|My Belly - Shot by Maak Photography|
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.