and the boys make fun of me. I was young and unable to fully comprehend what was happening, despite the videos presented in health class. Instead of loving my new curves I hated them. I tried to hide them under baggy clothes and multiple layers. I avoided my image, and having pictures taken. I dreaded trying on clothes. I felt ugly and uncomfortable. I hated my body and felt betrayed by it.
Over the years my discomfort with my body had lessened but it had not disappeared, and I still avoided pictures and mirrors. It wasn't until I became pregnant that I became aware of my body in a new light. I have heard other mother’s voice worries of stretch marks and varicose veins, of paunches and saggy boobs. But none of those things really concerned me. I do not know if the miscarriage changed my viewpoint but I suddenly saw by body as it was; a vessel for life (cheesy I know, but true). All things came second to the safety of my child. There was no price I would not pay. If my hips were forever a little curvier, or my belly and breasts became puckered with stretch marks - I could not find it in me to care.
As my body grew for my unborn child, and my skin became soft while my belly grew hard. I discovered a power and strength in my being I had never noticed before. I discovered the beauty of my body I had never noticed before. And child birth – for all its gore and hardship is the most amazing and beautiful thing I have ever experienced.
I knew that I would love my child beyond measure, but I did not know that I would discover love of myself. That carrying her, and caring for her would make me beautiful, that it would unfold an inner strength and radiance I had hidden away and thought never existed.
When I look into her eyes I think to myself how incredibly beautiful and amazing she is, and in her eyes I see myself as she sees me – someone who is amazing and beautiful too.
She made me beautiful.