I used to be fit and thin, but then I became a mom.

I used to go running for the fun of it, often spur of the moment with my favorite tunes playing in my earbuds.

Now if I want to go for a run, there’s nothing spontaneous about it. I have to work around nap times, strap my toddler into the jogging stroller, bring snacks and water for him, and listen to him whine about wanting out so he can play on the neighborhood playground.

I used to dance full-out for two hours straight every day at dance team practice in high school and college. All with a big smile plastered on my face.

Now I have to pace myself just so I can get through a Zumba class. And I’ve taken a peek at my face in the mirror. Talk about total concentration! It’s not a pretty sight.

Needless to say, I don’t run or dance much anymore. In fact, I’m often winded just climbing the stairs.

I used to be able to eat anything I wanted and not gain weight. I could enjoy my sweet and salty cravings and not feel any remorse whatsoever. As active as I once was, my body was constantly burning calories.

Now it seems I gain five pounds just by looking at a piece of chocolate.

As a postpartum depression sufferer for almost two years, food became a source of comfort for me. Now I’m forced to deal with the extra weight I gained. I often feel like I’m in a constant state of maintaining instead of losing the unwanted weight.

I used to have a fun sense of style and a full wardrobe with unique jewelry to match each outfit. Every day, my body was a fresh canvas to create a fresh look for the day.

Now, I struggle to find clothing that flatters my body so I end up wearing sweatpants or leggings most days. I rarely bother with jewelry anymore. My toddler will yank it off if I do.

I used to take the time to apply a full face of makeup each morning. Some neutral eye shadow to enhance my natural look, and a little bit of eyeliner and mascara to highlight my big, hazel-green eyes.

Now, I’m lucky if I remember to apply foundation and swipe some blush on my pale cheeks. Unfortunately for me, the worry lines on my forehead and bags under my eyes are not as easily disguised anymore.

I used to have a head full of dark, strawberry blonde curls. Curls so tight and springy that my hair bounced when I walked, just like in those shampoo commercials.

Now my hair is more of a mousy brown, dull and stringy. The roller coaster my hormones were on during pregnancy and postpartum have caused my hair to permanently lose its bounce and vibrancy.

I used to be fit and thin. I used to take care of myself. It used to be easier.

But then I remember . . . 

I used to go running to pass the time because as a single lady in my 20s, I desperately wanted a spouse and family to share my life with.

Now I have a husband who comes home to me each night and our sweet, little growing family is the answer to so many lonely prayers.

I used to feel like my identity was all wrapped up in dance. To be a part of such elite teams took all my time, dedication, and energy.

Now I know that my identity is found in Christ alone. He’s blessed me as a wife, mother, friend, and so much more. Plus, I now have the honor to share my love for dance with my children. Random dance parties with my toddler son are the best!

I used to eat most meals alone. Single and living on my own, I never made elaborate meals for myself. So TV dinners while binge watching Friends or Gilmore Girls was a regular occurrence.

Now I have the honor to cook for my family. While most our meals are still simple and easy, I’ve graduated from TV dinners and now enjoy dinner conversation with my hubby and son.

While the extra weight I currently carry may be a nuisance during swimsuit season, most the time it really doesn’t faze me. My husband says he likes my extra curves. So I will choose to celebrate my body in its current state, instead of mourning the loss of what it used to be.

I used to dress to impress and a full face of makeup was always a must. Even though it sounds cliché, I often failed to understand that true beauty lies within me.

Now I’m much more forgiving of myself when I don’t look my best. I dress nicely when I feel like it and wear makeup and jewelry for special occasions, but I’ve learned to embrace my natural look and enjoy the coziness of leggings and sweats. Plus, it’s so much easier to keep up with my active toddler when I’m not constrained in jeans.

But my hair . . . oh my beautiful hair . . . I miss you, my friend. I will forever mourn the loss of my lovely, bouncy, vibrant, spirally curls.

But even the loss of my once-gorgeous hair is worth it. Just to be a mom.

You may also like: 

Hey Moms, Lose the Weight

Dear Baby, You Were So Worth It

I Love Being Your Mama, My Son

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Alaina V. Fletcher

Alaina is a Kansas girl currently living in Ohio with her handsome hubby, toddler son, and senior cat. Her childhood love for reading and writing led her to earning a college degree in English. She’s a fair-weather runner and former dancer reliving her glory days in weekly Zumba class. She’s a writer, photography-lover, and stay-at-home mom to an amazing little boy.
 
Alaina writes about relationships, motherhood, depression & anxiety, introversion, discovering your giftings and passions, and living a life of purpose and love. She’s been published by Her View From Home and TODAY Parenting Team. She’s the creator and writer of The Living Loved Movement at thelivinglovedmovement.com where she inspires others to live their lives through the lens of love. You can follow the movement on Facebook and Instagram.