Reflection and an Anniversary

Today, I am thrilled to link up with two fabulous bloggers, Alison of Mama Wants This and Ado from The Momalog as they both celebrate their one year blogging anniversaries. Not only is this an important milestone for them, but they are also celebrating by giving fabulous prizes away to…you! I had no idea that blog anniversaries were such fancy occasions, but I am so excited to be a part of it!

Anyone can participate; the idea is to link up your favorite post. It’s a great way to meet other bloggers, read eloquent writing, and maybe win some fantastic prizes.

The post I am including can be found in its original form here.

(I also copy and pasted below, if you want to skip the click-through step.)

This post is not the most uplifting or lyrical that I have ever written, but it is one of my favorites. I wrote it late at night on a memo on my phone, when the words came pouring out of me and had to escape somewhere. It was the first time I was brave enough to write about my intimate thoughts after having my baby. It was the first time that I realized my words had power. And it was this memo, that sat in my phone for months, that nagged at me to start a blog in the first place.

I had words to say, and intimate thoughts that needed to be shared. This piece of writing allowed me to start to use my voice to once again find pieces of myself I thought I lost after having the baby. It is written from a dark place in my life, when I felt overwhelmed by motherhood and baby and not at all at peace with the dramatic changes pregnancy and breastfeeding had imposed upon my body. But these words made me feel for the first time in a long time, that my story had significance.

So in honor of these wonderful blog anniversaries, please enjoy a glimpse into one of my most intimate moments of discovering myself in my reflection.

Reflection 

My bathroom mirror was a thick fog of steam created by the shower I like to run almost scalding, so that it nearly burns as I stand under the flowing current that strips my skin of the days’ events. As I pulled back my shower curtain to reach for my white towel, a reflection of someone caught my eye in the mirror. It was someone I recognized mostly, but things had changed without my noticing. As I stared now, I watched water droplets drip from my breasts, which sit much lower than they used to. My nipples have darkened and there are stretch marks dirtying the cool white porcelain of skin that covers what used to be one of my favorite body features. Now they have become nothing more than a food source for the baby. While I pride myself on breastfeeding, I also grieve my breasts that I now no longer admire unless they are kept in an expensive bra that gives them the illusion of elasticity.

My eyes traveled down to my stomach, which used to be flat and jeweled with a belly button piercing, but is now like a map of squiggly lines leading to nowhere and a scar of a decoration of youth. I lifted my “baby pouch” with both hands and tried to remember my pre-baby body. Maybe I’ll get a tummy tuck one day, I thought. But a quick glance at my c-section scar reminds me of all the pain, and I winced at the thought of undergoing surgery ever again, for any reason.

As the steam lifted, I noticed circles under my eyes that I’m quite sure weren’t there a few years ago, and some stray eyebrow hairs. I’ve given up pedicures and waxes, and now resort to plucking when I get the time, but I’m surprised at how out of control my brows look. I guess I need to check the mirror more often, I think as I lift the tweezers for the first time in weeks.

At least I’m saving money this way. Not looking in mirrors allows you to forget that you have run out of concealer for the dark circles or chapstick for the chapped lips. It allows you the freedom to not care what you look like and not spend money on make up.

But I can not help but to feel trapped into a surprise when I can’t stop this mirror from reflecting.

Comments

  1. This is so so beautifully written.
    Understand this completely xoox

  2. I had a similar experience – where I saw myself in a mirror and was undone by my reflection. My heart goes out to you – for what you went through and for your bravery here, today. Thank you for sharing this piece of yourself.

    • It’s amazing how alarming it is to see a stranger in the mirror and realize it is you. Thank you so much for reading and relating.

  3. Hi Julia, Thank you so much for linking up with our Blog Bash and tweeting about it too.
    This post – wow. I can relate! Esp. to the tiny detail of the circles under the eyes and the eyebrows – like, suddenly after I gave birth my body wasn’t so much my own anymore, and hardly familiar. A new mother’s body is a new body, and it was altogether different and weird for me – and you put it into words so eloquently in your post. Thanks for sharing it! – Ado

    • Thank you so much! Yes “a new mother’s body is a new body” is so very true and such a different reality. Thank you so much for hosting the blog bash and happy anniversary!!

  4. taminginsanity says:

    Writing is so powerful, isn’t it? I’m glad you got it out.

  5. taminginsanity says:

    Writing is so powerful isn’t it?

  6. beautifully written…

    I’ve battled body image long before giving birth. To me, giving birth put exclamation marks on my poor body image. Then slowly I realized…what my body did. My breasts hang low…but they nourished my babies, now my 5 year old uses them as a pillow. My belly, enclosed my little ones, now its squishy and soft, perfect to cuddle on. I don’t know what my kids would do if I wasn’t this soft being. Yes I still have my moments of WTF happened…but for the most part, I’m at peace with myself, but it has taken years.

    • I agree; Mommies should be soft. But it takes such a long time to get used to that reality in your own mind as you shift from a woman to a mommy. It is taking me a long time too. :) Thank you so much for reading and sharing your own experience!

  7. Body image and motherhood are something we’ve all dealt with, I think, though my struggle came later… I was lucky enough to go back to my pre-pregnancy body right after both my pregnancies, but a lot of stress (in my life and marriage) and maybe a bit of PPD after my second caused me to gain weight. Now I look at my body like this… I could totally identify with this post (especially the hot shower!!!) so thanks for sharing it. :) It’s nice to know I’m not alone, and neither are you. :)

    • Thank you so much! It is so nice to know you are not alone when struggling with these issues. Motherhood changes you in so many ways.

  8. I’m still undone by my reflection, 13 years after my first child. I think part of the problem is that we are told that a woman’s body is supposed to look like it’s 22 and never given birth when that is actually the body of a GIRL.

    Growing up never stops taking my breath away.

    • Oh I LOVE that line, “growing up never stops taking my breath away.” Me either. Thank you for reading and for such a lovely comment.

  9. Galit Breen says:

    Oh this one is so very raw and real.

    I love that it’s your favorite, and that you shared it again.

  10. I get it. Totally. Except I can’t articulate it as well as you just did.

    Thank you for linking up with us for Blog Bash!

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