I wanted to tell you about how I love the imperfections of my body when I started writing this. But I had to stop. Because that’s wrong.
– What’s imperfect about my body? Nothing. –
I’ve decided I am changing the language I use to describe my body.
What if we just loved our bodies because it is our vessel? What if our different bodies were celebrated as a beautiful variety of our species? What if the aging body was sought after as a sign that you were able to live a long life. And the postpartum body was highly respected as a woman who gave months of her life creating another. Aren’t these events honored? Why then, do we try to erase any signs of them from our bodies?
I get it. I know. And really I don’t think it’s our fault. Man, it is tough to love our bodies as women. We’ve got this societal standard that’s shoved down our throats from the moment we start walking. And once we start having kids our weight changes all over the place. And my husband wonders why I have so many clothes.
I mean, I have a wardrobe for before getting pregnant, then another for those bloated and early pregnancy days, and the months in between and another for my “she is either smuggling a watermelon or she’s definitely pregnant” months. And for nine months you become a different person. And we’re supposed to just snap back into our pre-baby shape right after? Haven’t we all heard someone say complimentary, “She doesn’t look like she even had a baby.” That’s what we’re supposed to work towards.
If that doesn’t pose a series of self-image issues I don’t know what else will. And the fact that you throw in hormonal changes all throughout this time, I’m just throwing my hands up.
It’s like our battle with ourselves is doomed. How the heck do we even stand a chance to love ourselves?
This summer I stood in front of that full-length mirror. Just a couple months after my seventh pregnancy. I looked over my shape. The curves. I was thinking about the weight I gained over and over again through my miscarriages and how I gained weight and didn’t lose it. And how I would sit on the couch eating ice cream and chips because I deserved it. And now standing in front the mirror I thought, “This isn’t my body.”
I could not let those words leave my head. Why did I feel so uncomfortable in my own body? Why did I have so much distaste for something that had brought me so much joy? And it wasn’t until this one day, I held my baby it hit me, this is what I should think about my body, the journey it lets me take and what I have because of it.
I started stepping outside of everything everyone’s ever said about my body. I threw it all out. And I realized how “imperfections” of our bodies are so incredibly subjective. Even my own mindset is subjective. How others judge my body doesn’t change my body after all. It doesn’t make my body perfect. I can have a perfect body now.
And I realized this is a healthy amazingly perfect woman’s body.
This is what a body looks like after giving life to FIVE human beings! And fed them too!
And with this body, I wrap my arms around others in joy and smile.
With this body I hold others while they sob. I hear them and hold them and morn with them.
With this body, I cradle my babies every day and kiss them “good night”.
With this body, I’ve traveled to beaches and mountains until the wind blows hard.
With this body, I’ve flown an airplane and jumped out of one too.
With this body, I’ve ran for miles. Scraped my knees climbing.
And with this body, I’ve swam oceans and rivers in the sun and moonlight.
With this body, I work so hard until it hurts and I wake up the next day and it goes again and again. Amazing!
I love this body and all its allowed me to do. I’m on a journey to love it more. How could I let others standards dampen the reality that this body is the best thing that ever happened to me. This is the best gift I’ve ever received.
My new journey is to embrace my bodies as a vessel and move on to greater worries. To care for my vessel. Make it strong. Treat them with care. And then let’s move on so I have the confidence to change the world. When I can love myself I can better love others.
I’ll leave you with this hilarious line from the gals at “I Mom So Hard” that says, “No one thinks they look perfect all the time. Let’s just go to the beach and have some fun.”