I Am Beautiful

I have been thinking about beauty a lot recently: outward beauty, inner beauty, society’s view of beautiful, motherhood’s version, and how our God sees our beauty.

To me, beauty is feeling confident with yourself–how you look, how you feel in your body, how you perceive the day. And to be honest, it’s been a little hard for me the past few months. But, I finally think I’m doing ok.

I want to start with a little anecdote. My parents spent thousands of dollars to make sure I had good teeth: braces, retainers, dentist cleanings and cavity fillings, toothpaste and toothbrushes in our Christmas stocking. And yet, did you know that I am missing a tooth? I have a beautiful smile, but somehow, my genes forgot to create one adult molar! At age 13, getting my braces, I still had one baby molar. The orthodontist had to sand the width down to match the adult molars. The dentists said it could come out the next year, in 10 years, or in my grave. Well, as much as I took care of my teeth, that lone baby tooth decided to give up the ghost in 2010, and we had it pulled. We couldn’t afford for me to get a bridge or an implant (and I still can’t). But, it didn’t bother me because I couldn’t see it.

The same applies to some of the changes my body has gone through after carrying and birthing my first child. I didn’t have stretchmarks until after labor! But, I don’t really mind them all that much. And, no one else can see them…that’s probably the main reason I don’t mind them. Like my tooth, they aren’t noticeable.

I am also actually experiencing post-partum hair loss. I have naturally thick, curly red hair. I am used to clogging up the drain and filling up the bristles on my brush every other week or so. But now, I have to do so almost every day! I already had a pretty thin hair line on my forehead, but it’s even more pronounced now. Thankfully, I have really cute accessories to mask it when I wear my hair up.

But, the biggest, and most noticeable change to me is my weight and figure. Now, you may say, “Tayler, you look great! You didn’t really look pregnant at 9 months, and you are stunning now.” I’ll say, “Thanks, but I can still feel the difference.”

I have been very thin my entire life. I am 5’7.5″ and have always had a good BMI and been on the lower end of the range for healthy weight. The heaviest I ever weighed was my senior year of high school at 150lbs. It was a stressful time–I was graduating and my family was moving. I also worked at an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. That summer, I decided to start running and work out. By the time my freshman year of college was over (10 months later), I had lost 18 pounds! Since 2009, I’ve weighed anywhere between 132-137 pounds. I was running and exercising, I was eating healthily, and I felt and looked great! I loved being able to feel thin, but notice the tone and muscle I had accumulated. I loved the fact that my husband could easily wrap his arms almost completely around me. I was confident, and I had always struggled with my body image.

Last year, working 50 minutes away, and getting pregnant, my time to work out disappeared. But, I didn’t fear. I knew that if I made healthy choices, I’d still be ok with my weight. And, during the whole pregnancy, I only put on 35 pounds! After a week or two of giving birth, I was already down to 148 pounds. And there I have stayed.

I know that this weight is pretty dang average for my height, but I’ve struggled with how I’ve felt about it. I have extra fat on my love handles, my tummy, my cheeks, and my thighs that weren’t there before. I don’t necessarily like it. I feel heavier. I don’t feel in shape. I miss being as skinny as I was. I miss relatives and friends telling me how great and thin I looked. I miss feeling like I’ve just worked out.

After I got the 6 week clearance, I started to go running again. It was much harder than before pregnancy. 1) I hadn’t gone running for a year! 2) I was now pushing a baby in a running stroller. 3) Where I live is all hills and I’ve never really ever been good at running those. But, it fit in nicely with Rhys and my schedule. Except, about two weeks ago, one of the tires on the stroller popped and we haven’t been able to fix it just yet.

Now, I still am healthy (for the most part). I don’t pig out and I do try to stretch or workout at home. But, I feel different.

