Caring about myself again

17 months. That’s how long it took for me to feel like myself again. That’s how long it took for me to deal with my postpartum depression. That’s how long it took for me to stop making excuses about binge eating and start working out again. That’s how long it took for me to stop breastfeeding and wear clothes that I want instead of clothes that were nursing friendly. That’s how long it took me to spend some extra time on my hair and skin again. That’s how long it took for me to want to sit down with a journal and actually enjoy it again. That’s how long it took me to start caring about myself again.

Truth is, ever since I’ve become a mother, I’ve always been fixated on Yusra’s routines. My life revolved around her nap times and nursing schedules. Anything to make her comfortable and promote her development, and keep me sane. I looked forward to her 7 p.m. bedtime like how a fasting person waits for iftar. (Still do.) When the new year began, I watched as Yusra started becoming more independent. I watched the wheels turn in her growing brain as she figured out how to build her mega blocks or how to open the zipper on her jacket. But then sometimes, I watch her watch *me*. The way I cook and clean down to the way I laugh and smile. As each day passes, and she learns something new, it dawned upon me that I’m this baby’s role model. And that if I’m going to help my baby grow up to be a strong, independent woman, I need to show her what that looks like.

It took me 17 months to figure this out. And 17 months to do something about it. Can’t wait to show you what I got, girl! Thank you for bringing it out again.

Every time Yusra looks in the mirror, she blows herself a kiss. Then, she laughs and smiles. Sometimes she turns around and gets a good look at her outfit, then nods in approval at the perfection of her reflection. She doesn’t stand there and study her imperfections like I do when I look at myself in the mirror. Because to her, there are none. And for as long as I can, I won’t let her think so either. So why should I think any different of myself? My baby is teaching me so much about myself that sometimes I think she’s the one mothering me.