How having a baby made me love myself
Self-love is harder than you think. It’s an easy lesson to preach, but one of the hardest to practice. Looking in the mirror it’s easy to see faults. Admittedly, I’m one of those people. I have a hard time coming up with good things to say about myself. It’s odd, because not only do I come from a happy family, but I’m married to the most wonderful man. Despite this, I’ve always seen the positive in everyone other than myself. However, I’ve always believed in self-love, because I’ve seen and felt the benefit of it. Because of this, it’s always been something I’ve worked towards, and the older I’ve gotten, the better I’ve become at it.
But it was only when I became a mother that I truly learned how to love myself.
There are three reasons this happened:
1. My focus was shifted.
Before I had a child I had the luxury of many hours to do all the things I needed to do in a day, but all that soon changed. Once my little boy came along, I no longer had the time or energy to think about myself. Every waking moment was about taking care of him. On sick days, when I was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to lie in bed all day, I had to put those thoughts aside and be a mother. That always came first. And really, when you’re left with so little time to yourself, you don’t want to waste it on feeling sorry for yourself. You soon see the value of time and you learn how to make the most out of all of it.
2. I was being watched.
The months went by and my newborn became a baby who then became a toddler. I could no longer do or say whatever I wanted around him because he was now becoming very aware of his surroundings. I noticed the way he watched me and mimicked me, and the last thing I wanted was to pass on my own insecurities to him. How could I teach him how to love himself when I wasn’t doing the same? So I started to smile at myself in the mirror and not take myself too seriously. I learned how to be silly, and messy, and happy. The more I laughed, the more he laughed. Again, this was so much better than feeling sorry for myself.
3. Complete love.
I’ve never been great with eye contact. I’m not sure why, but the thought of gazing into the eyes of others makes me uncomfortable. Perhaps it has something to do with the way I see myself. I’m afraid that the more someone looks at me, the more of my anxieties will show. But somehow, it’s different with my son. When he looks into my eyes I feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. I could stare at him forever. When he looks at me he doesn’t see my thighs, or my wrinkles, or any of the outward things I always berate myself for. When he looks at me all he sees is a mother who loves him and takes care of him.
I no longer dislike myself. I don’t feel sorry for myself. Loving myself comes easy to me now. After all, why should I hate myself when the only thing that matters is the love I have for my child and the love he has for me?
So be silly, have fun, laugh a lot, forget about the creased clothes and the unwashed hair. Teach your child how important it is to love yourself.
Here's my little guy kissing himself in the mirror:
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