A 3 day new H and mom, freshly home from the hospital. I was totally unaware of what I was getting myself into, but I was so happy to be home finally after way too much time in the hospital. I took this picture as soon as we walked in the house and came downstairs. My body had not bounced back like all the movies had promised, I was too sore to sit, my mind was in a fuzzy haze over everything that had happened in the last week, but I didn’t care. He was HERE. He was home. He was ours.
I have never posted this picture of us anywhere online, nor have I ever shown it to anyone, because I felt like I looked gross and definitely not the perfect image I was seeing of other freshly postpartum moms. I didn’t feel as though this was a beautiful picture by any means, and I was afraid of what some might say about the body that had just birthed an almost 9 pound baby less than 3 full days before. This photo is not beautiful in the typical sense – I am not wearing any makeup, my hair is probably on day 4 of not being washed, my body was still swollen from the epidural, my belly is still very visible – I could go on and on.
When I first looked at this picture, all I saw was what was *wrong* with my body. Two years and three months later, however, looking deeper with a fresh set of eyes, I see the pure joy and love that is being portrayed through my facial features. My eyes are swollen and dark from the lack of sleep, but they sparkle with the fresh imprint of new motherhood, and a baby that feels like I’ve been waiting forever for. He didn’t care if my hair was curled, or my eyelashes blackened with mascara – he was just happy to have a full belly, a warm chest to nuzzle up to, and a familiar voice to put a face to.
The early days of parenting were streaked with mess and confusion, but they were also characterized by the beautiful beginnings of our relationship as a mother and son, and a body that was strong and able to nourish him for almost 2 years.
Beautiful may have become a phrase I’ve used less and less to describe myself personally, in a physical sense, over the past few years, but it has also become a word I associate with motherhood and my bond with our son.