This past Saturday, Dean, Harley and I did a photo shoot. Dean had asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I said that I wanted a family photoshoot. I know he hates when we take pictures, he hates that sort of public flaunting of our life, love, happiness. But, because he is always willing to do whatever it takes to make me happy, he said cool. I found an amazing photographer who not only has a great eye, but also was willing to do a shoot that was a bit different to what you see usually in family photoshoots. If you’re looking for an amazingly reasonably priced photographer who is also a lovely human, I can’t recommend Meg highly enough. Seriously – go check her out.
Anyway, I got the photos from her that evening (yes, her turn around time was incredible) and I adored them. But I also did the usual thing that I think all women (and plenty of men) do. I didn’t see the gorgeous smiles, the pure love and joy. No, I saw the shots where I had an extra chin, where I looked fat, where i didn’t like my teeth or my skin or whatever else. I was so negative, not about the photos, but about myself. But then I had a revelation and I am changing how I see myself.
I shared this set of images on my Facebook recently, because it made me laugh but also made me think. It’s all about how we change the way we dress when we have kids – no more heels, less makeup, not getting hair done, etc. And how yes, we might change those things, but it’s because we want to do more for our kids and be more available for them, which is worthwhile. Sure, we need to take care of ourselves, but becoming a mom also changes our priorities.
And yes, I fully intend to start exercising again once Harley starts school and I get a few hours to myself each day. I hope to have more time to look after myself, something that I definitely need to do. But I also need to forgive myself more, and embrace where I am now. Harley is a year old. Back when I was pregnant, I told myself that I’d give myself the first year of Harley’s life before I worried about getting back into shape or anything. And that’s what I’ve done. Yes, I will focus on myself again, but I’m really glad that I spent this first year focused on her. She is a happy, healthy, strong, smart, adorable little girl and I like to think that some of that is because she has had an attentive, loving, constant mommy.
So, instead of seeing my extra chin while breastfeeding and thinking “ugh, I look so gross”, I’m changing my focus. This is how I look right now – maybe it will be different when do another photoshoot next year or later on, but for now, this is it. Sometimes I’m pretty and sometimes I’m less pretty. But I’m always taking care of my family. I’m filled with love and joy. I want to raise Harley without body image issues, and the only way I can do that is if I get rid of my own issues. So instead of saying “yuck”, I’m going to look at the life and love in the images. I’m going to appreciate how difficult this year has been and the way our family has thrived despite the challenges. I am going to be proud of what my body has accomplished – I survived a traumatic birth, I have been giving Harley breastmilk for her whole life, I have managed to work and be a mom and wife all at the same time. Instead of feeling like I look tired or soft or ugly, I’m going to see my strength, I’m going see the woman who has done pretty much everything she wanted this year. THIS is what a super woman looks like. I’m not perfect, but I never was and I never will be – this is still pretty damn awesome.
I’ll be using the images on my social media and here on Born Geek quite a bit, but here are some of the images that I’ve decided to love. Please let me know what you think. No, I’m not fishing for compliments. Okay, maybe I am, but who cares? We all need positive reenforcement sometimes.