This post and the giveaway are sponsored by Smile Brilliant. I received a tooth whitening kit for review and Smile Brilliant is providing one for giveaway. Scroll down if you want to take part in the giveaway. As always, all opinions are my own!
Sometimes it’s hard to feel beautiful. Sometimes after having a baby, it’s especially hard to feel beautiful.
I already wrote about what it’s like to be pregnant and struggle to feel beautiful or anything resembling a glow, but I’m not sure I’ve put into words (at least here on the blog) what it’s like AFTER having a baby. (Except to say that it is NOT a race with Kim Kardashian to get your body back.) It’s a little like this:
You’re not sleeping because your baby doesn’t sleep. You have bags under your eyes and perpetual tired face.
You have a saggy tummy, at least for the first days/weeks and then for much longer if you don’t work out.
You may have lost muscle tone if you weren’t working out or active enough during pregnancy.
You might have fading pregnancy mask on your face, making your skin blotchy and uneven.
You may wonder if those gray hairs have always been there or if they came from your kids.
You might not fit back into your pre-pregnancy pants for a long time and if you do, they feel different on your body.
You find stretch marks in places you did not realize had stretched.
Your wedding ring may need to be resized because even your fingers changed size/shape.
Not every woman who has a baby struggles with all those things. You may have struggled with something that’s not even on that list! The plus side to all this, of course, is that you have a precious new life and may not care about many of those things. At least not for a while. But the inevitable time comes when you look in the mirror and feel unsatisfied. The sweetness of that baby’s eyelashes and the sound of his or her soft coo’s don’t offset the feeling you might have when you see yourself in the mirror. Or see an unflattering photograph that doesn’t look like YOU.
First, I will say to you: Your worth does not come from your beauty or your body.
Can I say that again? Your worth does not come from your beauty or your body.
You can pick up most magazines on a newsstand and the articles will tell you that placing all your value on how you look is not the answer. Of course, those words are sandwiched in-between beauty products ads featuring perfectly photoshopped models, so that message is murky. But the Bible has some amazing things to say about this.
There is a beautiful and also stark picture in Ezekiel 16 of God’s relationship with his people (namely Israel in that context). In this rich metaphor, God takes a woman who had been discarded, humiliated, and left unloved from childhood and he makes her beautiful. He loves her NOT because of anything she has or because of her looks. Rather, he loves HER and because of his love, he bestows beauty on her. God makes us beautiful.
That beauty is not superficial or fading. 1 Peter 3:3-4 tells us that our beauty should not come from outward things, but from the heart. This also is a gift from God, who works at our hearts like a master surgeon. God gives us value and beauty and helps us to find our security in Him, not ourselves. And certainly not in our outward appearance. Real beauty is much deeper than what we see or even what we do.
And yet…that is not to say our outward appearance does not matter. Our worth and value should not stem from it, but it is healthy to be whole: to think about our body, mind, and soul. I may know that my value comes from God, but that doesn’t mean I like it when I can’t fit in my normal clothes after having a baby. It does not mean I have to feel good about some of the signs of aging or the results of having a baby. So what is a healthy balance?
For every woman, this looks different. I have to remind myself daily of where my worth comes from so I don’t get caught up in how I look. (I should also point out that we can get caught up in bashing ourselves OR being prideful in our looks. Neither is a good place to be!) Then I have to think about healthy choices, whether that is food that I eat, the exercise I do, or other ways I take care of my body.
I’m working slowly and steadily on getting back to where I want to be weight-wise. But I’m also finding small ways that help me feel beautiful. Often I feel beautiful after an intense roller derby practice where I am totally sweaty and have crazy helmet-hair. Sometimes I feel beautiful after my morning skin care routine. The first hair cut I had after baby felt simply luxurious. I have a gift card for a pedicure that I can’t wait to use and I found some fabulous mascara that I totally love.
Something else I’ve also enjoyed after this latest pregnancy Smile Brilliant. I realize not everyone is into whitening teeth. (Or maybe you don’t need to!) But pregnancy can be very hard on teeth, so for me, this is one of those small things that helps me feel beautiful.
There are a billion tooth whitening products out there, so clearly I’m not alone! What I like about smile brilliant is that you actually get trays made. It was a super easy process to make the molds at home and return them with a pre-paid mailing envelope. Within a short time, I had my trays (and a really cool mold of my teeth that my kids were fascinated by) and was using them. Because pregnancy can also result in gum sensitivity, it was a bonus to have a de-sensitizing gel. I’ve tried products in the past that left my mouth feeling ache-y and unhealthy, but Smile Brilliant did NOT have that effect. You are getting a dentist-quality whitening for a fraction of the cost WITHOUT having to go to the dentist. (And for reference, the whitening solution is 22% peroxide vs the average of 14% in drugstore whitening products.)
If this is something you’d like to try, you’re in luck! Smile Brilliant is giving away a kit to one of my readers! Enter below. Though I’ve been talking about post-baby beauty, this is definitely NOT just a product for women or moms! The winner will receive $139 store credit, which will cover the trays plus your choice of 6 whitening gel tubes or 3 whitening tubes plus 3 de-sensitizing tubes.
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I’m saying it for the third time: your worth does not come from your beauty or your body. But it sure is nice when you can find things that help you feel beautiful. What are some of the ways YOU pamper or care for yourself after baby?