I remember earlier in the days of entering motherhood, I felt hints of anger seeping through me at the realization that I was ‘lied’ to. Everyone kept talking or filling up their social media captions with things like “Motherhood is the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me”, “Being a mother is so beautiful”, “Can’t stop staring at my angel” and the like. I had a romanticized view of motherhood, and imagined rainbows and butterflies at every mention of the word “beautiful”. But no one talked about how painful it was to be sleep-deprived, feeling disabled from perineal tears, or the strength of a colicky baby. “How would any of these be beautiful?” I wondered. And then months went by, sleeping got better, the pain subsided, baby went through different phases to surprise me time and again, and the challenges of motherhood changed. At this point, something else also changed - my perception of beauty. “Beautiful” doesn’t always mean being comfortable. And it definitely doesn’t always equate to “rainbows and butterflies”. In fact, it rarely ever does. “Beautiful” is the way we could wake up multiple times in the middle of the night no matter how painful it’d be, so we could be there for somebody else who needs us. “Beautiful” is realizing the extra strength we never knew we had and the extra spaces in our hearts we absolutely had no clue we possess - really, where did they come from? “Beautiful” is realizing the many forms of help we are blessed with and most especially acknowledging that we DO need help. “Beautiful” is getting our hearts broken through the days we’re determined we’ve failed as mothers, and then getting those very hearts full again through pecks on the cheeks by the little people in our lives. “Beautiful” is going through pain, and then growing from it. “Beautiful” is definitely knowing that it will always be imperfect and that we’ll go through it together anyway. “Beautiful” is love. The photograph above is of my mother, my daughter and myself carrying another child in my womb. Years of imperfections, a lifetime of love. All kinds of “beautiful”.