Leah Robert, March 2021
Leah Robert's Story Behind Beauty
Phases of life are a funny thing. When you’re younger, the phases consist of school, careers, living on your own for the first time, falling in love and all those things you mark your life in. At 35 years old, the past three years have been a phase of my life that I have loved. As I have watched my three year old daughter, Lucy, grow, it’s been pretty amazing but if I’m being honest, it’s been really hard, too... really friggin’ hard actually. She is spirited like her Mama and it makes life interesting, that’s for sure. But as I had become more comfortable as a mother, it was easier for me to get back into running, prioritizing my health, pouring myself into the things that make me feel beautiful. In October, 2019 I ran my PR in my 4th marathon and felt strong and loved the way my body looked. It took me a good three years after Lucy was born, but I worked HARD -- working with a running coach, waking up at 5am everyday to workout before work. I LOVED it and enjoyed that ME time that all Mom’s should have.
Leah running with friends this past year.
Being active, independent and confident has something I have always prided myself in. When I have a balance of these three things, I am a better person, mom and wife, the last two being roles that are a priority in my life. Don’t confuse confidence with being vain. Confidence is not giving a shit what others’ opinions may be of me, because like what I once heard (and loved hearing) is other people’s opinions of you is none of your business. I’m a marathon runner and actually ran my 4th marathon this past fall when I was 8 weeks pregnant, something that I think is pretty badass! I can’t wait to tell baby #2 about it someday! Independent is something that I think both my husband and I are. We both have our hobbies and are both very busy, career oriented people who enjoy family time, but also need our alone time. I am now 8 months pregnant with my second child. This is one of those phases of life, a way to mark the time… and some of the things that make me feel whole, are already taking a backseat to the important things going on in pregnancy and early motherhood. I find myself struggling again, looking ahead of what’s to come --giving birth and what having babies does to your body. Once again, independence is being taken away. The “Me Time” that I have worked into my current life will have to be retooled to make room for another human being. The things that make me feel beautiful and strong and badass, will have to go on the backburner for a specific, undetermined amount of time. Most women don’t talk about this or at least it’s not a conversation that I’ve had with a lot of my friends. Do we talk about how women sacrifice bits and pieces of themselves in this stage of life? The effects of new motherhood and motherhood in the early years, can really take a toll on self worth and the way that we see ourselves.
In and of itself, pregnancy is hard, though admittedly harder for some more than others. Pregnancy is one of those things that you don’t want to complain about too much because we feel lucky to be pregnant and honestly, does anyone really care when they ask you how you’re feeling? I suspect only to a point haha. But if we’re being honest, your body changes for that period of time, sometimes permanently. Your once strong body may be struggling as it grows a baby. And for me, this pregnancy has been difficult. It’s been more difficult in some physical aspects but I think I’m struggling the most with the mental aspects. I told my husband the other day that I can totally see how resentment grows in a marriage as one partner continues to do all the things they normally would while the other is dealing with the physical and mental effects of pregnancy and then postpartum. Don’t get me wrong, I urge him to continue to do his “happy things” because if roles were reversed he would urge me to do the same. It’s just hard. And add to that the body changes. I’m swelling in places that you had NO IDEA could swell like that, varicose veins coming out of places I didn’t even realize could happen and your boobs getting so large and tender that you begin to wonder if you are ever going to go back to normal. These changes are worth it, because let me tell you my daughter is the most beautiful thing I have ever created. She has made me a better person, but again, It doesn’t make it easier when you’re going through it. Not being able to enjoy my passion and love for running again has hit me more mentally. I remember one morning after a long run Lucy asked me why I ran. I told her it's because it makes me a better Mom and a happy person. The endorphins and “runners high” are no joke and simply amazing. For me, not experiencing that at this moment is truly very hard. To run is to make me feel beautiful, active, independent and confident.
Some may think it’s too trivial to speak about because it’s expected when you become a Mom. Some may be reading this and think that my thoughts are selfish and maybe not worthy to read on. But this is how we have been conditioned, to think that this is all “a part of the job.” We talked about this as a team at SaltyGirl Beauty, and not only did we all feel the same way as mothers, they urged me to talk about what exactly my struggles have been. It is my hope that other young moms can relate and know that they aren’t alone. We are all beautiful and sometimes we may feel that our beauty is often marred by the struggles. But we’re here to tell you that your experiences, our experiences, can enhance the beauty that is already there. The struggles create a more complex and complete version of yourself… and we’re here for sharing all the stories behind beauty, big and small, and not just our own.
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