Softly my hand brushes down my big, round belly, embraces the curve in the mid section of my body and loves to stroke around it’s ever changing shape, this magical curtain between the outer world and the house of this new life waiting for the right moment to be expelled out into the big adventure of life.
Blame it on me turning 33 and somehow maturing into life, or even better: blame it on the the big rushes of oxytocin making everything these days more beautiful, lovable, shiny and sexy. Whatever it is, it hasn’t been that way always. In fact at the beginning of my puberty something in my self image went significantly downhill it stayed that way with ups and downs all along half way through this second pregnancy. And then something dropped.
While the actual scale is still - I guess… I never weight myself, neither before, nor during my pregnancy - climbing up as my sore back can tell, emotionally, I feel lighter than ever. That heavy weight of fitting into a mixture of conscious and subconscious measures and pictures which was everything but not the reality of my body suddenly dropped. After years of fighting with “just these three or four kilos, just this bump here and that puffy patch there” suddenly there is peace. Instead of that constant energy flowing towards changing this little bit here and that little bit there, suddenly it’s just fine, an honest acceptance, a shift of priority and ahhhh, it seems like every single cell exhales into the beauty of the moment.
I can tell you the story of body rebellion, being at war, fighting against my natural cycles and changes, which most probably almost every woman can tell you. We all have our own ways of not collaborating with the intelligence of our body, to be rather engaging into control, withholding of desires and indulgences and starving our impulses in order to fit in… to a particular pair of jeans, a top, this dress for this one occasion, this particular circle of peers, life style or a picture that we have of ourselves.
For me personally I’ve been always a rather anabolic type of person, I would go for a gentle swim and run in a chilled manner and bulk up like a bodybuilder… with the same struggle which I hear them having: that little bit of water under the skin which can make them - and so I viewed myself - look “big”. Depending on the perspective and what your goals are that anabolic body type might seem awesome.
In my case: I hated it. And of course, we always want that which we can’t have, right? I would have loved to be tall and skinny with those long legs and skinny arms, exactly what we get set in front of our eyes everywhere we look in advertisements. It didn’t matter to me that I could do a pull up, or was naturally talented to lift weights or push through physically straining exercises without a problem. I wasn’t focussed on sportive goals, I was focussed on wanting to look different. Therefor I hardly got to see my gifts.
I just turned 18 when I got to change perspective after a long hospital story. I basically woke up from coma and was what I always wanted to be… skinny. I was only 44kg and damn it, I was in client to do everything I could to keep it. These crazy teenager years, with a laughing and crying eye I hold her close to me, this 18 year old girl, so fuzzed about her outer shape that she was so absorbed in that goal to stay like that, that she would do ANYTHING she could and of course: Because we just can’t deny who we are and life ALWAYS finds a way to bring us back to an equilibrium over the years slowly she had to let go of this crazy nonsense goal. A painful path letting go of the dream to be able to fit in, only to wake up to a broughter consciousness that it’s just fine to be herself!
15 years, uncountable work out plans and calorie counts, fasts, diets, nutritional experiments later, something dropped. It’s this magic thing that happens sometimes when we let something go completely, that it just falls into place. After 7 years with my loving partner, accepting, respecting, loving and embracing me through all natural life changes like my first pregnancy I learned: It’s not about the recognition from the outside. He’s fine, he always had a hell of a healthy body image, he had it all figured out. His praise and love felt great, but it couldn’t heal the wound from the inside. It couldn’t calm the nagging inner voice chattering every time I saw my “bulky upper arms” somewhere in the reflection of a mirror or window, or my thighs just didn’t appear as thin as I would have loved them to be.
From intellectual conversations, through genetics, body types, body images, a slowly changing general publicity “fit being the new skinny”… Meditation, practices of self acceptance, loving friends and family, great thought, books, healing… it got better step by step over the years but nothing helped me still feeling somewhat inappropriate at times. And then something happened.
I realised a couple of unfamiliar behaviours:
- I just wasn’t spending too many thoughts - not even to speak of actions - on controlling my weight gain in this second pregnancy.
- I would even go with my daughter for Ice Cream and enjoy it without any second thought.
- I didn’t spend any thought on my “recovery plan”, neither how I want to look at a certain time postnatally.
- I’m not even having big movement goals for after pregnancy other than indulging into sweet self care and embracing the parts of my practice I missed the past weeks.
- I just generally don’t spend any thoughts on controlling this body anymore and finally truly dropp into permission to let it do its work… even though I wasn’t very trusting, in the past 32 years it was always doing a pretty awesome job keeping me oxygenated, nourished and moving pretty awesomely. A part of me feels I can just flip the coin and for the next 32 years just do it the other way round and go into humble service of this magical vehicle.
It’s a little bit more than a week ago that I watched “Embrace” with my husband and it stirred up the conversation again. It was an awesome moment for both of us to realise how big of a shift happened for me. He asked me after the documentary: “So how do you feel about your body at the moment?”
and I replied:
“I feel grateful. I feel like I can trust my body, I really enjoy experiencing the world through it and I think it’s doing pretty amazing job being resistant and healthy, always strong and in service, growing a human, keeping me going, telling me when to stop and actually I feel…”
There I stoped and couldn’t find the right word.
“Do you feel sexy?” he asked with one of his cheeky smiles.
I pondered upon the word and uttered: “No, sexy is not the right word, because for me sexy has something to do with sexuality and with sexuality the co-dependancy of two lovers seeing something in each other… no, another word, much deeper, not dependent on the outside… I feel: beautiful.” By speaking the word I felt the resonance in my cells and glow in my eyes. Yes, finally I feel BEAUTIFUL in it’s deepest sense of perfect imperfection, the beauty of my big strong arms which have always been lifting me up and carrying my daughter. The beauty of my big strong thighs which are carrying now this second child and are connecting me to earth in the moments I need to root, this big round belly which has been growing a second time so wide to make space for a new life and still looks so cute and beautiful…
Why am I writing this?
- Because I think that us woman not feeling beautiful is an unnecessary disease which needs to be cured in order to heal or world, our relation ships and our future generations and I wish by you reading those lines that you go at least one step on the path to feel beautiful in your very own and unique way, beyond what it promoted as beautiful by the outside or an inner judge who accidentally disqualifies you to feel beautiful. Life is NEVER a mistake, non of it, and like Michael Franti sings: Every little soul is a poem and it’s written on the back of god’s hand.
- Because that feeling of ease and peacefulness when being comfortable in your skin is one that feels so good that it needs to be shared, I wish it spreads like a contagious disease and by you reading those lines feel the sense of acceptance and belonging that you deserve to feel!
- Because I think the media is full of false glamour and shine and I wish we get real with each other and drop the separation which makes all of us suffer. And in that getting real we can honestly connect and finally feel that sisterhood again that we’re all missing from the bottom of our heart.
Here I sit at 2am in the morning at my kitchen table with the beautiful unease in my hips with a baby depending into my pelvis and me wondering when is gonna be the moment for me shatter into a million pieces again to make space for a new person to come earthside and a new expanded version of me to hold space and embrace this whole tapestry of life in it’s new version.
I wish to hear how you feel beautiful and I wish to hear how you have make piece and if you haven’t yet I wish you can sit down and write down ONE THING that you’re honestly grateful for and proud of what you’re body has done for you!!!
If you feel like some inspiration go check out “Embrace”, the documentary.
Or the book: The body of mothers.
In deep gratitude to my husband who’s been unjudgementally holding the space for me, holding me in love, praise and beauty until I found my own way to find love, praise and beauty on the inside.