For the past few years, I have been on a self-confidence journey, and while the first few years were unsuccessful this past summer was a game-changer. After spending the last 5 years, wishing I had darker skin or curlier hair (as proof that I really am Black) I decided that the summer of 2021 was my time to work on myself and finally see myself the way others did. Following 4 grueling months of confidence-building and putting myself out there I was finally at a place where I was whole-heartedly content with myself. I no longer looked in the mirror and wished for different skin, or thicker hair as the Savannah I saw in the mirror was the one that made me happy. This was something even my mom could vouch for as I know we both agreed I was back to my old self – the self before all the bad things happened. So, each morning I would wake up and do my beauty routine, exercise, and do things that were generally just good for me. And it really paid off - as my inner light was finally beginning to shine on the outside. I was proud of myself and the confidence I gained, and it was refreshing to see all my hard work pay off.
And then I got pregnant – that’s where everything changed. I slowly started to feel tired and less like myself which caused me to put less effort into how I looked. I stopped going to the gym and lost all the progress I had made. To put it plainly; it has sucked. My skin is no longer smooth and while my hair looks nice, I can’t be bothered to style it because that involves work, which I don’t want to do. After months of hard work, I am back to the person I was before last summer – a person I swore I would never be again. Day in and day out I feel angst about the changes my body is going through. I strive to be one of the strong, Black, and beautiful pregnant women you would see online but somehow, I feel as though I am coming up short. Very short at that. It’s hard not to wonder if I will ever have the glow Kerry Washington and Gabrielle Union had throughout their pregnancies or if that is an unattainable image. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying I hate my body or want to be ‘skinny’, in fact, I love the amazing things pregnancy is doing. The downside is that I’m struggling to wrap my head around the idea that it will change and not go back to what it once was in the blink of an eye. This is not a new phenomenon, in fact, this is an issue I’m sure many pregnant women past and present have and will deal with. While this is something I am currently battling I hope to change the narrative for myself and other Black women. Carrying a baby is the priority – which means we shouldn’t feel shame for not getting off the couch all day or eating some McDonald’s because at the end of the day as long as the baby is getting nutrients and we are both healthy, nothing else should matter.
But what is this ideal image? The first thing that comes to mind is the numerous articles that have been written about Rihanna and how she ‘absolutely slays’ her pregnancy. But how is that fair to the rest of us? I mean I’m Black and so is she, but why is hers glamorized yet mine (like many other women’s) is probably viewed as disastrous (messy hair, tired eyes, (insert any other side effect of pregnancy)). To be honest, I don’t think there is a difference. If I was a betting woman, I would say that while Ms. Rihanna has her fancy days (just like I) she also has plenty of days where she can’t keep her hands out of the Cheetos bag or stays in her pajamas all day. And you know what? That is okay. We are all women, who are doing the super cool and amazing thing of bringing life into the world and it’s time we stop comparing ourselves to something we may or may not be able to attain. Because I can guarantee you, in a room full of pregnant women she is wishing your bump was hers and you hope to have her hair.
Sincerely- the not so teen mom