Courtesy of Lindsay Christinee

Motherhood Gave Me The Confidence To Be Myself, & Feel Good In My Own Skin

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My darling daughter, I never could have guessed that by loving you, the love that I have for myself would only grow.

Whenever you hear a mother talk about the joys of motherhood, she’ll gush about how much she loves her child. She’ll light up as she tells you about her baby’s first smile or first word. You’ll hear about sleepless nights, but also how amazing it is to see them sleeping soundly. Being a mother brings so much love into our lives, yet we rarely hear about the other way that motherhood expands our hearts — by allowing mothers to love themselves more fully.

I wasn’t prepared for the influx of self-love that came from being a mom. I had only heard about the stories of sleepless nights and adorable newborns. The other side of it — having more compassion for myself — was totally unexpected. But looking back, it makes sense — because the best way to love another person is to fully love yourself.

I became pregnant in my late twenties. At the time, I thought I loved myself. I marched around in my heels with confidence, but the constant swirl of New York’s fashion industry and my competitive nature were the perfect fuel for self-doubt and insecurities. The self-worth I did feel was built upon fashion week invites, designer samples, and a social media feed full of check-ins at exotic destinations.

It was all focused on external things. When I didn’t have a flashy ‘look at me’ photo or an impressive story to tell, I didn’t feel good about myself. Even when I did have a cool photo, all I thought about was the person next to me who was more beautiful, wealthier, and more accomplished.

Then, I gave birth. Like any mother, I was overcome by a sea of emotions. I was in awe of what my body could do. I felt responsible for a new life. And all the love I felt for my daughter made me reflect on the love I felt for myself. Looking down at that tiny human, I thought about how perfect she was. During our bonding moments — splashing water during bath time, exchanging smiles during stories, even wrapping her in the same brand of Pampers Swaddlers diapers that my mom used for me — I was overcome by how much I loved every dimple, every smile, every inch of her.

Then it dawned on me: If I could see the perfection in her, why couldn’t I see my own? If she didn’t have to have a high-profile job or be invited to cool events to be loved, why did I? Perhaps the most burning question of all was how could I raise a confident woman who loves herself unconditionally if I wasn't setting an example?

I love my daughter too much to raise her to believe that love is conditional. I would never tell her that her bank account, wardrobe, or front-row seat at a fashion show would make me love her more. It sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud. Yet, that was how I loved myself. I realized that if I were going to raise a confident, intelligent woman, then I had to lead by example.

Photos: Courtesy of Lindsay Christinee. Design: Allison Gore/Romper.

No one told me that seeing my daughter in her diapers would make me love myself more. Seeing her do her little bending-knee dance reminded me of the images my mom showed me, swaddled in the same diapers and in the same love. My mom loves me unconditionally and raised me to love others and myself. I wanted to give that to my daughter and truly lead by example.

After I came to this realization, the rotating wardrobe was still there, albeit with the addition of a baby wrap sling. I was still present at Fashion Week, but I turned down tickets to fly to other city’s fashion weeks. My social media photos were still cool, but my focus became more about spreading love than about impressing people with a status update.

We can see an innocent, helpless baby as perfect. So why can’t we say the same for ourselves? When I stopped looking at the external for my self-worth, I learned to truly accept and love myself for simply being me, which has truly been one of the great joys of motherhood.

This post is sponsored by Pampers.