A few weeks ago, I wore this outfit, saw myself in the mirror,  and thought to myself, “Dang, I look good!” I had forgotten how long my legs are and how nice they look on my body. So, I started to accentuate them. Justin, my sisters, and my mom have all commented on how I actually have curves now (look at the picture of me in the skirt…I had a tiny hour-glass shape, but I was mostly a stick). Now, I have actual curves. So, I started to accentuate them. My bosom is noticeable, my butt is a little bigger, and my hips are wider, giving me a real noticeable hour-glass shape. As I walk up our stairs, sometimes I watch my shadow. I watch my hips sway back and forth. I like that. I thought to myself:

I am beautiful.

My mom says, “It took 9 months for you to gain that weight. Expect the same amount of time to lose it.” I think back to the first time I saw Gone With the Wind as a junior high student. Scarlet O’Hara had just had a baby and was trying to put her corset on so she’d have a 19″ waist again. Mammy, her slave, measured her and said that she just birthed a baby. Her body would never be the same afterward. I had prepared for that my whole life. And I was ok with that, as long as I wasn’t overweight. Then, I met my sisters-in-law, each who have given birth four times, and look astounding with beautiful figures. I know it’s possible to get my body back the way it was.

But, for now, I’m taking it slow, and I am ok with that. It is important for me to listen to my body and remember what it is meant to do: give Rhys life and nourishment. And so far, it has done a wonderful job of that, and for that, I am thankful.

Because I am still beautiful.

And, although I still miss the way my body used to be, I am finding things I like about the way I look right now and ways to like my current beautiful body.

Here are some of ways to realize you are beautiful, even postpartum:
–Listen to your family members compliment your body and believe them
–Congratulate yourself on surviving labor (or a C-section). Your body did what it was meant to do.
–Go shopping! Your body is probably a different shape now or fills out different areas. Find new
clothes that accentuate your new, beautiful areas.
–Look at how your child looks at you. They love you for being you. That’s what truly matters.
–Indulge in a nice, long, warm shower or bath.
–Do what you can to exercise: run, yoga, stretch, curl ups.
–Wear cute hair things.
–Put on makeup even if you aren’t leaving the house.
–Smile. Looking at yourself smile can be a huge confidence booster.
–Be intimate with your husband–you’ll feel beautiful, and he’ll think so, too.
–Read other postpartum blog posts on beauty, depression, and other shared experiences. You’ll realize you aren’t alone in it.
–Compliment yourself on one part of your body each day.
–Tell yourself you are beautiful.

How did you come to love your postpartum body? What would you add to the list?


Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • This is fantastic. Even though I've been small my whole life too, I still struggled, hard, with body image. And even my hips now have some cellulite that I don't love, I am grateful to have hips, and a figure. I have to love them, because (hopefully) they will produce a baby some day. Like our bodies are meant, to, like you said! And yes, we are ALL beautiful despite how harsh of a critic we can be on ourselves.

  • I've always been curvy, you and I are the same height (woo!). When I was in high school and playing tennis 2 hours a day (I was #1 baby!) I was at 143. Back then I thought I was fat, HA! No matter who skinny I got I STILL had a butt 🙂 Anyways, now I'm even more curvy after pregnancy and that's OK! Thankfully I married a man who loves curves!

  • I love this. I can't relate to a postpartum body just yet but I do know that I've gained a few pounds since getting married. I've been feeling weird about it lately but I know I am still healthy and fine! Thanks for this post!

  • I'm actually glad to have hips and a figure, too!
    And my husband says that my hips aren't AS bony anymore (they still are, but not as much!)

  • My husband likes my new curves as well. He says I'm "even more irresistible" now, which of course, makes me feel good

  • I think that's the important thing…as long as we are still making healthy lifestyle choices and are in the range of what is considered healthy weight for our height, we should be content. And that's what I'm trying to realize.

  • Desiree @ Macke Monologues

    Such a great post! I wrote a similar one about 10 months after having Marcus. It took me quiet some times (about 14 months) to really accept and love my postpartum body.
    After babies our bodies are different. WE are different. And it's all beautiful!

  • My biggest issue is that even though my family thinks I look better with my wider hips, I can't fit into the pants/tunic dresses I have. They fit everywhere except for buttoning and zipping them up!

