After I had a baby, I felt the ugliest I've ever been.
Isn't that strange? And sort of sad?
I'd done something so amazing, so miraculous, and yet I felt mangled and frazzled and dumpy. My husband would leave for work in the morning, kissing the pale, freckly face of a frizzy-haired, sleep-chasing, confused new mum.
I was always wearing wrinkled pajamas with only one button done up, in the interests of quieting a hungry baby quickly at all hours of the night. No cute shorts or sexy lingerie.
My hair, which usually needs at least some attention each day lest I look like the bus driver from South Park with birds and leaves sticking out of it, was wild and wooly and everywhere.
I mourned the loss of whatever was in my boobs that made them not look like deflated balloons.
I mourned the once-smooth and stretch-mark-free skin of my stomach.
Now, seven months later, I've found the ability to play up what's cute, and hide what's still sorting itself out, post-birth.
Nobody told me that all the muscles in my thighs and butt would lose all tone.
Nobody told me that stitches in your nether regions are freaky and stuff takes a while to get back to a new normal.
I know I'm still too skinny. I know that my stomach skin will never be the same, and it will sort of still look like a front bum for a while yet. I know that it's weird I have dark spots in my belly button from when my stomach got a tan in the last few months of pregnancy.
I know that my thighs are wobbly and I'm conscious of them squishing and squelching and looking lumpy when I sit down in shorts. And how just above my knee is a little loose halo of flab.
But I also know that I have the power to work on them and get them back to a reasonable amount of tone.
Same with my butt.
Same with my tuckshop lady arms.
I know, too, that I don't have to if I don't want to. Or I can do it when I'm ready. It's only been seven months.
I also know that my mirror looks dirty, but I assure you it's not. It's just old :)
I love my body for what it's done, what it's yet to do and what it does every day.
I love that it's mine and I can do what I like with it.
Today I'm linking up with Carly at We Heart Life for I Heart My Body 2011.
Tomorrow is the day to show your stuff and be proud of your body, in whatever package it comes in.
Take a photo of yourself - whatever you're comfortable with. Put it on your blog.
Share your story about your body image issues - but share what you love, too.
Go and link up tomorrow, Saturday October 29. Support all the other bodies putting their skin and their soul out there in blogland, to help remind us all that we're beautiful.
We only get one body. We have to learn to love it.