When You’re Critical of Your Reflection

When I stand in front of the mirror with my daughter, I wonder what she sees. Does she recognize her reflection or see a playmate as she lunges toward the glass?

I hold her snug in my arms and we twirl around the room.

I tell her she’s beautiful. I tell her she’s loved. She smiles and waves her hands without a worry in the world. She doesn’t care what she’s wearing or how many ruffles are in her hair. As long as she has someone to coo at and a finger to grasp, she’s happy.

In my core I hope if I tell her the truth about herself enough times, she’ll grow up believing it. I know one day she’ll hear other voices besides mine.

Voices telling her she needs to be thinner or dress a certain way. Voices telling her she needs to accentuate this feature or that one.

I can’t say exactly when she’ll hear those other voices, but I know they’ll come. Perhaps you’ve heard them too?

Sometimes the voice we hear in our own heads is the one we need to silence the most.

On a weekday not too long ago, I heard it. I was standing in front of the mirror, and this time my daughter was taking a nap. It was just me and my reflection.

I saw the extra pounds I hadn’t lost yet since giving birth in November. I saw the thin scar stretching across my abdomen, where the surgeon brought my baby girl into the world. I saw dark circles under my eyes from lack of sleep and years chasing little ones.

I saw all these things, and I was critical of my postpartum body.

Later that evening, I was cleaning up dishes and my firstborn gave me an unexpected hug. He’ll be nine in a few months, and his hugs are getting fewer and farther between.

But this week, he’s stopped me mid-sentence to give them out. It’s like he senses my need for it. My little thinker who’s so compassionate and intuitive knows his mama better than he realizes.

As I squeezed his frame, I saw the life God gave me. The life he allowed me to bring into the world. I saw the way my sons interact with their baby sister, running to her side when she cries.

I saw the goofy antics my middle child uses to get baby girl to laugh, always the comedian.

After putting the kids to bed, I sat on the couch watching T.V. and my eyes drifted to my belly. My husband saw me and could read my mind.

“When I look there I see the beautiful family you’ve given me,” he said with all the pride of a husband who is also a father.

I knew he meant it.

And in that moment, I stopped being critical of myself and was grateful. I was grateful God gave me a body that can bring forth life and memories and hands to hold them.

I was grateful he gave me a husband to remind me that postpartum bodies are just as beautiful as those who have never carried tiny frames.

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

Do you see work to be done, or memories to be made? Do you see wrinkles, or a life well-lived?

I pray you see the reflection of a woman who is enough. Whether you’re middle-aged, enjoying senior benefits, or still in your twenties, I pray see God’s work.


11 thoughts on “When You’re Critical of Your Reflection

  1. Beautifully said, Abby. At any stage in life, it’s easy to find our imperfections. What would happen if we all took a moment to view our reflection in the positive way you described here? Great perspective, friend:)


    • So beautiful, Abby. I love this. We become more beautiful when we smile, listen, hug, and love people, don’t you think? I get caught up in my gray hair, and wrinkles, but I don’t think my husband and family (the ones who REALLY matter) see these. Thanks for this reminder. Pinning this today!


      • It’s crazy how we’re always so critical of ourselves, but when our family and friends see us they don’t see the flaws. I appreciate you, Betsy. Thanks for visiting today.


    • So true, Kristine. We can find those flaws no matter what stage of life we’re in. It’s something I’m working on. 😉 Thanks for your encouragement here!


  2. This is beautiful, Abby! It really is so easy to be critical of your own body and see our imperfections before anything else. I love this perspective — that all of this is for memories to be made and because of a life well-lived. Thank you for this!


  3. What a beautiful thing for your hubby to say, Abby. And your son sounds so sweet, too. I don’t usually have such kind remarks towards myself when I look in a mirror. Thank you for encouraging us to see ourselves as God’s work and enough. Love and hugs!


  4. Abby,
    Lately, I’ve been struggling with seeing the struggles my adult children are having and it’s easy to look at myself in the mirror and think maybe if I had done more of this and less of that then everything would be okay. I think I bought into the notion that if I do everything just perfectly then my children will be A-okay with no problems. Not so and it’s hard not to start blaming myself. I can no longer “fix” things for them like I could when they were little….now I really have to let go and let God do the “fixing”. When I look in the mirror I need to see a mother who tried her best and be easier on myself….and shut out the enemies lies.
    Bev xx


  5. This reminds me of Psalm 139 – your works are wonderful, I know that well… You knit me together in my mother’s womb… You created all the intricate parts of me…

    We were all created beautiful in God’s eyes. How quickly society can get us distracted from that truth.


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