  • I am 5'9 and weighed about 133 when I got pregnant with twins! Who were full term and almost seven lbs each at birth. Then I have had a 9.5 lb baby as well. Pregnancy has done most of its damage to my once amazing core and abs as I have mild diastsis recti. And have a twin mommy tummy with wrinkled skin. And it won't go away any time soon, because I have managed to get back to that prepregancy weight before (currently about 10 lbs above it).

    Anyway, I say that for frame of reference. Our bodies do change in many ways, but so do we as women, as individuals. I may work out now, which I never had to do before, but I am doing it for health and strength and not for looks. My tummy will always have a bump, and I will always stretch marks, but my body can still be healthy and beautiful.

  • Tayler–this is such an inspiration to those who are struggling with their image! You looked fantastic pre-baby and you look fantastic post-baby! Curves are beautiful on every woman!

  • Thank you so much.

  • Elizabeth Spenner

    I love this!!! I can so t.o.t.a.l.l.y. relate. To the "being too thin", to the dental work…have a bridge:) To the lack of self-worth/image after three rounds of pregnancy/post-partum! Love this. Visiting from http://www.simplycomplexmom.com and The Peony Project!

  • neivelouise

    Such an inspirational body image message! Thankyou for this. Even though I have no kids, I still have body issues alot of the time and I am slowly coming to terms with them. Reading things like this helps. Also, fun fact: I have adult teeth the SIZE of "baby teeth". I've had many dentists ask me several questions and do many xrays to confirm. I literally just have tiny teeth! haha
    Neive xo
    theaussieosborns.blogspot.com

  • So glad to have others relate!

  • That's really interesting about the small teeth! I always thought I was weird for missing an adult tooth!

  • neivelouise

    Yeah I guess everyone has their little quirks. My teeth are so small that I didn't even feel my wisdom teeth come through and didn't need any out cause there is SO much room in my mouth haha.

  • Oh my gosh! I love that quote!
    You know what. I am truly only just coming to appreciate the amazing thing my body did 16 months ago. Being pregnant and giving birth has changed my body forever but I would not change it back for the world! I'm nearing my pre baby weight now (which is awesome) but I am less focused on just getting down to my pre baby weight and more focused on nourishing my body and looking after it so I can do it all over again.
    This is hands down one of the best blog post's I've read in ages.

  • Judith

    Thank you for this encouraging post. I just had a large tumor removed from my lower abdomen. I am thankful that it was benign, but it has left a nice scar. I won't go back to a completely flat stomach and to some degree will always have a tiny "swelly belly" from where the tumor lived before it was removed. I'm starting to feel better too. Thanks for the sweet reminder of real beauty!!

  • Susana

    I can totally relate 🙂 such a great read. Thank you!

  • Thank you so much for the compliment! It truly is a miraculous thing that our bodies can do.

  • Thanks!

  • But it's so wonderful that you are ok and that it was only benign!

  • This is an amazing read. Thankyou! It is just what I needed to hear right now… I am struggling with how my body looks and feels now, after having a baby 8 months ago. It really tugs at your self-esteem! I have had the same 'hair falling out' problem and it's really made me upset at times. It is super thin around my hairline too and hard to hide! Right now, the 'baby' hair is growing back, but when I don't have time to do it or hide it, it looks like I have spikes. So depressing! But then I just look at my baby, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

  • I believe our children truly are worth anything!

  • Wow! Thank you for that encouragement. I haven't had children (yet), but it really is hard to accept weight gain, even if it's just a little bit! I've always been slender (even skinny at some points), so even 5 pounds on my smaller frame is noticeable to me, but not anyone else. I never thought that I had body image struggles, but it really is a struggle sometimes! Thanks for sharing.

  • Loved this.
    Had my little nugget about two weeks ago.
    My body is just different now – and I'm realizing thats okay with me.
    and man you are tall… and have great, long legs!

  • I've felt the same way, especially since my family has genes for obesity!

  • Thanks! I love my long legs! As a soccer player in high school, I was nicknamed the Gazelle for them!