Jen is our newest guestblogger:
I have an amazing body.
Right now, in this moment, I know that to be true. As a mother, I have watched and felt and seen my body move through the magical path of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. My arms and breast, touch and kisses can make everything better for my children. My body is strong and my body is perfect.
Usually, though, my body image is not so perfect. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s embarrassing the time IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve wasted wishing that I were thinner. Fuming because IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not beautiful. Angry about this wretched acne that still hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t gone away at age 35. Royally pissed off to have a stupid auto-immune disease. I even wished that after my c-section IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d have some mild complication that would need minor surgery so I could talk the doctor into a free tummy tuck. Four children leave a mark.
I know how shallow those thoughts sound when you read them in print. I cannot explain why I have them, and I certainly donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want them. I see the irony, too, since I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give a flying fig what you look like, what you weigh, or how tall you are. I am critical of other people, but I criticize them for being unkind or starting wars or not sharing when they obviously have extras.
I remember exactly when I began to worry about my weight. I was a pre-teen, not even 100 pounds, and someone pointed out that I was, as she said, finally, starting to get some fat on my inner thighs. There has hardly been a day since that I have not worried about how much I weigh. It isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t her fault, and, no, she wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t my mother. My mother has never, ever once told me I weigh too much. Which worries me that I wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be able to somehow save my daughters from this mindset.
They are, however, saving me from it. My first two children were born in hospital, but my third, my first daughter, was born at home. I have never been more amazed by or proud of my body. I felt so powerful, so capable and confident. I remember what I thought while holding my minutes-old daughter as the sun came up, a cool breeze from the open front door blowing on us. I thought, Ã¢â‚¬Å“My body is perfect.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Funny how the thing that so radically changed my body also gave me the perspective I needed to learn how to love it. And when my childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s small hands find their way to my cheek and I hear them tell me I am beautiful, I am. Their unconditional love for me gives me the courage to let them stand by me while I get dressed so they can see what a real body is. It lets me not be offended when they ask about the silver lines on my hips or the wrinkles on my face. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s allowing me, at last, to include myself when celebrating the beauty of all women.