What I see.

A few mornings ago, we went to one of our favorite local hiking places, the Cedar Ridge Preserve, and my friend Erin took this photo.  Norah was hamming it up all morning, while Luci Belle and her pal Lawson (Erin's daughter) skipped along the mulched trails together.  Right before we crossed over the familiar bridge on which we've photographed our children multiple times, Erin told me to stop and turn so she could take a photo of Norah in the backpack.   When I saw it, I realized it was probably the first full-body photo of myself postpartum where I thought, "I really like how I look."

Is it because I have the perfect hair, clothes, or makeup?  Absolutely not.

Is it because I've lost all my "baby weight"?  No, hardly.  I probably have 20+ pounds to go.

Is it because it was staged to make me look good in the moment?  No, I didn't even realize I was in the photo until later.

I like this photo because when I look at it, I see a strong woman. 

I see a mama who loves to carry her babies and tries to get them outdoors to soak in the sunshine and fresh air. 

I see a woman who is becoming stronger everyday. 

I see a woman who is continuing to find peace with her body through all its changes. 

Most of all, I see a sweet, happy, dependent baby who could care less what size her mother is - there's just love.

It's so easy to be hard on ourselves, especially after our bodies have done - and are doing - the most remarkable thing: growing, birthing, and caring for little ones.   But today, I feel a little more kindness towards myself.  And that's progress.