Most of my life I have picked my self apart or allow what other people said or thought about me impact how I viewed myself. I have always been told I was very pretty and had a smile that would light up a room but I couldn’t see it. Even though my parents reassured me life situations can have an dramatic effect on how a person view themselves.
As a little girl I remember getting teased because of my big eyes and lips. I would always say maybe if my eyes were a lighter shade of brown or green no one would notice. Not realizing that my eyes were a perfect shade of brown and those big beautiful eyes would one day attract the man I call my husband. As a pre-teen/teen the other girls body begin to develop except mine. Oh how I wished for breast. I thought because I didn’t have breast I wasn’t as pretty as other girls. In my family breast, thick thighs, and curvy hips ran deep. All I needed was to be patient, continue loving and seeing the beauty I possessed. Here again I was focused on others opinion not my own. Let me tell you, when that Coca-Cola body hit me I was a PYT (Pretty Young Thang). Finally in my mind I was beautiful. I grew into my eyes and lips. I had a nice figure and was my peers' definition of pretty and attractive.
Years past, I meet my husband the end of our junior year of high school. We dated for a while and got married in 2006. In February 2007, I gave birth to our first child- a beautiful baby girl. My body changed. I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy. During labor I ended up having an emergency C-section where I was cut in two different places. In 2009, we had our second child, a son, and I had a repeat C-section. Giving birth for me brought a physical and mental change. Physically it seemed as though my body took on a entirely new shape and form. My 16 oz coke body changed into a 2 liter. I was left with scars and what doctors call a mommy pouch because of how much my stomach stretched at the bottom from both pregnancies. This was new to me. Mentally I felt unattractive and for years I wouldn’t let my husband see me completely undressed. I would make sure the lights were off and I was somewhat covered while love making. I wouldn’t really be in the mood for anything. I would be depressed and didn’t want to go out the house. I would go to the grocery store and a department store only if I had to. My mom or one of my sisters would come by and ask me to go out shopping with them and my response would be, "oh the kids are messy" or "I need to clean up" or "I don’t have anything to wear". My family began to notice and one of my sisters would always say, ”girl you are beautiful.“
As time went by I would get better about it. Working-out, losing some weight but never really seeing myself as God made and sees me. My daughter started to get a little older and loved to dress up. One day I overheard her playing with her dolls acting like me. She said, “ugh I don’t like the way I look“. I couldn’t believe it and I immediately went and talked with her about loving herself. Even though she was playing with her toys she was imitating me. I decided to always speak positive about myself in front of her and always tell how beautiful, loved, and valued she is. Time passed and I began to make changes on the outside starting with being more open with my husband as far as undressing and allowing him to see me unclothe in addition to maintaining a healthier lifestyle.
I still had to deal with how I felt on the inside. I would still say little things about myself like “fat”, or make remarks about my stomach or if someone gave me a compliment about my weight I would say” I still have a long way to go or I’m trying”. Never thank you or anything positive. I didn’t know how to accept a compliment. I began to pray and ask God to help me love and see myself as he does. As I continuously prayed, he began to take out the negative and pour in the positive. I had changed and didn’t even realize it until one Sunday my family came to a Christmas program at my church and I had on a ugly sweater and a big reindeer antler headband. After service we all went shopping and my sister made a comment about something she had on and my dad said “It’s ok, look at Neika she has that sweater and big antler on her head. She don’t care”. At the very moment I realize I didn’t care what anyone else thought! I was comfortable and felt amazingly beautiful that day! God did it! He delivered me from low self-esteem and gave me a new love for myself! I still have goals I’m reaching with my weight journey but I’ve learned to love my body through the process. I love my big beautiful eyes and lips. I’m working hard getting rid of this mommy pouch as they call it but no longer hiding or ashamed of it. I’ve learned that NO other opinion is more valuable than my own. I know that I am uniquely and wonderful made. Marvelous is His works. To all the women that are reading this you matter and remember always beYOUtiful!