It is difficult, to say the least, to look at myself in the mirror and think positively about what is looking back at me.

I’ve struggled with body image since I can remember.

Now, as a mother, I struggle with it more.

I look in the mirror and I see stretch marks, scars, extra fat in places it wasn’t in before or shouldn’t be in.

I see tired eyes, pale skin, broken nails, and unkempt hair.

I see someone looking back at me I am ashamed of.

And then, I open the door and look down the hall at the mess, at the doors that house sleeping children that this body created.

The stretch marks are evidence of growing my children.

These scars are reminders that my children lived and were delivered healthy.

This fat is proof that my body gave nutrients to my babies.

These eyes and evidence of not enough sleep or time to put the best effort into my appearance reminds me I am blessed to chase after three little versions of my husband and myself.

But still, I remain hard on myself, and critique every little thing wrong and what I could do to make it better. I hear this voice telling me I am not beautiful the way I am.

And then, I see my little girls.

I fear they will one day hate themselves and say the awful things I do about my body.

So I make the effort to love myself as I am.

I do it for them more than myself.

If I can’t show my precious little girls that I love myself the way I am, how am I supposed to make them believe they are perfect and beautiful just the way they are? How am I supposed to teach them how there is more to beauty than the size of your waist and physical attributes? What do I tell them when they become mothers?

I believe with all my heart they are beautiful and they are special. I see their smiles light up the room I see these perfect little creatures who are unique in every way. I see them for more than what is on the outside and I teach them they are more than their appearance. If they are to believe me, I must believe the same about myself.

It is a daily battle and one I am determined to win.

I am beautiful and I am enough.

I am beautiful.

I am enough.

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Anastasia Smothers

Anastasia is a mother of four children under four and a proud wife to a veteran. When not with her children, she works full -time and also has a part-time position as a substitute teacher.