I’ve wanted to post this photo for a couple of months now (there is something so timeless about it), but was hesitant.
I’d ask myself, “Does it show too much? Will it make people uncomfortable?” But becoming a mother has changed me in more ways than expected... Particularly one. And so here we are.
I had been insecure about my body since puberty. I wished my skin was darker, my chest bigger, my legs more tone, my features more defined, and my hair fuller. In a society where sex sells, with many women feeding into it, and many men basking in it, I felt I didn’t quite fit the mold. Then my faith happened and I began to understand that I was worthy of love just for being. The Catholic faith guides us to turn from lust, reorienting our passions toward God. When we ask God to perfect our passions, we can begin to see one another for the whole person and not primarily as objects for pleasure. This helped as I surrounded myself with people committed to spreading the Gospel and living purity in their own lives. I’m thankful to each one of you.
And yet I still felt that I wasn’t quite pretty enough. If only my skin were one shade darker... My eyes and legs a little more defined. If only I could afford that outfit...
Then we found out I was pregnant with Ilija. To my surprise, I started checking myself out constantly, rejoicing in every pound gained, amazed at what my body was doing. I made sure to eat relatively well so I wouldn’t gain unhealthy or unnecessarily, but I loved watching my body change and grow. On September 11th Ilija entered the world (birth story still to come!). I was naked with 6 people in the room and couldn’t have cared less. Ilija was put on my chest and I could see him stretching his neck, looking for food. My midwife placed him strategically near my breast and he started eating. Giving birth and the aftermath has been the most vulnerably beautiful experience of my life.
I no longer think of my body in terms of what it lacks, because it lacks nothing. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I hardly wear makeup anymore, and it’s not because I don’t have time; I love my naked face. I dress modestly (usually in the same two skirts!) not to hide a body I am ashamed of, but to glorify God by treasuring a body I am proud to have.
I look at this photo that I've been debating whether to share and don’t feel it displays anything to lust over. I think it exemplifies purity and the beauty of life and creation. I hope you think so, too.
Ilija wakes up once each night to eat, and it’s my favorite time; the world around us sleeps and it’s just my son and I. I reflect on the words of Jesus and what the Mass calls to mind each day: “This is my body, given up for you.”
God bless you today and always,