So I've got a new button over to the right, The Shape of a Mother. I first heard about this blog from one of Amalah's paying gigs, and ever since checking it out I have been cogitating. I was moved to tears in several specific places, and more than once I just started to cry from... I don't know what. The beauty? My personal sorrows? My disappointments and fears? Shame.
I have had the button there and perhaps some of you have already tested to see where that rabbit hole ends you up at... I feel I should give y'all a disclaimer, especially those of you at work. There are pictures of real and actual mama bodies... and in some cases, all of the mama is shown. Some of the mama's have "bounced back" and some of them still bear physical reminders of their motherhood. Badges of honor, marks of travail.
I have never seen anything like this before. The closest thing that I have viewed was from off of websites I found after googling images of before and after surgical "tummy tucks." And breast lifts... reductions. Did you know that you can get a butt lift? I want one... of each. This may give you some idea of the paradigm that I have been operating under, my dirty little secret desires. Over the course of a week last year I would go to these websites and wonder and I would dream. I came to my senses and deleted these sites from my bookmarks. I have not been back there since. I wish I could say that I started to accept my body... no, it was a simple matter of reality... those procedures cost BANK. Who would take care of my babies while I was down during recovery? It is surgery with all of surgery's risks, and I am the gal who will not get on a motorcycle again until my youngest is eighteen.
At thirty seven years of age my body is a rather open bank book of give and take, gain, loss and destruction. The tattoos and piercings, the weight gain, overeating, the Slimfast, starvation, alcoholism, drug addiction, cigarettes, the past decade of clean living and the past five years of procreation. I have done some terrible things to my body... betrayal you might call it, this body of mine and I have betrayed each other in turns. Frankly I look at the devastation that bearing three children in my thirties has wrought on my body? It is just more of the same. The only new things are varicose veins, a few new spider veins and a more and smooshier middle, and some pounds that are still hanging out. Lots of pounds. The stretch marks are just kind of a bonus. By the time I gave birth to my first baby I had gone far beyond the "watermelon" look, I had marks that cross-hatched my marks. Marks on a belly that would never have seen the light of day anyhow.
Breasts, I have despised mine since they came to me, at age 13, covered in stretchmarks and with the nipples already heading south. They have always been too big in my estimation, an estimation that has been reaffirmed when it came to nursing and I discovered that I would have to hold my own breast just to keep from smothering my infant.
I admire the women who have posted pictures and shared their stories. I am now thinking about my body in a different light... a saner light. Acceptance? Self love and joy in my body? Heh, nope. Not even close, but I am walking that direction now. In the meantime I have my babies, my exquisite daughters who need a mama who can teach them about their bodies. I have Dadguy who tells me that I am beautiful, looks at me like I am a work of art and touches me like I am a velvet and gold. I have my own heart and a mind that tells me to be reasonable. I have eyes that see the beauty of other women and their mama's bodies.
I am walking in that direction.