In our culture, we learn at a young age to criticize our bodies. As a young girl, teenager, young adult, and now new mom, I have felt the weight of not feeling “good enough”. Thankfully through life experiences and surrounding myself with encouraging, uplifting, and powerful women, I can honestly say I am free. Not free of the periodic compulsion to critique my body; that may never go away. I am free in the sense that my mind will intercept these negative thoughts and remind myself of the miracle that is my body.
I don’t think I fully appreciated my body until I gave birth to my son Winston. Prior to pregnancy, I saw my body as an object that needed to look perfect at all times. At the time, I didn’t even consciously realize that I was objectifying myself. Reflecting back to that phase of my life makes my heart break for believing something so superficial of myself; for believing that my worth depended on my appearance and a skewed and narrow definition of beauty. I feel so grateful and relieved that these thoughts are no longer my reality.
All the changes that my body went through to perfectly grow and deliver another human into this world astounds me still to this day. Every single change my body went through had a beautiful, divine purpose. All the stigmatized changes that some women’s bodies go through to grow another human life truly are beautiful and meaningful. My stretch marks and diastasis recti (separated abdominal muscles) are physical evidence that the skin on my abdomen stretched and conformed to accommodate my 8 pound 12-ounce baby. The stretch marks on my breasts are physical evidence that my skin stretched to adapt to the new glandular tissue that allowed me to breastfeed my baby. My body will never be the same as it was before pregnancy and I am proud of that. From the time of conception, our bodies have constantly been growing, stretching, and evolving. Fellow mamas, be proud of all of the beautiful reminders of just how truly amazing, strong and adaptable your body is. You are more than enough, just exactly as you are. Everyday I choose to celebrate my miraculous body and I hope you do too.