June 26th, 2012
I blame it on my brothers. Actually, I blame a lot of things on my brothers. It’s just easier that way. But what am I specifically talking about here?
Well, I’ve noticed lately that I don’t like to pamper myself or to cry. Brothers don’t really let you do anything like that without incessant taunting and teasing. If you ask my husband, he’ll agree that I’m extremely low maintenance. Again, something that I HAD to be if I wanted to survive my childhood. But it’s not always a good thing. I really noticed it while Dave was gone for 3 months last summer. I was overwhelmed and stress, but would not let myself cry about it. Why would I? It was temporary. He was safe. I saw him occasionally. There was nothing to cry about. People deal with much harder situations than this.
When I became pregnant, I didn’t really feel any excess emotions. I noticed some little things, but nothing I couldn’t control. But then it all hit me at once.
I felt like a blob. A true, nasty, ugly blob. My skin wouldn’t stop breaking out, none of my clothes fit, it was too hot to run, my hair was in the midst of the awkward pixie-cut grow out… I just felt nasty. Combine that with the hormones (that I thought were mild) and I truly didn’t know what to do with myself.
Don’t cry, Abby. All of these things you are feeling a shallow and superficial. Who cares if your skin looks like crap? You’re growing a baby. Your hair will grow out–it’s temporary. And your clothes? Well, that’s the baby too. GET. OVER. IT.
But the more I stifled it, the worse I felt. And of course, the more your bottle something up, the more likely it is to explode. And explode it did. In the car after church one Sunday when Dave turned off the AC while I was hot. Who knew that would bring on the water works?
And after I cried (all afternoon) I realized that even though my situation hadn’t changed, I felt a lot better. It was around that time that I also realized that spending some time and money to pamper myself was okay, too. Dave took pity on me and bought me some maternity clothes, I got my hair trimmed up, and one of my friends who is a PA at a dermatology clinic sent me some products that are safe for pregnant women. I was so touched by everyone’s thoughtfulness that I wanted to cry (tears of gratefulness, of course).
Now, as I mentioned before, my situation wasn’t immediately fixed, but I did realize a few things that I think are applicable to a lot of different seasons of life:
1) Contrary to what my brothers may have told me when I was younger, crying doesn’t mean I’m weak. It’s a natural release that is necessary for dealing with emotions. It only becomes a problem when you can’t stop and move on. I let myself cry for a little, then I went on with my life. Crying helps my emotions, but it doesn’t fix my problems.
2) Pampering myself doesn’t mean I’m selfish or prideful. Again, being the only girl in the family of boys I think I got too used to hand-me-downs and dirt. Being “girly” wasn’t much of an option. And my biggest fear was to be told that I “threw like a girl” (and I’m happy to report that I don’t). But especially in this season of my life, I need a little pampering. I am doing hard work right now. Yes it’s natural, and yes, I realize that millions and millions of women have done it before, but they all deserve recognition and a little bit of pampering. This is a huge life change and, well, I don’t really like change. And, unlike some women, I was perfectly content with my pre-pregnancy life (that does not mean that I didn’t want to be pregnant–it just means that I was content). So pampering within reason to make me proud and happy to be creating this new life? Totally okay!
3) God blesses and comforts you when you most need it, even if you don’t deserve it. I kept telling myself that I was being proud and materialistic to be upset about my physical appearance. And maybe I was to a certain extent, but God still provided (through family and friends) those things that would make me feel better: clothes and effective face wash. They are little things, and certainly no necessary to my physical or spiritual well being, but they helped.
I don’t look like a fashion model by any means. My skin still needs some improvement, my hair still has growing to do, and well, I’m not getting any thinner. But my attitude has improved. I feel refreshed and I actually am happy to be wearing maternity pants (and maxi skirts and dresses! they don’t pinch my love handles). It’s true that attitude is everything, but sometimes attitude needs a little help through pampering.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
Have you ever experienced any situations where the best solution was to cry? Are you a cryer or do you suppress it?
-Growing up, crying was my first response to anything disagreeable. But that put me in many awkward and embarrassing situations. In high school I developed the bad habit to suppress my need to cry. Now I pretty much only cry when I’m angry or extremely upset.