I was busy at work today, which was an excellent distraction from some weather-related pain and a major emotional sting.
This afternoon — along with a whole lot of the rest of the world — I saw the pictures of Prince William, Kate and the new baby. Only my reaction was different than most. I was stuck on this picture of the family on the steps of the Lindo Wing (Thanks, People.com), and another one I saw of Kate carrying the baby as she walked down a hallway toward the exit (click through the slide show and you’ll know the one I mean. Thanks, BBC).
What did you notice? Their smiling faces? What about her shoes? According to the article on People’s website, they are a pair of wedges that she wears often. She carried her baby, while wearing wedges and walking down a hallway and then down steps. And she was so happy.
This is going to sound dramatic, but when I started this blog I promised to be as honest as I could. Those pictures reminded me of everything I hate about my body, everything that was awful about my own birth experience. I wore heals once when my son was five months old, and soon after that my pain at my symphysis increased dramatically. The separated pelvis I sustained during childbirth had to be repaired with a titanium plate and six screws. All of my heals and wedges have been donated to Goodwill because every time I tried to wear them recently I wished I hadn’t.
Those images of that perfectly normal family made me think: I am such a failure. I wanted to sob and scream and make someone answer the question: “Why couldn’t we have a picture like that?” We never get that back. We never get another chance. That sting may never go away.
I know, intellectually, that I am not a failure. Nothing that happened to me was because of a failure of any kind on my part. And I have proven that I am not willing to fail. I am so much better physically now and I can do virtually everything I need to do to take care of and play with my son. I am lucky. But it doesn’t change the fact that I hate my physical self. I hate my body and it seems like no matter what I do I can’t shake it. I want to feel good about me so badly and I just can’t. I feel good about other things — external things. I feel good about how much my son laughs and all of the amazing things he is doing, how much my husband loves me, how much my friends and family do to show they care. But I don’t feel good about me.
I’m stuck in a melancholy place. I am a positive person by nature so I am trying to focus on those things that do make me happy. But until I can look in the mirror and see something — someone — to really be proud of that is an immense challenge. My dad used to tell me “All you can do is the best you can do.” To that end, I am going to pledge to myself that I will make time to workout everyday until I feel good about my physical body again. Even if it is just making time to stretch, I will make my body a priority and give myself permission to spend time on that priority.
To Kate I say this: I am so happy that you and your son are physically healthy and ready for what awaits you. You have an opportunity that every mother – and her baby – deserves. Make the most of these early days. There are things that are going to be hard because they are hard for everyone, but lean on the support system you have and find your way through it. I wish you and your family all health, happiness and hopefulness.
One more thing about the new prince. Did you see this photo of him in his carseat about to head home to Kensington Palace? (It’s No. 9 in the slide show. Thanks, CNN, for going nuts on the human interest stuff lately.)
I have no idea about British traffic law, but there is no way an American family of any stature would have been able to leave the hospital with a baby so improperly strapped in. SERIOUSLY, that five-point harness cannot do its job with all of that receiving blanket in the way.
I guess it proves money and stature have nothing to do with common sense. It’s unfortunate that ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE would have seen the baby strapped in like that and no one said something. Is this normal over there? What if there had been an accident on the way home? I just hope someone sets them straight sooner rather than later.
Need information about proper child safety seat usage? Check out the wealth of information from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.