Just before I graduated high school, I got this amazing idea: chop off all of your hair (think Mandy Moore c. 2003). Ashamedly, I did not have Locks of Love in mind. No, I was entirely selfish.
I wanted a new start.
You see, hair has always been my calling card. I have never dyed or treated my hair and somehow – by the blessing of God – I maintained golden locks for the first three decades of my life.
My mother’s experience, however, would foreshadow my own: blonde until babies. And, right on time, I gradually lost my sun-kissed signature hair in the years following childbirth.
But it was impossible for me to predict the other changes that were simultaneously emerging – the widening hips, the spider veins, and the wrinkles.
The ugly years, without my consent, had arrived.
No woman – no matter her self-esteem – wants to talk about the dark side of a mother’s physical identity.
The baby weight doesn’t melt away.
The skin that stretches never completely returns.
And your eyes may no longer see a body worthy of love.
For myself, a slender shape is home. An active lifestyle and healthy diet have enabled me to successfully fight my genetic predisposition to obesity. But in these years post-Babyland, the battleground is increasingly threatening.
[Insert work-life chaos, birthday parties, and emotional eating here]
And, if I’m honest, sometimes depression knocks. The hardest period for me has been the year after each of my children were born. Underneath my well-worn and permanently stained clothing, I no longer felt confident. At many points, I simply tried to hide.
I would argue that there are few things more damaging to a mother’s psyche.
But just yesterday, after months of putting it off, I moved forward and got my locks cut. In my reflection now stands a woman with a short, dark blonde bob.
I am not naïve enough to believe that a haircut can change your life, but I think there is power in accepting the woman you become in motherhood. Maybe it takes three months, three years, or three decades.
But, if you can learn to love yourself after the pregnancies, after the laboring, and after the inevitable sag, you have my respect.
And though the ugly years may come, they don’t have to remain.
One Year Ago: Grand Answers