I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to feel good about myself again and about what it would take for me to look in the mirror and like what I see, after probably a year of hating my reflection (and longer than that if you count each of my postpartum phases). I think we all look at ourselves sometimes and see our flaws instead of our beauty. I know I even did it to myself before I had children. But other times I could look at myself and appreciate what I saw and like myself. Since becoming a mother, I haven’t been able to feel that way very often. (I shared a bit about these feelings and my struggle here if you want to read more). While I’ve become more judgmental and critical of myself (and I’m working on this) I have become less judgmental about the things we can do to make ourselves feel happy and confident. I truly believe that whatever makes you feel good, happy, and more like “you” is a good thing — as long as you are doing it for you and not anyone else.
After I shared this on my Instagram stories last week, I had a lot of women message me that they are on a similar journey with weight and self-acceptance. Some of us have postpartum bodies we are trying to learn to love. Others have had health issues that have changed the way they look. A few women reached out and shared that they have been battling infertility and in their quest to become mothers have endured hormones in their IVF journey that have changed the way they look and feel. And many also shared the ways — both little and big — that have helped them feel more themselves again. For some, it was exercise. Maybe a new hairstyle. Or getting regular manicures. A few moms mentioned that eyelash extensions made them feel pretty again, especially since they rarely wear makeup. One shared that she had breast implants and a lift once she was finished breastfeeding because she felt really down about what nursing had done to her once perky boobs.
When I look at myself, I see a body that I don’t recognize due to health-related weight gain. I want to change it. I see breasts that don’t belong to me — they belong to three babies that I nourished. While I wouldn’t change that for a second, once I am done nursing my last baby, I would like to look into reconstructing them back into some semblance of my former self. And I see melasma and hyperpigmentation from three pregnancies on my face. That lovely pregnancy mask 🙂 And I want it gone.
I mention these things because I think it is ok to recognize the things that have changed about yourself and accept the changes you can, but work on the ones that really bother you. Because while it may just seem like vanity, feeling confident is huge when it comes to happiness. So why shouldn’t we give ourselves permission to make changes that would make us feel confident and happy again?
I recently learned of a new beauty platform called BodyBid. Through BodyBid patients can request free “bids” on a procedure they are seeking and certified surgeons in the search radius will respond with a quote, allowing patients to privately consult and find the best surgeons at a price that they can afford. Knowing that the decision to have plastic surgery can be a difficult one, BodyBid ensures that the experience is safe, private and affordable for those who decide it is right for them by connecting patients with over 6,000 American Board of Plastic Surgery certified surgeons.
I don’t think anyone should feel like they need to change something about themselves to reach some sort of idea of what beauty looks like. But if you aren’t comfortable in your own skin or aren’t happy with something about yourself, then I totally support making a change to feel better about yourself. Whether it is a career change, going back to school, getting fit and healthy, straightening your teeth, having your breasts done, getting your eyebrows waxed, seeing a therapist, trying lasers to improve your complexion — whatever it is, if it would help you to feel more confident and good about yourself, then do it for you. Positive changes help us grow, no? I realize that surgical procedures aren’t right for everyone — I’m not even sure yet if they are right for me — but I don’t think we should let stigma or what we’re afraid others will think stop us from feeling better about ourselves, whatever that means. Being happy and confident is so so important for our mental health and improves our quality of life in so many ways.
How do you feel about self-improvement? Is there something about yourself that makes you feel less confident? Have you already changed something that made you happier with your appearance? I’d venture a guess that many of us feel the same way and just don’t realize it.
This post is sponsored by BodyBid, but the opinions are my own.