I see articles all of the time talking about how women feel so different after having a child. Hell, I've even written some. They talk about how their bodies become a saggy, bloated, tired stranger. You feel like your whole life has become an out of body experience where you are watching this woman take care of this new baby.
But it can't be you. You have a flat belly, firm and round breasts, great skin from all of the sleep you get and no stitches down below. Then, you realize that "this woman" is you and "this new baby" is yours, and a whole new level of panic sets in.
From the time she was born, every single person we saw talked all about how much our daughter looked like her daddy. The only ones who said otherwise were those who had seen me as a baby, but even then they had to admit the resemblance to her father is uncanny.
This hurt a little bit. Then I realized how amazing he must've felt just hearing that. All throughout my pregnancy, he felt worthless in a way because he couldn't find a way to help. But he felt proud when he heard people say, "She looks just like her daddy." I think it helped them bond and was a beautiful sight.
But after a few days in the hospital and a few days at home with us, he had to go back to work and I was left at home with my baby girl. Many hours were spent staring at that precious little creature as she slept. I memorized her lips, lusted after her eyelashes and photographed her tiny little hair swirl way more times than can be healthy. She changed with every day that passed, and I had to memorize this new version.
As she got older, I started seeing aspects about her that seemed even more familiar. I finally realized I had seen these features in the mirror and my first instinct was panic. I have spent all of my life hating so many things about myself, that I didn't want her to have to deal with these same issues.
Whether it was my round nose, big forehead or small eyes, I was terrified she would spend hours in the mirror trying to find ways to cover up every little thing she hated about herself like I did. I felt all of my insecurities fall on her shoulders and felt sick to my stomach. I almost felt guilty for cursing her with this burden. But somewhere in that panic, it hit me: She's beautiful.
The shape of her eyes is like almonds, her little button nose is the cutest thing I have ever seen and her chubby cheeks make her smile infectious. I started realizing that yes, she does look like me and yes, she is beautiful. The longer I spent realizing it, the more I started seeing beauty in myself.
I stopped obsessing over the little things I can't change and started believing people when they complimented me. It changed my entire outlook on myself. With every day that goes by, I see another little piece of myself in her. It can be in a face she makes, her lovely singing voice or her stubborn attitude.
You always hear people say how much your heart grows when you have a child and how you "never knew love" until you do. These things are so true. Not only did my heart double for this little girl, but I felt it opening even more to house self-love. Every day I see something in her, I learn to love it about myself. Joss, I have you to thank, baby girl.