I’m not one to be overly dramatic. Wait, that came out wrong. I love drama. I don’t like causing drama, but in my opinion, people who “hate drama” are usually in the middle of something. I’m over on the sidelines just watching. Waiting. Eating snacks.
This is a story that I have felt compelled to share so many times, and it’s going to sound a bit dramatic but hang in there, I promise it will be worth the read. (If that doesn’t inspire confidence, I’m just not sure what will.)
I have always loved fashion. Clothes are fun. Whether or not you like it, whether or not you choose to believe it, how you dress directly represents the image you choose to give to people. That’s how you view yourself. This is something people rebel against, but your style is your calling card. People will sum you up by how you look. I choose to give them a lot to look at! I love colors, I love great prints, and I love bold, sparkly pieces and accessories.
Being pregnant was so much fun. You can wear anything! No need to suck it in, no need for spanx, maternity leggings and jeans are amazing – I loved my pregnancy style. If you put in minimal effort and throw on some booties and a great scarf, you’re up there with pregnant-Blake Lively. High-praise.
Then all of a sudden, you’re home. Newborn baby. Trying to breastfeed. Pumping when you’re not breastfeeding. Stuck in bed all day. Loving it, but consumed. Finally, you’re a bit more mobile. You’ve recovered. Your body’s probably still a mess (can I get an amen?) but you’re up.
Suddenly, it’s four months after my son is born and I wake up and realize that I’ve been wearing the same. three. shirts. You know the ones. Comfy. Oversized. Long-sleeve. Pockets in the front. (POCKETS. WHY DO I NEED A POCKET ON MY SHIRT.) Dark blue. Dark red. Grey. Yoga pants that don’t fit.
Listen. I love being a mom. I’ve found a love I never knew I had or could have or would have, etc. (Sorry, husband. Love you too but come on, have you seen our kid? He’s amazing!) I didn’t feel like I “lost” myself, but all of a sudden, the one thing I had always loved – getting dressed, picking out stuff to wear – that feeling was gone.
No one talks about that. (Here’s the dramatic part!) Thankfully, we’ve gotten SO much better as a society about talking about the BIG issues. Post-partum depression. Mental health. Removing stigmas. I was very aware of those things. Making sure I ate, felt “good”, but no one prepared me for that feeling of losing my “style”. I felt confident but I looked in my closet and wondered who “new-mom-Kelly” was. Where was she?
It was a huge shock to my system. I count my lucky stars that this was my big shock, it could have been so much worse. I just wish someone would have prepared me to feel that way, as silly as it may seem. Your world does change when you have a kid (obviously) but there really are things I wasn’t expecting. Cue: Good friends.
I’ve always been an advocate for strong female friendships, for buying local, supporting other women, etc. My friend started selling LulaRoe so I took some of my birthday money, my Old Navy oversized shirt and my 4-month-old and scooted over to a party at her house. That small interaction, that tiny shopping experience, that little bit of social fun was just the thing. I was excited about getting dressed. I put away the maternity leggings (so sad!) and bought some structured jeans (still from Old Navy but old habits die hard!). That experience helped me find myself.
A few months later, I started the Atkins diet with the help and guidance of my dad, an expert on the subject, and lost some weight. Now, I’m feeling strong, empowered and ready for baby #2! Kidding. Not really. What was the question?
If you made it to the end of this post, thank you for sharing this journey. I just realized there were so many topics people don’t talk about, because we are all focused on the really big issues. That’s great! It’s so amazing to see that we are finally breaking barriers and talking about things that matter. I guess my whole point is this – if you know of a new momma, check on her. Don’t just ask how she’s doing, ask how she’s feeling. Ask if she wants to go shopping, if someone can take the precious babe. Maybe pick something up for her, like a fun top or some amazingly comfy (but stylish) sandals (I have these and I SWEAR they are amazing). Grab a lightweight scarf or a fashionable teething necklace.
And moms – be kind to yourself. Don’t hate your new body (been there, it doesn’t help!). Look at what you did! You’re amazing! Take your time. Eat. Enjoy life. Rest. Snuggle that baby. The dishes can wait. Heal. Don’t rush yourself to work out, make ten smoothies and meal prep. Love on that baby. Take care of yourself and that amazing miracle, do what makes you feel good. When you’re ready, that diet will be there. The gym will still be there. (I choose to ignore the gym, but you know – to each her own!)
We have to be better about sharing our stories and our experiences, so that when they happen to other people, we’re not left feeling so alone.
My friend asked me to model some clothes for her online boutique and I did it. It felt so empowering. It’s amazing how far I’ve come in a year – my son is thriving (and walking!), my husband is working on starting his own business, and I feel like a whole new me, thanks to great friends and people who weren’t afraid of answering my weird questions, even if they were really late at night with the sounds of a breast pump in the background.
To my tribe – thank you. It takes a village. It takes a fierce, female, empowered tribe.