I had a weird request for my approaching 27th birthday. I asked my husband to take photos of me. Just me.
Recently, a series of harmless events happened that provoked some reflection. We received our 2016 family yearbook, I started documenting more videos for the “one second of every day” app, and I have three piles of dressy clothes to donate as part of my resolution to minimize.
So here I am looking at our family yearbook, sorting through baby videos and donating old clothes that I’ve somehow deemed as no longer appropriate for the “messy mom life.”
That’s when it hit me … I kind of went missing.
I’m in the background in many ways. This isn’t a complaint. My baby is the center of my universe and much of this is just part of the outpouring of love I have for him and the deserved exhaustion that comes after. But somewhere along the line, my baby also became my crutch. I went from genuinely wanting to be in the frame with him to wanting to be cropped out.
I think a big part of it is that I have spent so much of this past year building up my confidence as a mother that I lost a little bit of confidence as a woman.
As soon as my husband broke out the camera, I froze up. I wanted to grab my baby and hold him comfortably on my hip. I wanted the focus to be on him, not me. I didn’t know how to stand. Or sit. Even smiling just felt weird. But so did not smiling. I figured having my husband as the photographer would make it easy, but it didn’t. I nervously twirled in front of him and giggled, insisting “This was stupid. Bad idea. Let’s just go.”
But my husband kept snapping. And snapping. And snapping. So I regretfully went with it. It was my idea after all.
Motherhood has this weird way of making me self-conscious even though I have always been a confident person. “Am I being too sexy? Or not sexy enough?”
What started as a seemingly fun photoshoot with the intention of helping me embrace my postpartum image turned into a powerful awakening that I need to work on self-love.
Self-love is different than self-care. You can do things to promote your wellbeing, but you can still feel disconnected from the confidence that comes with loving yourself. I’m doing all the right things for my health, but I have been stopping short of those extra few steps.
I am a strong mother. I am a giving person, and I’m allowed to feel beautiful and sexy alongside those other roles. As I turn 27, I will work on self-love. Not just for me but also for my son – to show him that confidence in a woman is beautiful.