A couple of days ago, our little family was on our way out for a walk when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and had to stop to take in what I was seeing. I was wearing a sweater, jeans, and running shoes. That’s right, running shoes. And not the cool, Skechers kind of running shoes, but actual, white, running shoes. Like, for running.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend over a cup of tea, soon after I found out I was pregnant. I distinctly remember telling her that I didn’t want to become one of “those women” whose sense of style goes out the window when she has a baby. I insisted that I wanted to continue to dress in a way that made me look and feel good, and that having a baby wasn’t going to change that. And my darling friend told me exactly what I wanted to here: “Of course you can! You can wear whatever you want. You’ll be fabulous!”
And for a while there in my pregnancy, I was. But I started to change my tune after I gained about 10lbs. Heels were replaced with flats, skinny jeans were replaced with sweat pants, and my flat iron was replaced with an elastic band. And it never stopped.
By the end of my pregnancy, I was carrying around an extra 22lbs on my 5’0″ frame, and felt that I couldn’t wear anything but the flattest of shoes and the comfiest of clothes. I told myself that once Amira was born, I’d shed the weight, strap Amira on and get right back to who I was before. Oh Lordy, was I wrong.
First, there was the breastfeeding. I spent all of last summer wearing shirts that were conducive to feeding her, on demand, as discreetly as I could. That means I spent the entire summer, and the early part of the fall, wearing only nursing shirts. Of course, I knew I wouldn’t nurse forever, so I only bought a handful, and wore them over and over. And over.
And of course, there was a baby to carry. So there went my high heels for the summer. I was terrified of wearing them and tripping while I had her in my arms, so the Birkenstocks won, and the cute cork wedge sandals were relegated to the back of the closet for another season.
And aside from wearing what was functional, there was the matter of time. There was simply no time. There was no time to eat, no time to shower, no time to sleep, no time to think. I’ve heard it before: “If you’re going to put on clothes anyway, it doesn’t take any extra time to put on something nice.” But really, it does. In the time it took to think, “Does this match? Does this look good? Does this still fit??”, I’d already thrown on yoga pants and a sweatshirt and was out the door.
Fast forward to today. Amira is 10 months old, and though she isn’t self-sufficient by any means, there is a little more room to breathe than there was last summer. There is time now to think about what I wear. But dressing this way is just so easy. It’s so easy to throw on jeans and a sweater. It’s so easy to throw on yoga pants and a hoodie. And the running shoes. Those ugly white running shoes. They are so practical, and so comfortable, and so so easy.
But they’re not me. And that’s the crux of it all. Yes, they’re easy. But when I look in the mirror, I don’t know who I am anymore. I only know one part of what I am: Mummy. And though that is so much of me, and that title now lives in every cell of my body, it’s still not everything. The pre-Mummy Fahrin is in there somewhere. I see her disdain in my eyes every time I catch a glimpse of those running shoes in a mirror or shop window.
And so, as the weather warms up, and the sun shines more, I will have it shine on a bit of the old me. I’ll take the time to put something on besides a sweater. Maybe I’ll even accessorize with a scarf or a bracelet. I’ll paint my nails and put on mascara. I’ll pull out a different pair of shoes, and even if they’re not heels, they will not be rubber-soled, lace-up, white leather running shoes. They will be pretty and fun and they will say gently to me as I slip them on, “Yes, you’re a Mummy. But you’re also a person, whole and complete all on your own. Show that person to the world.”
Because, like my mascara says, I’m worth it.