After giving birth I am as round as Mother Earth herself, none of my old clothes even nearly fit. Since I’m breastfeeding I’ll just have to eat healthy and wait it out. In the meantime it is quite interesting (and annoying…) how much food for thought this current chubbiness is providing me with.
This body has been my home for forty years now, it has been beautiful and strong and full of feeling and experience just like it should. This body that created, birthed and fed three healthy children without any problem worth mentioning. I know it needs to be big and round right now to nurture and ground my son into his new life. I know the question is, does this body work well, does it love well, does it move well, I know all of this, but yet…
I have been trained to not think about all of the above and tell myself my body is not worthy. It needs to be thin and smooth and young. It is a sign of strength in our culture to have your body ‘back’ asap after birth, to get back to work the sooner the better, to go out or travel without baby. This is what communicates power in all the many languages that speak to us each day.
After all you have learned, are you really falling in this trap? I hear you think. Yes I am. I am full of hormones and broken nights with uncombed hair and spitted-on, non-fitting clothing, and old habits are taking advantage of it. I realize how easy it is to fall back and see beauty and success as the better of health and simple happiness.
I need to be strong to tell myself all of this when I get out of the shower and see myself in the mirror. Or when I quickly cover myself when my husband walks in. I need to remind myself all of the time what this body is actually for. It is for nurturing life and what could be of greater worth?
This is my practice. It is as small as this and as big as this. What could be of greater worth? What is the real worth of a human life? Of the body? Of the female body? Of the mother? All of these questions and the fact that they need to be asked are my practice. Because these questions guide me back to what life is about. To the power that goes beyond physical beauty and cultural approval.
The point of the human experience is to let life happen to you. To experience all the facets of life, beautiful and difficult and breathtaking and emotional and scary. This is what we are made for, and the body knows it. I am in awe of everything this body has made possible for me to experience. And now it has made another body to experience life with me. In a culture that is constant telling us differently, my job is to find the other voice, to speak out and to experience where the real power lies.
Thank you Rupi Kaur for this:
rupi kaur – milk and honey 2015
Henri Matisse (“Virgin and Child on Starry Ground,” 1950-51)