This morning I wanted to write about a topic very near to my heart - the amazing female body.
|What does this picture have to do with this post? Not much, but it's a lot of beautiful bodies, and I love me some Pink Floyd.|
Growing up, I didn't have a lot of respect for my body. My t*ts were too small, my ass a little too round, my belly not flat enough. I just didn't like it, and I spent a good part of my adolescence and early adulthood starving myself into an unhealthy place where I hated my body even more.
Then, I got knocked up, and spent a lot of weeks on bedrest packing on the pounds for the little monsters in my belly. I went from an athletic 120 to a hugely pregnant 164, and that weight just didn't come off after delivery. I weighed myself when I got home from the hospital, and I was still thirty pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. My once perky little B-cups suddenly were overflowing double-Ds when my milk came in, and my belly was swollen and covered with dark purple stretch marks.
I was devastated. I'd never seen stretch marks on a mama's belly, and I wasn't prepared for what I was seeing in the mirror. I know I'm not the only woman to have stretch marks... why is it that I'd never seen them before?
As I tried to squeeze myself into post-partum "shapewear" (which is pretty much exactly like trying to put on a wet bathing suit that is four sizes to small), I wondered why I couldn't just cut myself a little slack and let my belly pudge out over my pants a bit if it needed to. I had just grown and nurtured two lives in my belly, and the only feeling I had for my body was disgust? There is something very wrong with that.
I tried to love my "baby stripes", I really did. I got to the point where I wasn't ashamed of them, and if one of my friends wanted to see them (which happened with surprising frequency), I was OK lifting up my shirt (if I'd had a few beers).
My husband helped tremendously. He told me he loved my belly, and even would sing a song for it - to the tune of "Superfreak". ha. "Super freak, super freak, she's super freaky" became "Baby stripes, baby stripes, the stripes of babies."
It wasn't until I read a story about a mom who'd lost her baby at birth that I began to actually love my new belly. As her belly expanded during her pregnancy, the stripes started appearing, bunching around where her baby's little head pressed outward toward her loving caresses. When she went into labor, her baby was already gone. Now she looks at the marks on her belly as a sweet reminder of the life that was there and is so thankful to have that tangible memorial.
It's funny - I've thought about getting a tattoo to honor my children... and it's wasn't until recently that I realized my babies made a beautiful, one-of-a-kind tattoo on me that was months in the making.
I wish we as women talked about this more. There is a website called The Shape of a Mother that is a gallery of images and stories of moms, and the longer you peruse the photos, the greater appreciation you have for the miracle of the female body.
I feel like so much about our bodies and what happens during and after pregnancy is taboo to discuss, even among mothers and daughters and closest friends. This needs to change! I could write a hundred posts on things I learned during my pregnancy.
So go look at some naked ladies. If you're a lady, go to the mirror and think about how beautiful and strong your amazing, one-of-a-kind body is. And if you're having trouble getting that lovin' feeling, sing a little "Super freak".... it helps. :)
Have a super weekend guys!
P.S. I didn't run yesterday. I was surprised with how many people told me on my post yesterday that perhaps my doctor is smarter than me (the outrage!)... so I held off for one more day. We'll see if I can resist temptation today. :)