When I met my husband almost eight years ago, I had just turned twenty five years old. It happened to have been in June when I am usually my tannest, thinnest, and most fit. Early in the summers I tend to feel more motivated to go for extensive walks and runs.. especially at that time when I was single. Also at that time, I didn’t have any wrinkles, and, in fact, my skin was perfect. If I had one zit pop up, it was the end of the world. My hair was its brunette color with natural red highlights from the sun, and had no signs of gray hair representing stress, age, or bad genes. I may not have been large breasted, but I can assure you that whatever I had at that time was far better than what I have now. I had all the time in the world to workout, do my makeup, blow dry my hair, and pick out a cute outfit. Well, in retrospect I had all the time in the world because now I have kids. Still, I had a full-time job. I felt beautiful and wanted by my husband, and just like every other woman, we hope that feeling never fades.
I am now thirty two years old. My body is completing its third pregnancy, while my mind is dealing with two toddlers. Let’s start with just age. I have gray hairs sprouting from random areas of my head, my eye lids are beginning to droop, getting myself ready in the mornings has taken a way back seat, and I have permanent bags under each eye, sometimes even appearing that I had been in a hefty fist fight the prior night. But, we all know that isn’t the case because I have two toddlers at home who prevent me from a) going out, and b) getting a sufficient amount of sleep.
Now, let’s touch on the pregnancy dilemmas. Each pregnancy I have developed severe acne. I’m not just talking about a zit here and there. I’m talking about my back being covered in whiteheads, my chin line having what looks like welts, but are actually pimples, and, in addition, the major pot holes that fill up with puss repeatedly. I’ll put it this way.. I never dealt with teenage acne, but I can now understand the humiliation and insecurities that come along with such an appearance. That, in itself, couldn’t make me feel less attractive.
My body. No matter how many people tell me how great and beautiful look, I feel like a beached whale. I’m sorry. That’s just the way I feel when I waddle down the street, and am up thirty pounds more than the weight I have so carefully maintained over the years. I am unable to run because my stomach is so large, my bladder has no control, and the pressure is too much. Even walking is hard. I have an abundance amount of energy that is slowly building up , making me feel like I’m going to burst. I feel like a chipmunk, as if I have acorns sitting in each cheek. And, these feelings don’t emit self-confidence or make me feel beautiful in any way, shape, or form either.
My clothes. I realize this is only temporary, but these past several weeks I have decided to not invest in larger maternity clothes. Instead, I would rotate and wear the two shirts I have to get me through the remainder of my pregnancy. I have a gray t-shirt for the casual look, a black t-shirt for the dressier look, and leggings for either. Unfortunately, two Saturday’s ago when my husband and I went out for Italian food, I dripped oil on my black t-shirt. Impossible to get oil out, so the stain remains. Nevertheless, I have never been so anxious to put on “real” clothes again, have more of a variety to my wardrobe, and not have to wear oversized, extra large apparel.
This past Saturday night my husband and I went out again. Back to that black t-shirt. Shit, you could see the oil stain from the previous Saturday, but I didn’t have much of a choice. I put it on, attempted to dry my hair, passed on wearing makeup (because what was the point?), and got in the car. We were seated, and my husband looked at me in all seriousness, and said, “You look pretty tonight, bear.” I looked at him, and just couldn’t help but laugh. Pretty? Me? I am a fat, oversized, acne-covered, tired, irritable, and ugly wife. Was he senile? He had to be. But, I smiled, and smiled big. Whether or not he actually thought it, he said it, and it was the best thing I could have ever heard at such a low point.
Sometimes, we need to hear these things from the people who mean the most to us. And, his appearance has hardly changed since I’ve met him. He doesn’t look like a beat up, gray-haired, tired, screaming or stressed parent. I realize I may sound dramatic, but these are real feelings that go through my head as a mother to two who are under five years old, and expecting my third any moment now. His one small comment meant the world to me. So, husbands, wives, spouses… whether you believe it or not… tell your partner how great they look. It will go further than you can imagine.