If I’m being totally transparent, when I look in the mirror, sometimes I don’t love what I see anymore.
The day after I was discharged from the hospital, I was diagnosed with postpartum Bell’s palsy.
And almost one year later, I still suffer from some of the effects.
I had a normal pregnancy, normal birth, and the baby was healthy when he was born.
All I knew at the time was that my face felt weird, I couldn’t drink from a straw, and my right eye wouldn’t stop watering without being covered.
An hour visit to the E.R, a few tests, and several hundred dollars later, the doctor told me what my mom had already guessed–I had postpartum Bell’s Palsy.
It was tough ya’ll. I wanted to take pictures with our new family of five, but it was discouraging because I looked like I had just had a stroke. The right side of my face drooped and I couldn’t smile even if I wanted to.
While mourning over my face, I tried to focus on my three blessings, especially my newest tiny blessing.
During my maternity leave, I spent many days in various doctor’s offices as they told me that most people with bell’s palsy saw a full recovery six to eight weeks later.
While most of the symptoms aren’t visible to strangers, I still have a few minor issues. On windy days, my right eye still waters. And I try my best not to be seated directly under a ceiling fan.
To me the most noticeable and most difficult to ignore is the right side of my face is still slightly paralyzed. Now when I smile, my face isn’t symmetrical.
When I see pictures of myself, it’s hard not to overanalyze the obvious. I’ve been blessed with such a loving and supportive family–especially a husband who tells me how beautiful I am regardless.
Postpartum bells palsy has been a journey from the inside out. Now the phrase “beauty is only skin deep” has a new meaning for me.
My girls often watch my get ready for work in the morning and tell me how beautiful I am. (trust me, I’m not paying them to say that).
I realize that I have a responsibility to them to show them what a strong woman looks like.
A strong woman isn’t perfect.
A strong woman perseveres through adversity.
A strong woman acknowledges when she needs help.
A strong woman apologizes when she is wrong.
Raising children in a day and age when they have access to social media can be exciting, yet damaging. We have constantly pushed images of “perfection.” We often don’t see the edits to make people look flawless, and we definitely can’t see the pain behind the images they project.
I’m learning that I am so much more than my face. And if my face never returns to how it looked before babies, I am learning to be okay with that too.
Do you know someone who has suffered from postpartum bells palsy? Share this post with them!