It’s true: everything changes when you become a mother. Simply put, it’s not your story anymore, it’s theirs. However, in doing so, we make sacrifices to prioritize our children. Everything from aspirations to self-esteem and mental health take their toll. And while these are worth sacrificing, these issues cannot be neglected either.
The most noticeable change a mother experiences is with her body. During pregnancy, developing stretch marks became a source of insecurity. Subsequently, the C-section delivery filled me with discouragement. I felt as if my own body failed me and I was denied a normal delivery. The six inches of scar tissue will never go away. And I resented my body, for how I looked. I wore clothes to hide the shame, feeling I was nothing short of ugly underneath. I had lost the confidence that made me feel so strong and beautiful.
I hated myself in photos or reflections. Low self-esteem turned into binge-eating, sleeplessness, and overworking. Self-care was a bottom priority, and my overall health declined. That’s when I decided that my son deserves a healthy mother.
I returned to healthy food and exercise, and struggled with consistency. But the results were there, and so was my confidence. Fear of photographs turned into post-workout selfies. Self-loathing at reflections turned into wearing skinny jeans and makeup because I wanted to, and could. However hard it’s been, I started falling in love with myself again.
I’ve accepted that my body will never be the same again, but I’ve learned to love who I’ve become because of it. I love self-care and overall, feeling healthy. I want to be there for all my son’s moments. And I can’t do it without living sustainably.
People expect selflessness from motherhood. But I realized you can’t give love without loving yourself first. You cannot give what you do not have. My name is Shiela Pambuan, and I bring my self-love and sustainability to Modela Filipina, as an emblem for any woman who chooses to carry these pieces. Shie Pambuan Co-founder of a Digital Marketing Agency Mentor and Quality Coach to Virtual Assistants Entrepreneur