Pregnancy, motherhood, parenting has changed me. And I will never be the same again.
I could easily go on and on with a list of the ways it has changed me intellectually and psychologically. Ways such as adjusting my views on:
- Right and wrong (and all the many shades of gray)
- Judgment (and not judging)
- Priorities (and what are and are not on my ever-changing list)
I could continue this checklist to infinity with all the alterations that seem to have taken place during and after the birth of my three children. And for the most part – many of these changes I view as beneficial.
But there is also another way that I have changed. And as I prepare to soon celebrate yet another birthday for myself, it is this other “change” that I am still coming to terms with.
Not a mental change, a physical change.
Because motherhood, parenting and especially pregnancy… has admittedly paid its heavy toll on my body.
And recently I came to the realization that many days I have two faces:
1. The one I see in the mirror
2. And the one I see in my head
And as I age, and have had more children, these two faces seem to become less and less familiar with each other.
Mirror Mirror on the Wall
Have you ever looked in the mirror, and are surprised to see what looks back at you?
In my mirror I see: A tallish,
frizzy curly, blondish- (with-the-occasional-gray) haired woman with eyes that seem to change depending on the color clothes she is wearing.
In my head I see: An athletic, high energy, and focused student of life
In my mirror I see: A… well, a mom… who doesn’t always have the energy or focus many days to do anything more athletic than chase her very quick toddler around the house in hopes to stop the tornadic path of destruction in which he leaves trailing behind him.
And this is a problem. (At least it seems to be a problem to me?)
Because I need to come to terms with my mirror.
The Slow and Winding Path of Age
This physical change for me has happened slowly.
Practically speaking, it’s not like I just woke up one morning, looked in my mirror and went “What happened? Who is this?”
- It started out slow – with the “war scars” of birth.
- It progressed even slower – with the effects of “gravity” and time.
- And it continues on like a snail – making progress that is barely noticeable unless viewed over long periods of time.
And it seems every couple years I notice a change fully that couldn’t have happened over night but just became apparent to me that morning.
Growth and change aren’t new. We’ve been doing it all our lives.
Age is just another type of change. So why can it be such a struggle?
So I’ve decided to take a stand. (Yes, right now as I type!)
I am going to work hard to better embrace these changes.
Re-introducing Myself to Me
So mirror… Yes, YOU! Mr. Mirror – the one housing my somewhat unrecognizable reflection. I am TALKING TO YOU.
As I approach yet another birthday, I need you to look at me and listen hard.
Your image will no longer be a stranger to me.
From this point forward, I will struggle less to have confidence that what I see is beautiful.
And I will begin changing my understanding and expectations of my reflection’s beauty.
Because beauty is an evolution. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Pride. Self-esteem. Confidence.
These characteristics are mine to keep – not yours to take.
Hello stranger! Howdy reflection. Let’s get reacquainted with each other. Shall we?
Look at all the experiences we’ve had.
Look at all the experiences still to come.
And lets recognize together how lucky we are to have them continue.
Leave a comment: Have you ever had problems consolidating the image you have of yourself in your mind and what you actually see in the mirror? How has aging effected your self awareness?
Note: This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival