“You look so beautiful,” my husband gently whispered as I got dressed in the few pajamas that are fitting me now. After he walked out, I briefly glanced at myself in the mirror. I lifted up my snug pajama top which used to hang loosely off of my thin frame and stared at my stretched skin. My fingers traced over the dark linea nigra that now divided the lower half of my stomach.
I turned to the side and studied my imperfectly shaped pregnant belly. My bump never grew round as I had anticipated, instead it grew in a b-shape outwards. My arms grew, my legs grew, and my hips—oh, how my hips had grown. My perky breasts now sat on top of my stomach, slightly red from heat (a side effect my doctor laughed off, as I cried, “They’ve just changed so much!”) and boasting nipples that would one day be used for something other than looking tragic.
I am beautiful? He was the third person to say that exact phrase to me this week. The first being my mother, a compliment that I brushed off as the love of any mother. The second, a friend, and lastly my husband. Each had genuinely meant what they said. They had seen something change in me that was not purely physical.
Thinking back to when my sister was pregnant, I couldn’t help but feel joyful each time I saw her round belly burst into a room, with the rest of her smiling face following behind. As the first pregnant daughter of my family, she was the star of the show and every entrance she made was grand. She would rub her belly with wide eyes, as she talked a mile a minute about whatever you were conversing about. Her long red hair would glow almost as brightly as her eyes as she clumsily bounced around the room. In those days I couldn’t help but think, “She is beautiful. I hope to one day be that beautiful pregnant woman.”
Years later, here I was studying my new body with uncertainty. I am beautiful? I stopped analyzing my stomach long enough to catch a glimpse of my smiling face in the mirror. I had never seen myself look so happy.
In that moment I was so thankful, for the friends and family who reminded me along the way, but more so for this baby growing inside me that brought a level of beauty to my life beyond anything imaginable.
In case no one has told you today—mama, you are beautiful. I see you, with your tired and thankful eyes. Your changed hips tell a story that others admire, one of beauty and strength. With each pair of jeans you struggle to button, with each grey hair you viciously pluck, know that you are undeniably beautiful.
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