Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Body's Potential - A Mother's Body Image

I just gave birth 110 days ago. That really doesn't sound like a lot, and it isn't. I'm still processing a lot of what has happened in these last 111 days. For one, my entire perspective on the world has been shifted - there is not one thought in my mind that hasn't been altered by the arrival of my child. But I feel a physical shift, too.

My Belly - Shot by Maak Photography
I know I'm early in the game. I realize it hasn't even been four months since my body rose and swelled and then promptly deflated with the birth of my baby. But every day I look in the mirror and I can see the changes. I pull on my jeans and I can feel where I'm different. In pictures my face seems to be a new shape. My smile is deeper, sometimes I look more concerned than I intend to.

And for the first time in my life I have an extrinsic force motivating me to be healthy, not just a nagging voice inside my head. I do it for him and not for the reflection in the mirror and the societal expectation. A week after birth I remember marveling at my belly when it felt so soft and so empty, lifeless and striped with bright red zigzags. I said out loud: "I want to be proud of my stretchmarks because they gave me something beautiful, they are a symbol of my strength." They are pink-silvery now. Sometimes I barely notice them and sometimes I look so closely at them but mostly I accept them and let them make me feel powerful. My breasts, too, have changed - fuller and heavier than ever before, charged alone with completely sustaining a delicately tiny human life.

Today I stepped out of a shower and actually had a moment's pause to look at myself. I told myself to love my body for what it can do, not what it looks like. They way we love a good book or perfectly ripe avocado with rumply brown skin. My body is more powerful and amazing than either of those things. My body's potential is beyond exponential, it can make something of nothing at all.

7 comments:

  1. i'm so stoked to read this, farren. more people should have this attitude. :)

    and thanks for the props, yo!

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  2. That was beautiful Farren.

    My favourites:

    "My smile is deeper, sometimes I look more concerned than I intend to."

    "And for the first time in my life I have an extrinsic force motivating me to be healthy, not just a nagging voice inside my head."

    Do you find it instils in you a motivation to do the right thing as well?

    I recently asked my mother how the hell it was possible for her to be so calm and collected with us kids when we were causing trouble and she spoke of her realization of the greater good. That leading by example and behaving the best she could was for the good of her children and recognizing the great good made it easier for her.

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  3. *hugs* Love this, and I hope more mom's remember the power/beauty of their bodies.

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  4. This was such a beautiful post Farren!

    Well done - makes me consider not only how my body has changed and how I think differently because of the children I shape. To realize that the small things are not so important - to take the time to see the beauty in the perfect child that I have created.

    Thanks Farren!

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  5. Beautiful post, eloquently said.

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  6. I love avocados. Perhaps too, I can learn to love this new shape. Aw, motherhood.

    So what I needed to read today. <3

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